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Calif. Court Scolds Prop. 65 Lawyers

California's Proposition 65 is intended to protect the public from exposure to toxic chemicals. But an exasperated California Court of Appeal issued an opinion this week using no uncertain words to show its impatience with its perceived abuse of the law by plaintiff and defense lawyers alike, as both Shaun Martin and J. Craig Williams write about on their blogs.

Martin describes the opinion as "an incredibly harsh, unrelenting, sarcastic, and utterly damning indictment" of both the lawyers involved and of Proposition 65 litigation in general.

"Rarely have I read something as unceasingly bitter and visceral as this. Not that it's necessarily wrong; indeed, there's much in here that I agree with. But man, oh man, is Justice Sills ruthlessly mean.  He's got a definite take on this type of litigation, and he isn't at all shy about letting the reader know what it is."

But the lawyers may have earned their comeuppance, Williams suggests. He notes that at the oral argument of the case, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers proudly described himself as a "bounty hunter," to which the court in its opinion remarked, "We will have more to say about exactly who Proposition 65 was created for later, but it wasn't bounty hunters."  On his blog, Williams adds his own observation:

"The undoing of the lawsuits, however, was the Notice of Intent to Sue. It was so vague that in the Court's opinion, it could apply to every building in the state.  If you occasionally read opinions and want to know what upsets appellate justices, this one is in the must-read category, if not also for the more casual style of writing that's coming out of this District."

A must read for Proposition 65 lawyers, in any event.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on March 30, 2006 at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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