Thursday, February 01, 2007

Interesting stuff

On using private lawyers as special prosecutors. The Roanoke paper reports here that Tim McAfee and Greg Stewart will get paid $150,000 for the handling of the Appalachia election fraud cases. The article notes that the cases in Gate City were handled by a Commonwealth's attorney from Botetourt County, at no extra cost.

On the Wren cross. Here a politico from the American Enterprise Institute takes on President Gene Nichols' decision to pull the cross from the Wren Building, after 300 years. Meanwhile, Governor Kaine said he wasn't offended by the Wren cross, but he wasn't going to tell anybody what to do. (I went to William & Mary but only for law school, so I'm not sure whether I've been in the Wren building, maybe when I was a kid.)

On judicial selection. Here's an article on four "highly qualified" candidates for the J&DR judgeship in Fauquier County. Here is an article on the retirement of two of three female judges in Norfolk, and discussing their replacement. The article says: "Lawyers and court officials have complained that the two people who are considered front-runners for those jobs would lessen the diversity of gender and experience on the bench," but also quotes Kai Memmer for the VWAA as saying "each candidate for a judgeship should be considered on his or her own merits." Tell 'em, Kai. Also, the Norfolk paper has this commentary that says Delegate Melvin's opposition to Judge Sword doesn't matter because his party doesn't have the votes to do anything.

On the big natural gas royalty verdict in West Virginia. What used to be Columbia Natural Resources has been sold a couple of times, they are a gas production company with operations in Kentucky and West Virginia, and their leases require them to pay royalties to the landowners or owners of the gas interests. On Saturday, a jury in West Virginia nailed them with a verdict of more than $400 million, including over $250 million in punitives, in a class action case. Here is a column from a Charleston paper about how the case affects the image of West Virginia, here is an article from Indiana - where NiSource, former owner of CNR, is based. Here is the press release from Chesapeake Energy, the new owner I guess.

Does the fellow servant doctrine apply here? This snippet from the Bristol TV station's news site says: "One person is in critical condition after an industrial accident at Bristol Compressors. It happened just before 2 p.m. Monday afternoon. Bristol, Virginia police say a worker named Glen Rosenbaum was injured when a robot that picks up items and places them in an oven, put Rosenbaum in the oven instead. Rosenbaum was air lifted to the Bristol Regional Medical Center."

Give it up. The Roanoke paper has more nonsense about the need for redlight cameras. Redlight cameras are unsafe and un-American. Who says unsafe? The people who wrote this Virginia study, among others. Redlight cameras are about money, not traffic safety.

Tuscaloosa looks at Virginia. This article is one in a series on the death penalty in Virginia, Alabama, and two other Southern states.

From Big Sandy to Big Salty? This article from the Richmond paper discusses the failure of a bill pressed by Buchanan County that would prohibit Consol from discharging salt water into the Levisa Fork. The bill HR 3088 was sponsored by Delegate Bowling.

Lions laying down with the lambs. The Washington Post reports here on the state of litigation between the warring camps of Episcopalians over who gets the church assets.

Speaking of splits. The Split Circuit blog points out that the Fourth Circuit's recent ruling in A.T. Massey v. Holland on the meaning of "reimbursement" under the Coal Act contributes to a circuit split on the issue, with the D.C. Circuit as the odd man out siding with the Funds. The issue in the Massey case was whether the word "reimbursement" as used in the statute that sets forth the manner of calculating premiums under the Coal Act should be based on the $182.3 million Medicare paid to the Funds or instead the $156.3 million in expenses incurred by the beneficiaries of the Funds. In a split decision, the Fourth Circuit concluded that the premiums charged to companies under the Act should be reduced to reflect the higher sum actually received from Medicare, even though the reimbursement exceeded the actual expenses incurred by the beneficiaries. John Woodrum argued for the appellees. Well done, John.

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