Ernie the Attorney : searching for truth & justice (in an unjust world)
Updated: 6/5/2003; 10:49:23 PM.


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Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Law Review articles onlineGlenn Reynolds (who is a law professor in Tennessee) has placed two of his law review articles online, and you can access them here.  They have to do with "penumbral" (a/k/a 'unspecified') constitutional rights and also the Ninth Amendment, with the common theme being: how much weight, if any, should be given to the Constitutional framers' original intent?  I was excited, but in my excitement I realized something about myself. 

I guess I'm more of a "techblogger" than a "warblogger" because, while I'm interested in the topics that he discusses (the whole "original intent" thing is something I love discussing, especially after a few beers), I am much more interested in the idea that he is putting his law review articles online.  Shouldn't all law review articles (and other peer review writings) be online?  That's obviously a rhetorical question.  They should be online, and they should be placed where we can all create permanent links to them as we debate their merits in the open forum of the world wide web.  Same with judicial opinions.  Out in the open, and free of charge so we can all see what the law is, link to it, and discuss it.  That's what Tim Berners-Lee had in mind when he created this wonderful protocol (which, by the way, he didn't try to control or garner profit from).
11:01:13 PM    

Boldly Going Where No Law Firm Has Gone Before - I have been wrestling with the idea of making my law firm's News & Events page of our website into a Radio Weblog.  The benefits are obvious (ease of posting, ability to add comments, XML feeds etc).  I mentioned this to Rick today in our brief phone conversation.  Rick said "oh, that's easy...just give me 10 minutes."  I'll skip over the whole back and forth with tweaking etc.  Bottom line: look at this page, and compare it to the other one.  Uh, Houston ... we've got liftoff.
10:27:14 PM    

My Radio wishlist - if you are a Radio user or developer and want to follow my quest for blog nirvana click here.  Otherwise, keep moving.  What are you looking at?  There's nothing for you to see.  Keep it moving.  Thanks.

5:04:12 PM    

Comments on the State Tort Study -  Here are comments of  Bill Altreuter on this topic.   I would just point to his site, but he lacks the "permalink" feature and I didn't want to cause any hitches:

One of the things that is interesting about the lawyer blogger phenomenon is that sometimes anonymity is necessary. I can respect that, and so, here, without attribution, are some further comments on the US Chamber of Commerce study on state tort systems I received from a reader practicing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

"Massachusetts was simply left out of the punitive damages ranking because Massachusetts law doesn't allow for punitive damages. (Massachusetts does have an unfair and deceptive trade practices statute that provides for 2-3x damages for intentional violations, though this goes unmentioned.) I see the point of not comparing Massachusetts to states that do award punitive damages *on the issue of punitive damages.* But one would think that the fact should be taken into account in the final ranking -- I certainly do take it into account when advising clients. I don't have a particular sense of how plaintiff- or defendant-friendly Mass. courts ought to be -- my feeling is that Mass. courts are fairer than most, the quality of judges and juries is very good, and if that's so then let the chips fall where they may. At the same time, I don't want Mass. identified as a business-hostile environment when that's not the case. I haven't seen any media play on this study yet, so I don't know how it is being spun, but it seems plain enough to me that it is badly flawed, and tells us very little."

Yes, the blogging phenomenon is starting to pick up steam in the lawyer world.  This is in evidence everywhere, especially with the post by Marty yesterday on the MetsOnline story.   This is the way it should be: lawyers talking in plain English about issues that affect everyone.
4:48:24 PM    

Comments on the Corporate Fraud Act - here are some thoughtful comments from lawyer TPB.

4:40:02 PM    

MetsOnline Baseball Discussion goes into extra innings - read this thoughtful post from Chuq Von Rospach, who responded to me by E-mail about the MetsOnline discussion.  He's not a lawyer, but he sure makes some sensible points.

2:56:53 PM    

Glenn Fleishman comments on my post about lawsuits against Health Insurers who use cost-cutting software

"If you're in the casino business, the authorities come in and test your software and hardware all the time to make sure you're not cheating. Billions of dollars are spent by individuals in regulated US casinos each year.

If you're an HMO or insurance company, your software could have the most illegal, unethical logic in it that automatically is designed to delay payment, cheat, etc., and the government can't see your business logic. Perhaps business logic should be as exposed as gambling algorithms, and equally as testable. Perhaps the government should be sending blind bills through to insurance companies from all over the country on a routine basis, not on a scheduled basis. Perhaps with all this, the government could actually force companies to comply with the law?

Regulation doesn't work in a vacuum, and conservatives (who I respect, as opposed to political parties) often cite the failure of regulation to work as a failure of regulation in general. But much regulation is unfunded or underfunded (look at the IRS and SEC, where each additional $1 for enforcement equals $100 in the IRS's case and some similar amount for the SEC in collected fees)."  YACCS Comments for Ernie the Attorney

Poignant observations, as always, from Mr. Fleishman.
2:12:26 PM    

Physicians's suits vs. Insurance Co's involves software - an interesting article in the Wall St. Journal about this (caution: requires paid subscription to access).  The article describes the problem thusly:

"The patient walked into the office of gynecologist David E. Rogers in Allen, Texas, complaining of heavy, irregular bleeding. Dr. Rogers followed his usual routine, performing an examination and asking a series of questions about the woman's health and habits. He took a biopsy to check for cancer. The doctor's office then sent her insurer, Cigna Corp., a bill for $250, for both the exam and biopsy.

The payment back from Cigna: just $175 for the biopsy. Cigna's software chopped the $75 office-visit charge out of the bill before sending the doctor his check. Cigna's explanation to Dr. Rogers: The biopsy charge already included the cost of an office visit."

The AMA believes that doctors are hoodwinked out of hundreds of millions in fees because of the automatic bill-cutting software.  Several suits have been filed.  A state judge in Illinois approved class-action status to a lawsuit against Cigna based largely on its use of the software, which is sold by McKesson Corp, a company based in San Francisco.  Recently, a judge in Miami approved class action status to a suit by several medical groups against several HMOs, and a similar lawsuit has been filed here in New Orleans.  I don't think there is any question that lawsuits against insurance companies by medical groups are going to proliferate in the next few years.  And, whatever the legalities, one has to wonder what effect the tide of public opinion will have on these suits.
8:27:36 AM    

Radio Wishlist - Far be it from me to wish for anything more from Radio.  Okay, I admit I'm overindulged and spoiled.  Nevertheless, here is what I wish for.  I would like it if Radio came with a default "category" called "Radio Questions."  And as we all know, this implies a separate XML feed for that channel.  Then the folks at Userland (and the phalanx of developers who lurk in Radio Userland) could subscribe to that channel for some of the more intrepid users (i.e. Rick) and respond on a publicly available channel.  Thus you would have an XML channel with the latest hot tips and fixes for current Radio problems.  So, it would be sort of like an online demonstration of what a corporation could use Radio for: i.e. a robust, and inexpensive KM solution.  It sounds cool, but (as the guy in the commercial says), is it implementable?
1:01:15 AM    

Federal Court Forms Online - here is Civil Cover Sheet as PDF that you can fill out and print using Adobe Reader.

12:38:51 AM    

XML & eGovernment - A Winning Combination - according to this article the State of Utah has deployed an XML based system developed by Novell to cut the time required to process contracts with companies that seek economic development incentives.  Nice.

12:37:17 AM    

© Copyright 2003 Ernest Svenson.

Comments by: YACCS

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