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Month: September 2014

September 30, 2014

A new approach to species protection

Laws can worsen the problem they aim to fix. For example, in colonial India, the British government placed a bounty on cobras to rid Delhi of a snake infestation. When entrepreneurs began to breed cobras to cash in on the bounty, the government scrapped the program. So the snake breeders released their cobras into the ...

September 29, 2014

Must BP compensate people who were never harmed by BP?

60 minutes has a fascinating piece that illustrates many of the problems with the civil justice system today.  After the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, BP entered into a settlement agreement in which it agreed to pay businesses for losses to that arose following the oil spill.  But plaintiffs’ attorneys interpreted that clause to mean ...

September 29, 2014

Seawall and staircase decision draws local outcry

Over the weekend, San Diego journalist, Thomas K. Arnold, penned a stinging rebuke of the 2-1 court of appeal decision in Lynch v. California Coastal Commission, which threatens bluff-top homeowners’ property rights—including the right to protect their homes with seawalls. Arnold rightly criticizes the Coastal Commission’s “ ...

September 27, 2014

President's weekly report — September 26, 2014

Property Rights — Suction Dredge Ban Undermined The California Court of Appeal has issued a decision that seriously undermines California's ban on suction dredge mining. Adopting the argument of our amicus brief, the Court held that a state ban forbidding all commercially beneficial use of a federal mining claim is preempted by federal mining ...

September 26, 2014

A new, and unconstitutional, approach to contract law

Patricia Atalese signed a contract with a financial services firm, in which she agreed that "any claim or dispute" between herself and the firm, related to the services provided, "shall be submitted to binding arbitration upon the request of either party" and "any decision of the arbitrator shall be final and may be entered into ...

September 26, 2014

Arizona can't avoid a supermajority voting requirement just because it wants to

Today we filed an amicus brief in a case challenging Arizona's Medicaid expansion.  Like California (and many other states), Arizona's constitution requires that all taxes be passed by a supermajority vote—in this case, 2/3 of the legislature.  The Medicaid expansion included a tax on hospitals in order to pay for the program, but the Arizona ...

September 25, 2014

Defending property owners along the Great Lakes

Longtime readers know that Pacific Legal Foundation has defended property owners along the Great Lakes for many years.  These states have a history of trying to grab land for free from private property owners (see here for an example in Michigan, and here for an example in Ohio), using an ersatz version of the centuries-old public trust doc ...

September 25, 2014

Permit needed to keep trespassers off private property

Yesterday, a San Mateo Superior Court judge issued a stunning tentative ruling in one of the two Martins Beach lawsuits pending against coastal landowner Vinod Khosla. The judge concluded that the decision to disallow the public to trespass onto private property–after allowing the public to do so for a fee–constitutes “de ...

September 25, 2014

PLF's Timothy Sandefur discusses occupational licensing and economic freedom on Cato's Daily Podcast

In this Cato Daily Podcast, I discuss two PLF cases involving occupational licensing laws and the right to earn a living: our case on behalf of California entrepreneur Leslie Young and her business, elist.me, in which the state of Nebraska is arguing that you have to have a state real estate broker license before you ...

September 25, 2014

EPA abandons poultry farm appeal

The EPA has withdrawn its appeal of a West Virginia federal district court’s decision holding that the Clean Water Act’s regulatory regime for industrial stormwater does not apply to runoff from a poultry farm, where the “industrial” aspects of that poultry farm occur in housed and closed-off areas.  That’s good news ...

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