A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5.


Seeking Facts, Justices Settle for What Briefs Tell Them

Adam Liptak | New York Times

The Supreme Court received more than 80 friend-of-the-court briefs in the Hobby Lobby case. Most of these filings, also called amicus briefs, were dull and repetitive recitations of familiar legal arguments. Others stood out. They presented fresh, factual information that put the case in a broader context. The justices are hungry for such data. Their opinions are increasingly studded with citations of facts they learned from amicus briefs.

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Justices Are Paying More Attention to Amicus Briefs

Anthony J. Franze and R. Reeves Anderson | Supreme Court Brief

What do satirist P. J. O’Rourke, Senator Marco Rubio, the National Football League and 100 law professors have in common? They each filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2013-14 term. All told, the court received more than 800 amicus briefs in the 67 argued cases with signed opinions. That’s 24,000 pages or 7.2 million words — “War and Peace” a dozen times over. For court watchers, this should come as no surprise. In recent years, the justices have had a record number of “friends.” But in this, our fourth year analyzing the high court’s amicus docket for The National Law Journal, we did find a few surprises.

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FTC’s Joshua Wright Takes Aim At ‘Stale’ Thinking

Melissa Lipman | Law360

With among the most dissents of any sitting commissioner, the Federal Trade Commission’s Joshua Wright has spent the last year and a half taking aim at “stale” thinking and trying to get economics better integrated into the antitrust enforcer’s work, he told Law360 in a recent interview.

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Christie Asks Judge to Dismiss Case on Pension Funding Cuts

Salvador Rizzo | The Star-Ledger

Gov. Chris Christie is asking a state judge to dismiss a flurry of lawsuits challenging a budget veto that reduced funding for public worker pensions from a once-promised $2.25 billion to $681 million.

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Court Gives Plaintiff More Time to Find Expert Under New Law

Michael Booth | New Jersey Law Journal

A plaintiff in a New Jersey medical malpractice case whose claims were dismissed after the New Jersey Supreme Court changed the rules on qualifications for expert witnesses midstream should have been given the chance to find a new expert, an appeals court said.

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Passaic Becomes Third N.J. City to Force Employers to Provide Paid Sick Time

Richard Cowen | NorthJersey.com

Responding to pressure from a grass-roots coalition, the city became the third in New Jersey to adopt an ordinance requiring all businesses to offer paid sick leave to employees.

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BP Found Grossly Negligent in 2010 Spill; Fines May Rise

Margaret Cronin Fisk, Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Jef Feeley | Bloomberg

BP acted with gross negligence in setting off the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, a federal judge ruled, handing down a long-awaited decision that may force the energy company to pay billions of dollars more for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.

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New Jersey Governor’s Legal Bills Grow

Josh Dawsey | Wall Street Journal

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is increasingly relying on outside lawyers – including some with close ties to Mr. Christie and administration officials – costing taxpayers more than $50 million since January 2013.

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How Fast Should a Generic Drug Maker Update Labeling With new Safety Info?

Ed Silverman | Wall Street Journal

Should a generic drug maker be held responsible for failing to immediately update its product labeling to match the equivalent brand-name medicine?

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Suit Alleging Cahill Gordon Hid Asbestos Evidence Revived

Mary Pat Gallagher | New Jersey Law Journal

Cahill Gordon & Reindel once again faces a putative class action that alleges it conspired with a client to destroy and conceal evidence in an effort to subvert asbestos suits brought in state courts throughout the U.S.

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