A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of November 14-20.


Collapse Of 5-Hour Energy Case Reveals The Secrets Of Class Action Lawyers

Daniel Fisher | Forbes

Howard W. Rubinstein has been disbarred once and has had his law license suspended twice by the State Bar of Texas for violations including misuse of client funds. But things really fell apart when he decided to sue billionaire Manoj Bhargava’s 5-Hour Energy drink.

Full story.


If Past is Prelude, SCOTUS Will Just Tinker in This Term’s Class Action Cases

Alison Frankel | Reuters

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Chief Justice John Roberts’ inauguration, the Akron Law Review has published a collection of papers on the impact of the Roberts Court’s decisions on class actions. The articles, a mix of studies by law professors and class action practitioners, were all written before the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this fall in a trio of cases posing some fundamental questions about class actions, such as whether Congress can legislate constitutional standing and whether classes can be certified if they contain members who have not been injured.

Full story.


Should Oil Firms Be Held Liable in Earthquake Lawsuits?

Wall Street Journal

In 2011, a string of powerful earthquakes struck near the town of Prague, Okla., part of a surge in seismic activity in the state. Geologists eventually linked the quakes to increased oil and natural-gas production in the area—specifically, to the practice of injecting wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, into wells deep underground. Sandra Ladra, a Prague resident who was injured in the most severe of the quakes, brought a lawsuit against New Dominion LLC and other oil and gas companies that operate injection wells in the region, accusing the companies of engaging in “ultrahazardous activities” that led to her injuries.

Full story.


The Virtues of Arbitration

Lisa A. Rickard, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform | New York Times Letter to the Editor

Your three-part series on arbitration, beginning with “Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice” (front page, Nov. 1), is a one-sided view of arbitration and class-action lawsuits that parrots the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ talking points.

Full story.


Federal Judge Says His Overworked Colleagues Bench Close to Burnout

Jacob Gershman | Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog

Judges in federal trial courts have for some time expressed concern about the ever-growing backlog of civil cases. The workload complaint from the judiciary appears to be getting more urgent.

Full story.


NJ Court Backs Train Cos. In Secondhand Asbestos Case

Emily Field | Law360

A New Jersey state appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a woman’s suit against the Port Authority Transit Corp., various rail companies and automotive parts makers that claimed that she was exposed to asbestos through her father’s employment at those companies.

Full story.


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