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Civil Justice Reform

Compensation for the Wrongfully Imprisoned?

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Teleforum Friday, July 07, 02:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

In recent years, there have been a growing number of instances where people have been freed from prison after it was discovered they were actually not guilty of the crimes for which they were convicted. Most states provide little or no compensation to such exonerated individuals. Some advocacy groups are pushing for changes. What, if anything, should be done? What kind of compensation are the wrongfully imprisoned entitled to? What kind of financial obligations for these cases can state treasuries bear? What is the perspective of law enforcement on these questions? This Teleforum will explore these and related issues.

Featuring:

  • Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
  • David LaBahn, President and CEO, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys

"Deep Pocket Jurisprudenceā„¢" and Meaningful Civil Justice Reform - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Victor E. Schwartz March 28, 2017

This Teleforum discussed what Victor Schwartz has labelled "Deep-Pocket Jurisprudence™." According to Mr. Schwartz, this occurs when state appellate courts expand tort law to include an innocent defendant because the wrongdoer is "judgment proof" or cannot be reached by the judicial process. The Supreme Court of Iowa has used the term and condemned the practice.

This call focused on the possible enactment of federal civil justice reform. On March 9 and 10th 2017 the House of Representatives passed three federal civil justice reform measures, namely the H.R. 720, Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, H.R. 725, Innocent Party Protection Act and H.R.925, the Fairness in Class Litigation Act. Each enjoy strong support from Speaker Paul Ryan and this marks the earliest in a congressional term that such federal civil justice reform measures have passed the House. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether they will pass through the Senate and be approved by President Trump.

Featuring:

  • Victor E. Schwartz, Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP

Ferguson, Baltimore, and Criminal Justice Reform - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Lawyers Convention
Arthur Loevy, Tim Lynch, David B. Muhlhausen, Michael P. Tremoglie, Robert L. Woodson, David Stras, Gail Heriot November 18, 2015

Criminal justice and policing reform are much in the news lately, sparked by events that garner national media coverage. This panel will assess the need for reform, and the road forward. How do media narratives about policing square with the empirical evidence? What are the most effective methods of policing, and how can they best be promoted? What is the proper way to balance police activity and the crime rate? In the current atmosphere, is legitimate police activity chilled? Must law enforcement officers responding to calls pause to consider their potential personal liability?

Civil Rights: Ferguson, Baltimore, and Criminal Justice Reform
12:00 noon – 2:15 p.m.
East Room

  • Mr. Arthur Loevy, Partner, Loevy & Loevy
  • Mr. Tim Lynch, Director, Project on Criminal Justice, The Cato Institute
  • Dr. David B. Muhlhausen, Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis,  Center for Data Analysis, The Heritage Foundation
  • Mr. Michael P. Tremoglie, Former Philadelphia Police Officer
  • Mr. Robert L. Woodson, Sr., Founder and President, Center for Neighborhood Enterprise
  • Moderator: Hon. David Stras, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Minnesota
  • Introduction: Hon. Gail Heriot, Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Downsides of Civil Juries - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Renée Lettow Lerner, Suja Thomas September 25, 2015

As with many things in life and in the law, there are pros and cons. This program will focus on that premise with civil juries. Proponents argue that the civil jury system, with jurors drawn from the general public, represents the values and judgment of the public in individual cases, and that deliberations among those same jurors generally lead to just results. Critics argue that complex cases should be decided by judges or special masters rather than lay jurors who cannot properly comprehend the complexities of some cases, that jurors are more susceptible to what should be unconvincing arguments by particularly persuasive attorneys, or that juries otherwise reach conclusions sometimes not supported by law. There is also concern that verdicts by juries do not permit thorough appeal on the merits. The civil jury has been virtually abolished in every other common law country. Should the system be reexamined? Is it in need of updating? Our experts answered these and other questions.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Renée Lerner, Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Prof. Suja Thomas, Professor, University of Illinois College of Law

Residual Class Action Awards: Cy Pres - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Theodore H. Frank March 21, 2014

gavel money

Cy pres (from the French cy pres comme —“as near as possible”) originated in the trust context, but has more recently been applied to class action litigation, as courts try to determine what to do with sometimes significant amounts of settlement funds remaining after all identified plaintiff awards have been made.  In recent decades, courts have agreed to award such remaining funds to third party recipients who, while not parties to the underlying suits, are deemed worthy by the court.  Sometimes, the courts have selected these third party recipients based on recommendations from the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.  What are the legal underpinnings for such awards to entities or people not party to the underlying case?  What are the policy considerations in making or prohibiting such awards?  These and other questions were discussed by our experts.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Mr. Theodore H. Frank, Founder and President, Center for Class Action Fairness and Adjunct Fellow, Manhattan Institute Center for Legal Policy

[Listen now!]