SLAPP lawsuits and other political links

A staple of libertarian/conservative belief is that “tort reform” is necessary to protect corporations from all the nuisance suits imposed by us evil private citizens and lawyers hungry for cash. Almost none of the suggestions—limits on payouts, “loser pays legal fees” would prevent corporations from suing ordinary citizens. Case in point, Salon’s article on one billionaire’s suit against Mother Jones magazine cost the magazines $2.5 million. The plaintiff could afford to pay that so it’s no disincentive to the lawsuit (though it would have helped the magazine to recover).

And the same applies to big corporations filing SLAPP lawsuits (“Strategic lawsuits against public participation”), nuisance patent-infringement lawsuits, copyright lawsuits, nuisance trademark lawsuits, etc. (here’s one example). All in the hope the target will settle, shut up (SLAPP lawsuits, like the one against Mother Jones, target someone for criticism, sometimes as little as criticizing a new development at a public hearing) or give up their domain name, product name or whatever to get peace. Even if the defendants knew their legal fees would be covered if they win, they’re a lot more vulnerable than the big players, and a lot less set up to fight or afford a legal battle that can stretch out forever.

Which is one more reason I’ll never be a libertarian/conservative. More discussion here. And Columbia Journalism Review looks at how California’s anti-SLAPP laws blocked a harassing lawsuit in that state.

•As a protest against Texas’ new gun law (concealed carry is OK on campus), one student advocates students take dildoes to school—cocks not glocks!

•Erik Loomis on why he thinks a good minimum wage and a jobs program beats a universal minimum income. Good discussion in the comments.

•One system of debt collection for rich and poor alike ..

•Assaulting your ex and her boyfriend? Wacky fun if you’re a sports star!

•The EPA sets new pesticide protections for farm workers.

•The government is considering rules that would stop banks forcing customers into arbitration instead of suing.

•A new bill proposes making it a crime for executives to cover up the risks of their company’s products. Speaking of which three executives total have been sentenced to jail over covering up their company’s sale of salmonella-tainted peanut butter.

•Apparently Ohio’s food stamp policies have reduced non-white recipients from 35 percent to 5 percent.

•Yet another conservative insists letting him decide whether women get abortions is for their protection.

•A hospital gives a man a $500 estimate in writing on the cost of his daughter’s treatment. The hospital was way off.

•The latest court ruling on amateurism in college sports.

•The fantasy right-wing constitution.

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