Minnesota Litigator picked up a tip to the May 28, 2013 note by Victor Li in the Litigation Daily about this case. D.C. Powerhouse, Massey & Gail, along with Twin Cities Zimmerman Reed lawyers Carolyn Anderson, David Cialkowski, June Hoidal and Patricia Bloodgood represent the state of Mississippi in a “parens patriae” lawsuit, a lawsuit brought by the state of Mississippi against companies alleged to have participated in price fixing in the liquid crystal display (“LCD”) business. The issue: is a “parens patriae” lawsuit a “mass action” that can be plucked from the state courts across the United States by defendants to be decided in federal court under the federal Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). Every U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has answered that question, “No,” but the Fifth Circuit went the other way so the U.S. Supreme Court has to reconcile the split…
Update (June 3, 2013): A few weeks ago, Minnesota Litigator wrote about Twin Cities lawyer Terry Wade’s twenty-three year quest to hold bike manufacturers’ accountable for injuries caused when the front wheels fall off bikes equipped with quick-release devices. The subject of that post was Wade’s loss of a motion to amend the complaint to add punitive damages in his new case against Trek. As Minnesota Litigator noted, twenty-three years ago, the Minnesota Court of Appeals also rejected Wade’s attempt to win punitive damages against a quick-release component manufacturer.
Another near-fatal blow appears to have landed on Wade’s quest. On May 8, 2013, Judge Ann Montgomery granted Trek’s motion to exclude most of Wade’s expert’s opinions. Judge Montgomery also partially granted Trek’s motion for summary judgment on several product liability claims. It’s worth wading through the first twenty-one pages discussing the Plaintiffs’ various product liability theories to get to page 22, where the best part of the opinion starts. Reading it is enjoyable to all those litigators who have had to deal with the shifty expert witness who, enabled by his handlers, provides remarkably crafted testimony to destroy their case (or defense) or the other kind of expert—the one who avoids providing any substantive deposition testimony but who provides detailed, unequivocal testimony at trial.
Today is the start of a jury trial before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis (D. Minn.) for Anthony James Lee’s case against the City of Minneapolis for events that occurred the evening of July 14, 2010 in downtown Minneapolis.
Either Mr. Lee was on his way home for choir practice at the Salvation Army when he was beset upon by racist police officers with a vendetta against him, and he was brutally battered and subjected to racist epithets, or Mr. Lee was arrested during a drug sting in which he was caught trying to sell an under-cover police officer.
Many of us will come to these dramatically inconsistent narratives with preconceived biases from reservoirs of experience shaped by class, race, and actual first-hand knowledge, not of whatever happened to Mr. Lee that night, but what has happened to us and people we know.
The Lee case and cases like it may be a perfect example of where there is simply no better fact-finding system than our juries and our court system. From time to time, juries get cases and verdicts wrong, of course, but what better way is there to figure out whether or how laws were broken?
Here is a valuable practice pointer: Federal Practice and Procedure, by Wright & Miller, et al. You’re welcome.
Seriously, it is annoying to be referred to a bucket of data and to be told that the answer to one’s question is in there somewhere.
It might be particularly irritating to courts when highly specialized trial lawyers like patent litigators, who are rewarded handsomely for their mastery of technical needles, direct the courts to data haystacks and say, “Knock yourself out. The needle’s in there.”
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Be first to identify the location of this photo in the comments (“Leave a Reply”) for a prize! (Distinguished Minnesota litigator, William Davidson, is our winner!)