Bless her heart. This month, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced the Retirement Security for Today’s Four-Year-Olds Act of 2011, which seeks to curb the next generation’s sense of entitlement. This bill seeks to change the definition of retirement age under the Social Security Act to 70, as of January 1, 2069. The title is a bit misleading since it affects more than today’s four-year-olds. People turning 70 in 2069 were born in 1999, meaning they will be turning 12 this year. Yes, another grievance for today’s pre-teens to add to the long list of injustices that have befallen them. I’m sure Dick Clark will be long gone come New Year 2069, so as the New Year’s Eve Ball descends down on Times Square, he should be spared the collective whine: I want to retire and I want it now!
The Justia Dockets & Filings website offers attorneys, journalists, litigants, and legal researchers a simple tool for discovering and tracking litigation in the various federal courts. I find the website to be absolutely indispensable for tracking who is suing and who is being sued.
For example, I subscribe to the following RSS feeds to track lawsuits involving technology companies, such as Google, Facebook and Apple. You will find a routine stream of complaints over privacy, patents and petty consumer grievances. For the latter group, I sometimes wonder about the plaintiffs who cannot resolve minor disputes without resorting to a federal class action. In this day and age of increasing transparency in the legal system, are these plaintiffs giving sufficient forethought to how a potential future employer may view their degree of litigiousness over seemingly trivial disputes?
- New York City street performer the Naked Cowboy is suing competing street performer the Naked Cowgirl in federal court. Both play the guitar in Times Square nearly naked except for cowboy boots and a hat. The Naked Cowboy is claiming that the Naked Cowgirl is “tarnishing the Naked Cowboy’s wholesome image.”
- A Wisconsin restaurant owner, who famously marketed his establishment with a herd of goats grazing on the roof, is suing a Georgia market for trademark infringement for drawing in customers with their own herd of roof goats.
The New York Times ran a fascinating story this week about third-party financiers of lawsuits. The Times, together with the Center for Public Integrity, reported that third-party financing of contingency lawsuits is on rise. Specialized lending firms that cater to law firms have emerged, charging premium interest rates (from 15-24%). The funds are used to pay for increasingly complex and costly plaintiffs’ litigation. The Times reports that total investment in this arena now exceeds $1 billion.
Yeah–you read that right. $1B. This factoid in the article that really caught my attention–litigation financing is a big business, and how many of us really knew it existed? When I first read the article, I didn’t really know how I felt about this–except that it seemed like an ethical minefield, but appears to be above board in most states. The article is accompanied by commentary from a panel of law professors, who discuss some of these ethical issues.