J&J questions fairness of hip implant trial

Andrew Bradt quoted by PharmaLive, Dec. 7, 2016

Andrew Bradt, a professor at University of California Berkeley School of Law, noted the U.S. Supreme Court has held punitive damages should be no more than 10 times compensatory damages. The $1.041 billion award was mainly punitive, with just $32 million in compensatory damages.

How an everything-must-go Trump sale might look

Steven Davidoff Solomon co-writes for The New York Times, Dec. 6, 2016

There is a potentially cleaner way of handling the conflict, though one that the president-elect would very likely eschew, and that is to sell the Trump Organization entirely. It isn’t as potentially difficult as it sounds, as the company is largely a hodgepodge of office buildings, condominiums, golf courses, a global brand-licensing business and even a winery.

Cell phone search violated Constitution, state high court rules

Charles Weisselberg quoted by Daily Journal (registration required), Dec. 6, 2016

Charles Weisselberg … who argued to the high court on behalf of Macabeo, said a ruling for the government would have eroded privacy rights for millions of Californians. “Officers cannot simply search anyone stopped for any infraction,” Weisselberg said. “The state was arguing that probable cause for arrest justifies a full search.”

Florida may be pondering ‘novel’ lethal injection change

Megan McCracken quoted by The Recorder (registration required), Dec. 6, 2016

The use of etomidate in an execution, if that is what Florida is planning to do, is “brand new and wholly novel,” McCracken said. “It has not been used to our knowledge in an execution in any state and it’s never appeared on an execution protocol in any state,” said McCracken.

Stronger together? A blueprint for a blue state alliance

Jennifer Granholm and Dan Farber quoted by California Magazine, Dec. 5, 2016

“We have to get better at process strategies,” says Jennifer Granholm. … “The Republicans have been diligently building candidate pipelines for many years, and we’re just not as good at that. We have to do a better job of recruiting our bench. Right now it’s not very deep.”

“Trump has power, but most of the things he wants to do can’t be done with the stroke of a pen,” Farber says. “He’ll have to work with Congress, and as we know, even members of his own party don’t see eye-to-eye with him on a lot of things. And in any case, it’s always hard for Congress to get anything done. The courts are also a possible check. Democrats can’t sugarcoat the election results, but that doesn’t mean they’re not in the game.”

Murder convictions rare for owners or landlords of deadly sites

Mark Gergen quoted by San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 5, 2016

Survivors of the victims of this weekend’s Ghost Ship fire can also file damage suits against the building’s owner, his chief tenant who leased the spaces, and possibly the promoter of the concert that brought people to the warehouse Friday night, said UC Berkeley Law Professor Mark Gergen. The main obstacle, he said, is that the operators of such “gray economy” enterprises typically have few assets and no insurance.

State justices suppress smartphone evidence in child porn case

Catherine Crump quoted by The Recorder (registration required), Dec. 5, 2016

Catherine Crump … said the decision is significant not so much because it safeguards phone data but rather because it resists an expansion of the grounds for warrantless police searches. … If a court had gone the opposite way, “then the power of police to search people going about their daily lives would have been sweeping,” she said.