Finger on the Pulse: From Our Blogroll and Beyond

  • HHS official urges Medicare agency to regulate practice of medicine by punishing providers for off-label prescribing (Washington Post)
  • Challenges to adequacy of counsel in class action cases sometimes pay off (Class Action Countermeasures)
  • Long-term, broader implications of judge’s rejection of settlement between SEC and Citigroup (D&O Diary)
  • Judge hammers federal prosecutors for errors in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case, throws out convictions (FCPA Professor)
  • FDA announces standard for what is “all natural” in food products through warning letter (FDA Law Blog)
  • For better or worse, patent litigation is a booming business (WSJ Law Blog)
  • Environmental radicals oppose federal underbrush clearance of Montana forests to prevent forest fires (Lexis/Nexis Environmental Law Community)

Imminent EPA Guidance on Fracking Set to Destroy Jobs?

Soon to be EPA-regulated?

Somewhere on the soon-to-be-freezing land of North Dakota, workers whose jobs depend on the continued viability of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) are left to guess what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has in store for them next month. A draft guidance is expected to be released in January defining, among other things, what diesel fuel is, and the length, process, and types of permits that businesses must seek in order to engage in hydraulic fracturing.

The only wrinkle is that some are speculating that the EPA will institute a moratorium on the practice as soon as January. While the EPA strenuously denies that they will, there is a significant chance that the EPA’s definition of diesel fuel will be broad enough to encompass nearly any type of oil. Oil is used as a binding agent for the sand and water in fracking solutions, 99% of which is sand and water. Diesel fuel is used when it is cold due to its chemical properties; many companies have eliminated diesel from the process and use vegetable or mineral oil instead. But according to the head of the North Dakota State Industrial Committee – which has set aside $1 million for legal challenges to the EPA – a broad definition of diesel could encompass such fuels. Continue reading “Imminent EPA Guidance on Fracking Set to Destroy Jobs?”

Federal Judges Have Harsh Words, Rulings for Class Action Plaintiffs’ Lawyers

Cross-posted by Forbes.com at WLF Contributor Site

The plaintiffs’ bar often bemoans that class action lawsuits get a bad rap. But two federal court rulings from last month offer reminders as to why people think class actions have more to do with lawyer enrichment than client compensation. Each suit has the appearance of being lawyer-driven, and in both resulting decisions, the judge harshly criticizes the lawyers. 

From the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, we have Rothman v. General Nutrition Corp. As related in a National Law Journal article, the Rothman case was one of 150 class action suits filed after the California Supreme Court ruled that businesses who ask consumers for zip codes during credit card transactions can be sued under a California law prohibiting requests of “personal identification information.” In addition to denying certification of the class because the plaintiffs’ claims lacked sufficient “commonality,” Judge James Otero found that the lawyers bringing the suit could not adequately represent the class. Continue reading “Federal Judges Have Harsh Words, Rulings for Class Action Plaintiffs’ Lawyers”