|Miles W. Lord|
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota|
1981 – September 8, 1985
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota|
April 28, 1966 – July 1, 1985
|Appointed by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||Dennis F. Donovan|
|Succeeded by||James M. Rosenbaum|
November 16, 1919 |
Dean Lake, Minnesota, U.S.
Miles Welton Lord (born November 6, 1919) is a former federal judge, appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota by President Lyndon B. Johnson on February 10, 1966 to fill the vacancy left by Judge Dennis F. Donovan. He served as chief judge on the district court from 1981 to 1985 and retired in September 1985. He then practiced law in Minnesota, but has since retired.
Lord was born in Dean Lake, Minnesota; he received his Bachelors Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1946, and his law degree from University of Minnesota Law School in 1948. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1944 to 1945, and served as an Assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota in 1951. He became Minnesota’s Attorney General from 1955 to 1960 and a full U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota from 1961 until his appointment to the Federal bench in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson.
He lives in Chanhassen, Minnesota. His son, the late Jim Lord served in the Minnesota State Senate and as Minnesota State Treasurer. He also has a daughter, Priscilla Lord Faris, who ran against satirist Al Franken, in the Democratic Party primary in 2008, for the Senate seat held by Norm Coleman. Miles Lord, Jr. (Mick) served as a top assistant to State Auditor Robert W. Mattson, Jr. and later managed the business affairs of the Miles Lord & Associates law office. Mick Lord died April 12, 2012.
Lord had been called an activist judge. His critics accuse him of using the law as a means to make corporations pay for the damages caused, both directly or indirectly, to people and to the environment.
In his first landmark and historic decision in 1973, when the Reserve Mining Company' s processing plant at Silver Bay, Minnesota was dumping 47 tons of waste rock into Lake Superior every minute, Lord ultimately forced Reserve to stop dumping the pollutants, taconite tailings. In the Reserve Mining decision, Lord said, "This court cannot honor profit over human life."
Later, he pursued the A. H. Robins Company for malpractice in issuing the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device, which was on sale from 1970 to 1974 and caused at least 18 deaths and thousands of injuries (350,000 women have claimed injury). The trial was for the injured, as he felt the deaths were too hard to "pinpoint the responsibility".
|“||The whole cost-benefit analysis is warped. They say, well you can kill so many people if the benefits are great enough. Then they can take the benefits and circulate them through the given industry, they circulate them through the oil company, through the gasoline station, through the garage, the hardware store, the drugstore, the shoemaker, the grocery store, and if they don't have enough statistics there they just circulate them through a bunch of other businesses. Once they put a price on human life, all is lost. Life is sacred. Life is priceless.||”|
What made this case remarkable judicial and corporate world was Lord's rebuke to the corporate heads, holding them personally accountable. To settle seven lawsuits, he made Robins' top three executive sign a $4.6 million settlement agreement and personally held them liable. The company ended up paying more than $220 million in compensation and $13 million in punitive damages to thousands of plaintiffs.
Because of his decisions in the Robbins case, a judicial review panel met to determine if there were errors on his professional and judicial conduct. Lord was cleared of wrongdoing, and went on to serve another year until his retirement.
Joseph A. A. Burnquist
|Minnesota Attorney General
- Engelmayer, Sheldon D. (September 22, 1985). Lord's Justice : One Judge's War Against the Infamous Dalkon Shield (New York Times Review). New York: Doubleday Publishing,. ISBN: 0385230516. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- Mintz, Morton (1985). At Any Cost: Corporate Greed, Women, And The Dalkon Shield. New York: Pantheon.
- Abstract: Morton Mintz (January 15, 1986). "A Crime Against Women: A.H. Robins and the Dalkon Shield". Multimedia Monitor 7 (1). – Includes full text of presiding judge Miles Lord's statement to Clairbone Robins, et al., at bottom.
- Reviewed and summarised by: Tamar Lewin (January 12, 1986). "What Standards For Corporate Crime?". New York Times.
- Federal Court Biography, accessed 11 Feb 2007.
- Miles Lord Attorney (Law Offices of Lord & Faris) webpage, accessed 11 June 2013.
- MN Public Radio "Miles Lord remains an activist"
- "Judge Miles Lord: Still mining the case"
- Time Magazine, The Classic Case, Monday, May. 06, 1974
- An interview with Lord
- Time Magazine, “A Panel Tries to Judge a Judge”, Jul. 23, 1984, By MICHAEL S. SERRILL
- “AROUND THE NATION; Panel Dismisses Action Against Federal Judge”, December 27, 1984