court

3M awaits bankruptcy ruling that could sink litigation tactic

3M’s attempt to block jury trials of more than 230,000 lawsuits accusing it of harming U.S. soldiers faces a key test this week in front of a federal judge in Indianapolis.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeffrey Graham is set to consider a temporary halt to the lawsuits so that 3M and its bankrupt subsidiary, Aearo Technologies, can try to settle the claims, most of which have been filed by veterans who say the combat arms earplugs left them with hearing damage.

Graham’s decision will echo across the offices of other firms facing massive numbers of product liability lawsuits, Harvard Law School professor Jared Ellias said in an interview.

“To the extent 3M suffers a setback here it’s likely to set off alarm bells in other corporate boardrooms of companies that want to take advantage of the bankruptcy system,” Ellias said.

The Aearo case uses an increasingly popular strategy in which profitable companies use insolvency proceedings to force settlement talks with victims of allegedly harmful products.

Johnson & Johnson and lumber giant Georgia-Pacific have also put units into bankruptcy with the same goal of ending their litigation woes in one place instead of fighting thousands of trials around the country.

Fighting each

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California invites court fight with gun law that mimics Texas on abortion

The governor has maintained the measure is about protecting Californians from gun violence. But it also sends a message to a Supreme Court whose rulings Newsom and fellow California Democrats have derided, essentially daring it to either uphold the gun law or reconsider its logic in backing Texas’s approach.

“The question is whether they are complete and abject hypocrites and frauds if they reject our bill that’s modeled after that abortion bill as it relates to private right of action to go after assault weapons,” Newsom said this month.

Yet the law could stand on precarious legal ground. Even Democratic legislators who favor gun restrictions said as much in passing the bill, conceding that it employed a dubious legal strategy in the service of a larger goal.

“It is my hope and desire that ultimately this bill actually not proceed because the Texas law is found to be wrong, unconstitutional and crazy,” state Sen. Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) said before voting for the measure in April.

It also drew fierce opposition from ideological allies of Newsom who warned he was empowering the very type of reasoning he had condemned. “There is no way to ‘take advantage of the flawed logic’

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Lawyer is disbarred after trying to run his law practice from jail

Ethics

Lawyer is disbarred after trying to run his law practice from jail

Image from Shutterstock.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has disbarred a lawyer who continued practicing law from jail after his conviction for shooting and injuring a man outside an Oklahoma City nightclub.

The state supreme court disbarred lawyer Jay Silvernail after rejecting a recommendation for a suspension of two years and one day.

The silvernail-shot-ryan-dejesus-outsi.html”Legal Profession Blog has highlights from the June 28 opinion.

Silvernail had tried to continue his law practice while he was in the county jail awaiting sentencing for the May 2016 shooting of Ryan Dejesus, who lost most of his right leg as a result of the gunshot wound.

Silvernail “was more interested in cash flow than client care,” the state supreme court said. And his decision to bring a loaded gun into a verbal dispute with Dejesus “gives us grave concerns about his fitness to practice law,” the Oklahoma Supreme Court added.

Silvernail was convicted of assault and battery with a deadly weapon in October 2019 for shooting Dejesus,

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Texas abortion law: What the Supreme Court ruling means here

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Florida Supreme Court hears gun law challenge amid national debate over restrictions

The law being challenged is part of a decades-old “preemption” law approved by the Florida Legislature that prohibits local governments at the city or county level to pass measures stricter than those at the state level. The case the state Supreme Court is weighing will not affect the underlying 1987 preemption law.

“This is a legislative fire hose to put out a birthday candle,” said Edward G. Guedes, an attorney representing the plaintiffs trying to overturn the law.

The state’s high court considered the legal fight in the aftermath of a spate of mass shootings across the country, including one last month in Uvalde, Texas school that left 19 elementary students and two teachers dead, and another in Buffalo, N.Y. that claimed 10 lives. Those shootings and others spurred lawmakers across the country to again fight over how to restrict firearms in the country.

The Florida law was initially overturned in Leon County Circuit Court, but last year the 1st District Court of Appeals overturned that lower court ruling, which prompted Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is also running for governor, and 30 local governments to appeal the decision to the Florida Supreme Court.

“We should be talking

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