A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of March 19-24.


When Tort Defendants Die, Should any Punitive Damages Claim Die With Them?

Eugene Volokh | The Volokh Conspiracy

In last week’s Whetstone v. Binner, Roxanne McClellan had tried to smother her 5-year-old great-niece, whom she was babysitting. Christine Whetstone, the great-niece’s mother, managed to arrive just in time to save her daughter. She later sued McClellan for (among other things) assault, on her daughters’ and her own behalf; she argued that they all had been “diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder” and that she “had nightmares, anxiety, and anger, while her daughters had trouble sleeping and continued to fear McClellan.” McClellan failed to defend the case, so Whetstone got a summary judgment.

Full story.


In Asbestos Bankruptcy Settlement, Conflicts and Racketeering Clouds Loom

Sara Warner | Huffington Post

In the insular world of civil litigation, watershed events usually arrive on an installment plan, trickling in at the pace of… well, at the pace of civil litigation. Yet, sometimes disruption arrives quickly, like last week’s landmark settlement agreement between a North Carolina gasket maker called Garlock Sealing Technologies and asbestos victims’ attorneys.

Full story.   


Supreme Court Battle Threatens Judges’ Pensions

Matt Friedman | Politico New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t explained exactly what he meant when he said he would do “things that I haven’t done before” to force a hearing for his state Supreme Court pick, David Bauman. But Democrats believe — even if they are hesitant to publicly acknowledge — that Christie will refuse to re-nominate about two dozen judges, all nominated by his Democratic predecessor, who come up for lifetime tenure this year beginning in May, after they served their initial seven years.

Full story.


Say Yes to the Lawsuit

Courthouse News Service

Alexandra and Cindi Godino, a mother and daughter set to appear on the March 25 episode of “Say Yes to the Dress,” filed suit against Discovery Communications and Half Yard Productions, saying they breach a promise to air their episode after Alexandra’s May 14 wedding.

Full story.


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