(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Monday, March 10, 2003

So the Supreme Court has put out some more cases today:

(1) Cook County v. US ex rel Chandler, asking whether cities and counties can be sued under the Qui Tam statute when they defraud the federal government. As I predicted here, the answer was "affirm": yes, they can be sued. As I hoped, the decision was unanimous. In response to my snotty query as to why the Court even bothered to take the case when the answer was so obvious, the opinion provides the answer: two other federal appellate courts had gotten the answer wrong. [UPDATE: And here's an interesting tidbit. One of the Courts that got the answer wrong -- so wrong that not a single Justice of the Supreme Court agreed -- was the Fifth Circuit; and one of the judges who joined that Fifth Circuit opinion was Judge Garza, who is considered to be on President Bush's short-list for any Supreme Court vacancy. I don't mention this simply in order to take a potshot at Judge Garza; I mention it because I think that judicial activism towards limiting the federal-law liability of cities and counties is the next frontier of Federalist Society jurisprudence, and I think that nominees' attitudes towards this issue are an important facet of the confirmation battles ahead of us.]

(2) In Norfolk & Western v. Ayers, the Court surprised cynical me (see my wrong prediction here) and ruled against the railroad in an FELA case presenting two questions about asbestos liability: yes, you can recover damages for fear of cancer if you already have another asbestos-related condition, and no you don't have to apportion damages among tortfeasors.

posted by sam 10:46 AM 0 comments


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