Feds Paid Billions in Settlements Last Year: U.S. government lawyers gave out more than $3 billion in taxpayer money in 2011 to settle lawsuits against the United States, Jenna Greene reports. The sum is more than double the amount handed out in 2010, and the biggest in at least five years.
Much Ado about Discovery: The addition of discovery to proceedings that review the validity of issued patents is expected to lead to fights over the scope of discovery, Sheri Qualters reports. The new patent reform law added discovery to the proceedings.
Part-Time Law School Losing Allure: Karen Sloan reports on the declining number of part-time law students. "Part-time programs are very closely tied to the economy," said Jon Garon, a professor at Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law. "In a good economy, people are willing to try something new. But unless we see a robust economy in the next five years, I think a number of schools will look at the cost of their part-time programs and choose to deploy those resources elsewhere."
An Affidavit to Remember: ShawnCoulson is being pulled back into a case involving former client PowerTrain Inc. after the boutique international law firm settled a $2.2 million fee dispute in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in August 2009 with the company, Zoe Tillman reports. PowerTrain owner Oneal Wood now is looking for sanctions against the affiant, who wasn't a party in the case.
Another Citizens United?: Corporations are looking for the U.S. Supreme Court to set limits on a law for torts committed abroad in violation of international law or U.S. treaties, Marcia Coyle reports. Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., which involves the Alien Tort Statute, is scheduled for argument on Feb. 28.