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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Caps on Non-Economic Damages for 2014

The Michigan Department of Treasury has announced that the new caps on noneconomic damages in products liability cases where the product did not cause either death or permanent loss of a vital bodily function for 2014 is $440,200. The indexed cap in cases involving death or permanent loss of a vital bodily function is now $786,000. The cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases is now $464,400.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ABA Picks the 100 Best Legal Blawgs/Blogs

For the 7th time, the ABA has picked its favorite 100 blogs (or blawgs) and there are some very good ones no matter what area you practice in.  Click here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Author of “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law” Speaks at 48th Annual Association of Defense Trial Counsel Meeting on May 21, 2013

Mark Hermann, the Global Head of Litigation for Aon, the world’s largest insurance and reinsurance broker, and the author of one of the best-selling books ever published by the Litigation Section of the ABA, will be the featured speaker at the DAC on May 21, 2013.  He will discuss that book, his enormously popular blogs and articles on litigation, and his new book, “Inside Straight”, which collects his best postings and commentaries on the practice of law in general and litigation in particular.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Four Big Changes to Removal Under the Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act

The Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act went into effect on January 6, 2012 and alters removal of cases from state to federal court in four fundamental ways.

First, it now allows each defendant in a multiple defendant case a full thirty days following service on that defendant to file a removal notice.  Previously, there was a split of authority on whether the 30 days ran from the date the first defendant was served.

Second, the Act adopts new procedures for establishing the amount in controversy necessary to sustain diversity jurisdiction, with the default being “the sum demanded in good faith in the initial pleading" or Complaint.  There are several important exceptions, however, including discovery conducted in the state court proceeding after the case is no longer removable being a basis for later removal.

Third, while the one year absolute bar to removal remains, the Act provides that even after one year a case can become removable if “plaintiff has acted in bad faith in order to prevent a defendant from removing the action.”

Finally, the Act eliminates a federal court’s discretion to hear state-law claims asserted in a case removed to federal court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction and requires the district court to "sever from the action all [state-law] claims . . . and . . . remand the severed claims to the State court from which the action was removed.”

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Google Search Tips for Litigators

  • To restrict searches to a particular domain, like university websites, type in your search terms and then add  It looks like this:  masters degree architecture
  • To exclude something, use the minus sign.  It looks like this: Newt-Gingrich.  That search would exclude references to Newt Gingrich.
  • To restrict searches to the exact words you are looking for, as opposed to Google’s default mode which includes pleurals, synonyms, etc., put the words in quotation marks.  It looks like this: “motion to dismiss” would not return motions to dismiss.
  • Use OR.  Google assumes that a space between search terms means “and.”  If you want to search for more than one term at the same time but not necessarily on the same page separate the words with OR.  It looks like this: class action OR lawsuit.
  • If you want to restrict your searches to particular dates, click on the “Search Tools” tab that appears above your results and restrict the results to one of the time frames suggested under “Any Time” or put in a date range in the “Custom Range” option at the bottom of that pull down menu.   Your results are then restricted to that time period.
These and other search tips for litigators are discussed in more detail in the ABA Section on Litigation article entitled "Eight Google Skills All Litigators Should Master."

Monday, July 02, 2012

Cross Exam LInks and Quotes

Professor James Elkins from the West Virginia College of Law has assembled a great set of links and quotes on cross-examination here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

6th Circuit Overturns 17 Years of Precedent in ADA Case

In Lewis v. Humboldt Acquisition Corporation, Inc., __ F.3d ___, 2012 WL 1889389 (6th Cir. May 25, 2012), a 17 year old rule that plaintiffs alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may prevail only if they show that their disability was the “sole” reason for any adverse employment action.  The Court of Appeals reversed, held, en banc, that an employee is not required to show that her disability was the “sole” reason for her termination in order to prevail on her ADA claim. However, the Sixth Circuit refused to adopt the “motivating factor” analysis from Title VII cases and ruled than an employee is required to show that her disability was a “but for” cause of the employer’s adverse employment action.  The Court relied on Gross v. FBL Financial Services, 557 U.S. 167 (2009), where the Supreme Court construed similar language found in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).