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Monday, November 16, 2009

2 lawyers wrote their own meal ticket

The Nashua Telegraph runs an AP story on one of the most egregious cases of rent-seeking I've ever seen.
Every lawsuit filed or even threatened under a California law aimed at electing more minorities to local offices - and all of the roughly $4.3 million from settlements so far - can be traced to just two people: a pair of attorneys who worked together writing the statute, The Associated Press has found. The law makes it easier for lawyers to sue and win financial judgments in cases arising from claims that minorities effectively were shut out of local elections, while shielding attorneys from liability if the claims are tossed out.

The law was drafted mainly by Seattle law professor Joaquin Avila, with advice from lawyers including Robert Rubin, legal director for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Avila, Rubin's committee and lawyers working with them have collected or billed local governments about $4.3 million in three cases that settled, and could reap more from two pending lawsuits.
Basically, these two daring entrepreneurs decided to go into the subsidy farming business in California. They push through a law that not only forces local governments to write them fat settlement checks, but also shields them from the consequnces of frivilous lawsuits. Win-Win, for them.

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