The pendulum has swung though it’s not clear what exactly the effects will be. It’s not like any of these guys have had to turn to panhandling, but there’s a definite shift. Of course it's not the lawyers who will suffer, lest my derision seem motivated purely by self-interest. I recently ran into a partner at Nix, Patterson & Roach, one of the firms mentioned in the story, who has turned his focus on patent litigation and just opened a new office in
I think we'll be hearing a more of these stories.
Jack Cline is in a hospital here fighting for his life, stricken by leukemia that he says he got from exposure to benzene at his factory job. In most states, he would be able to sue the companies that made the benzene. But Alabama’s all-Republican, wildly pro-business Supreme Court threw out his case.
In a ruling that would have done Kafka proud, the court held that there was never a valid time for Mr. Cline to sue. If he had sued when he was exposed to the benzene, it would have been too early. Alabama law requires people exposed to dangerous chemicals to wait until a “manifest” injury develops. But when his leukemia developed years later, it was too late. Alabama’s statute of limitations requires that suits be brought within two years of exposure.