Archive for September, 2010

What is “Rich”?

September 30, 2010 1 comment

When the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, the result will effectively be a tax hike on many Americans. Congress is now left with the decision of whether to extend the tax cuts and thereby determine who amongst us are the rich members of society and, therefore, not worthy of being absolved from the tax hike. Of course, since this is a slightly political issue, it is being left until after the midterm elections.

But it does raise an important question. How much income must be earned each year to be considered rich? Even more importantly, especially for young professionals saddled with student loan debt, should debt load be considered as a mitigating factor in determining a taxpayer’s tax bracket? Or should Congress reform the tax code to make it “simpler” and more straightforward in an effort to capture more tax and eliminate clever methods of tax avoidance? Read more…

Categories: General Tags: , , , ,

International Manufacturers Beware: Foreign Evidence in American Products Liability Law

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment

One benefit of globalization is that businesses and people can more easily sell their goods and services in the world market.  In the context of manufacturing, companies who export products to foreign countries are frequently required to modify their product lines to conform to foreign laws and standards.  In some instances, manufacturers are compelled to produce two alternative products—one intended for domestic sale and the other for international.  These alternative product designs, manufactured to comply with diverse safety requirements, may have direct repercussions to manufacturers in American courts related to products liability lawsuits.

In order to prove a design defect in products liability law, most jurisdictions in the United States rely on a risk-utility test as enunciated in the Restatement (Third) of Torts.  The risk-utility test balances the degree of risk a certain design poses to consumers versus the utility of that design.  Plaintiffs must prove that there are reasonable substitute designs for a product, and the risk imposed on the consumer outweighs any utility of the allegedly defective design.

Read more…

Categories: Academic Articles

9th Circuit Dismisses Case Challenging Extraordinary Rendition

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment

On Wednesday, the 9th Circuit dismissed a case brought against a Boeing subsidiary for its alleged role in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. Five individuals arrested shortly after 9/11 brought the case against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., alleging that the Boeing subsidiary conspired with the CIA to render them to foreign countries where they were tortured. Shortly after the suit was filed, the federal government stepped in asserting that the case must be dismissed to prevent the disclosure of state secrets. The sharply divided court of appeals issued a 6-5 en banc decision upholding the government’s assertion of the state secrets privilege. The court dismissed the case in its entirety, preventing the plaintiffs from proceeding with evidence that would not encroach upon state secrets. Ben Wizner, the ACLU attorney who represents the five men, plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“If this decision stands, the United States will have closed its courts to torture victims while extending complete immunity to its torturers,” Wizner said.

If the Supreme Court takes the case, all eyes will be on Justice Kennedy. Since Justice O’Connor retired in 2006, Justice Kennedy has been the primary swing vote on the Court. I will not try to predict how the Court might decide this issue, but there is a strong likelihood that the decision will come down to Justice Kennedy’s vote. I would not be surprised to see the Court take a middle position, allowing the plaintiffs’ suit to proceed but excluding all evidence that can be fairly characterized as a state secret.

Property: Conveyance Interpreter

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

I ran across the “Conveyance Interpreter” at Legal Blog Watch. What is the conveyance interpreter you ask? Well, for anyone who has suffered through the misery of trying to decipher complicated conveyances in Property, the conveyance interpreter may be a godsend. The conveyance interpreter, created by Prof. Shawn Bayern of Florida State College of Law, translates those complicated conveyances for you, explaining the property interests created in the conveyance and mapping out exactly how the conveyance works.

Here’s a simple conveyance I asked the interpreter to translate: “To A for life, then to B.”
And here is what the conveyance interpreter spat out:
simple conveyance

1Ls might find this handy next spring, but don’t forget to actually learn conveyances because the interpreter isn’t going to take your finals for you.