What's the next big litigation frontier for plaintiffs' lawyers? According to an editorial in today's Investor's Business Daily, it's . . . global warming!
According to IBD, "global warming will be the vehicle for the next big litigation lottery," with a potential to "have a far bigger financial footprint" (and payout for "private plaintiffs' lawyers") than the $246 billion tobacco settlement.
Well, maybe, although I confess to being skeptical towards hysterical claims that new parts of the business-sky will soon be falling, courtesy of plaintiffs' lawyers. See, e.g., "Fast-Food Update: Where Are the Promised Obesity Lawsuits?" at Beyond the Underground.
Nonetheless, I did enough research this morning to learn that the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School hosts a useful U.S. Litigation Chart that can be used to determine whether global-warming lawsuits are becoming nothing but a "source of cheap wealth" for plaintiffs' lawyers, as IBD puts it.
So far, as you can see for yourself in the chart (for example, the lawsuits for "money damages"), it's not quite the "naked cash grab" by plaintiffs' lawyers that IBD fears.
But I'm going to keep watching. And that litigation chart is pretty awesome . . .