A recent interesting lawsuit filed against McDonald’s, in Cook County, Illinois, suffers from few of the deficiencies that I have identified in prior postings, see here, and here. The named employee-plaintiffs allege “negligence” in what might look at first blush…Another Public Nuisance Covid Suit: Why is the McDonald’s Case Different? — Workers’ Compensation Law Prof Blog
As you may already have heard, the Senate has passed a Covid-19 presumption, S. 3607. My abridged rendering is as follows. The presumption bill—which is keyed to a federal first responder catastrophic injury/death benefit statute, 34 U.S.C. § 10281 et…Senate Passes Covid Disability/Death Presumption for First Responders — Workers’ Compensation Law Prof Blog
I am going to resist the temptation to don my evidence professor hat and go through a tortuous discussion of the distinction between inferences and presumptions, bursting bubble presumptions, and the entire panoply of interesting presumption “stuff.” It is enough…One of These Things is Not Like the Other: Not All Workers’ Compensation Covid-19 Presumptions Are Equal — Workers’ Compensation Law Prof Blog
Dear class of 2020,
It is an honor and a privilege to have been selected by you as Potter Law Club Outstanding Faculty Member of 2020. Congratulations to you. Congratulations to your families, who were with you in spirit every step of the way. You have worked hard. And you are each deserving of the diplomas that we are about to confer on you.
Here is something that was not in my playbook last September (which feels like a long time ago): what to say at commencement as outstanding faculty member to the Class of 2020—the Centennial Class—in the midst of a world-wide pandemic after a half-semester of Zoom teaching. I suppose this is how playbooks grow.
I cannot remember who the faculty speaker was the day I graduated from law school—and I remember very little about the speech that was delivered that day. I do remember one thing, though. All the speeches I heard that day left me with a profound sense of hope and made me eager, if also a little anxious, to get started on my legal career. In my written remarks in the program, I have made a point of expressing to you the reality that during these difficult and challenging days virtually everyone I care about has remained optimistic. They all continue to ask, “What comes next.” They continue to say, Next man (or woman) up. “Next person up.” “All hands on deck.” I continue to feel that way, too. But perhaps I should tell you why I am not just talking out of my hat or blowing smoke. I really believe it.
The last time the unemployment rate was anywhere near as high as it is today I was 22 years old. I have just dated myself to those of you who know something about economic history. That year, I lost my job and could not find another one for several months. Every friend I had (we were all lower-skilled, blue collar workers) lost their jobs. Lots of people proclaimed very persuasively and frighteningly that it was the end of the world. But it was not. Ten years after that gloomy time I entered law school. And a couple of decades after that—more or less, what is a decade or two between friends?—I met you in our torts class where I peppered you with phrases like, “Somebody’s going to pay.”
The point of all of this is that there is only one sure way for you not to succeed – if you do not try. And I do not think that possibility applies to any of the College of Law Class of 2020—the Centennial Class.
I practiced law for 11 years before beginning my teaching career in this building, in this very room in fact. My parting advice to you is simple. Love your family and treat them well. Work hard—remember that no one can ever out-work you without your consent. In whatever you do, be punctual: arrive on time and meet deadlines. If you cannot be kind—and it will certainly be better if you are kind—at all events, do not be mean. Especially in the challenging days to come. I am very proud of who you are and of who you are going to be. Remember, tough times never last, but tough people do. Thank you again, and good luck.
Listening in on yesterday’s Senate Hearing on Corporate Liability During the Coronavirus Pandemic—you can find the video here and do a text search for “workers’ compensation”—I was especially pleased to hear workers’ compensation immunity discussed at 1:14:20 to about 1:14:50….The Stimulus “Liability” Debate: Don’t Forget Texas Elective Workers’ Compensation — Workers’ Compensation Law Prof Blog
I have had a couple of inquiries in the last few days about lawsuits filed by employees against meatpacking plants. One illustrative case is Benjamin v. JBS, Phila. Ct. Com. Pl, 5/7/20. Another is Blanca Esther Parra v. Quality Sausage…Painful Lessons on the Workers’ Compensation Exclusive Remedy Rule: Desperate Litigation in the Meatpacking Industry — Workers’ Compensation Law Prof Blog
Governor Newsom has issued an executive order establishing a workers’ compensation Covid-19 presumption in California. Key introductory points are that the presumption appears to apply to most if not all employees, it is rebuttable, and it is temporary, expiring sixty…Workers’ Compensation Covid-19 Presumption Established in California — Workers’ Compensation Law Prof Blog
In what for me is an ominous development the Smithfield Foods public nuisance case, about which I blogged below, has been summarily denied by a Missouri federal district court and the case has been dismissed.The decision took all of twelve…Novel Smithfield Foods Public Nuisance Suit Dismissed Without Prejudice — Workers’ Compensation Law Prof Blog
As Senate Republicans and corporations continue to lobby for the broadest possible “liability shields” in connection with the Great Reopening, a novel lawsuit framed in terms of public nuisance theory is being litigated in a Missouri federal court. From the…The Public Nuisance Litigation in a Smithfield Foods Meatpacking Case: Workers’ Compensation Implications? — Workers’ Compensation Law Prof Blog
When I was a young whipper-snapper, an airline supervisor once ordered me to put my rain gear on and enter an airplane baggage compartment into which “lavatory fluid” had discharged due to a malfunction. I told him to pound sand….President Orders Continued Meat Production: And Then There’s the 13th Amendment — Workers’ Compensation Law Prof Blog