Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Taste Of Things To Come

What can we expect if Kathleen Falk is elected as the Attorney General in Wisconsin? Nothing good that I can foresee, but I have been wrong before. In the past Kathleen has been known to prosecute frivolous, meaningless lawsuits that do nothing but attack big business and waste time and money, especially to big businesses who aren't necessarily in the wrong and have to pony up the dough to pay their lawyers. Is this just one thing that we can expect in the future?

Maybe Kathleen and Bill Lockyer, Attorney General of the fine state of California, are good pals. Maybe. Time will certainly tell if Kathleen gets elected. In the mean time, we can only guess.

So who is Bill? If you have been paying attention lately, you may have noticed that Bill has taken a page out of the Kathleen Falk book of tricks and filed a lawsuit against GM, Ford, Dodge, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Yes, even the very "green" Toyota. The lawsuit alleges that these manufacturers have been building automobile for years(no shit, eh?) that burn gasoline and diesel and create harmful emissions. These emissions "add to global warming, harm people’s health, damage the welfare of the state, lessen the snowpack on California’s mountains, and pollute rivers." All of this is reason enough for Bill to seek tens of millions of dollars.

Now, as many of you may have guessed, I am not a lawyer. In fact, if you can draw a conclusion, you can look at the top of my page and read what it is that I might be. Therefore, take it from an expert. Ben Stein (anyone?) wrote an excellent article in the New York Slimes last week that sums it up pretty damn good. A couple of excerpts for you lucky readers here to follow.


Now, for all of you who were not law students, Mr. Lockyer’s suit is a tort suit, such as you might file if you were parked at a stoplight and a car behind you failed to stop and slammed into your car, crushing it and injuring you.

The reason it’s called a tort suit is that the French word “tort” means a wrong or a wrongdoing, and failing to stop at a stoplight is wrong. The same would apply if a restaurant negligently poisoned you or if your neighbor crashed his car into your mailbox.

The point is that a wrong has to have been done in order for there to be a lawsuit. This is the problem, or one of the problems, with the attorney general’s lawsuit. The car companies have done nothing wrong. It’s that simple. They manufacture a perfectly legal product, a car or truck. They manufacture it in accordance with strict regulations about every single aspect of its building and use.

Excited yet? It gets better...


So, for making a lawful product that complies with regulations and is necessary and bought by millions of Californians each year, all knowing that their cars produce emissions, G.M., Ford and the others are being sued.

Where is the wrong here? What have the car companies done that is a wrongful act, except in the imagination of an attorney general?


The assault on automobile companies does not allege even the slightest degree of deception as to how cars work. Everyone knows that cars and trucks burn fuel, and that this process produces emissions. How could there be deception here? More to the point, if we as a people do not know that burning gasoline and diesel fuel causes carbon dioxide emissions, we are in such a state of willful ignorance that we have, as lawyers say, “assumed the risk.”


But where is the causation in Mr. Lockyer’s suit? How do we know that the lung and heart damage and global warming and melting snowpack were not caused by industrial emissions or by emissions that come from China and India and drift over California? How can anyone prove that any specific damage was done by any specific set of cars and trucks or by all of them? How can anyone prove that any specific amount of global warming was caused by any car maker?

Oohhh, very good stuff. I am pretty excited. Especially knowing that this could be hitting home really, really soon. Ben Stein does an excellent job writing this article and pointing out how silly, stupid and frivolous of a sham lawsuit that it is. Makes you kinda wonder how dumb Bill Lockyer must feel after reading this article, assuming that is, that he did read it.

HT: DeLorenzo at

PS - Thanks to those who have noticed my absence. You may stop your bitching now as I posted. You know who you are...


At 6:37 AM, Blogger Dad29 said...

"I'm not a lawyer...but I can QUOTE one"...DCS

Lockyer feels no more shame than Elliot Spitzer, NY's AG, for the horrible perversions-of-law that HE visited upon (e.g.) Mr. Strong of Strong Capital.

There's a REASON that Shakespeare wrote the line "First thing, let's kill all the lawyers..."

At 9:24 PM, Anonymous The Asian Badger said...

Nice to see you posting again. A nice piece by the way. I agree with Dad29...this looks like a West Coast version of Eliot Spitzer.


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