Honest Lawyers

That is no oxymoron. Most lawyers are honest, but the system of litigation they work in is not. That is why most people smile a little when they see the adjective honest near the noun lawyer. How can we make the system more honest and less prone to abuse by the minority of dishonest lawyers and their lobbyists?

The first step is very simple. Make the loser pay the reasonable legal fees of the winner - especially if the loser is the instigator of the suit. Personal injury lawyers passionatley hate this idea - it would cut into their profits - and for many years have actively lobbied & managed to keep the reform at bay. That is one reason they contribute millions of dollars to political candidates and campaign so actively for their favorites. Lawyers like to call making the loser pay reasonable legal fees the “English rule” to imply that our cousins in the UK have kept this quaint custom. In fact, almost all of the world’s democracies have some variation of the loser pays rule. It just makes sense. If someone drags you to court on a silly case, you aleady have to put up with the time and irritation. Maybe your opponent should at least have to pay a little if he loses.

Going to court is usually a bad thing. At least one person doesn't want to be there and it takes coercion to bring him. Every law suit is a negative sum proposition, i.e. the total amount lost by one of the litigants exceeds the total sum won by the other and that is why it always depends on coercion.

In almost all other forms of human agreement, both parties feel that the transaction made them better off; otherwise they would not have entered into a voluntary agreement. These are positive sum propositions, since the total amount of satisfaction available exceeds the amounts both parties put in it.

There are definitely times when we need to enforce the law. Maybe somebody makes an agreement, but then conditions change or he finds something he likes better and tries to weasel out. Or maybe one pays up front and the other tries to avoid doing his part. In a well established system, the law rarely needs to be applied, but it must remain in the background to ensure proper behavior.

But these good laws can be abused. Lawyers can sue for almost anything and if the lawyers and their client are rich and aggressive enough, they can intimidate people into paying them off. It is a form of extortion. There was a recent case in Washington DC of a local judge suing an immigrant couple who owned a laundry because he claimed they ruined his pants. He sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He ultimately lost, but the immigrant couple almost lost their business protecting themselves from this pirate.

I have been a litigant in at least four class action cases. I never understood how I was harmed and I got nothing when “my” lawyers won. They were just using me like a prop, like those stand ins standing behind the political candidates. They wanted to extort money from the firms involved and it worked.

Loser pays is a good rule. It doesn’t mean that the loser must pay extravagant defense costs – the assessment is reasonable costs - and the judge would always have the option of not awarding court costs. It would mean that ordinary citizens would have some peace of mind knowing a predatory lawyer could not threaten their homes, businesses or savings with impunity and at no cost.

Think about this. If you are involved any sort of volunteer activity, such as a homeowner association or even a park clean up crew, are you confident that you are legally covered? Are you sure that even if you think you have done nothing wrong that you are safe from litigation? Or how about this thought experiment, if you got a notice in the mail from a lawyer suing you for something you had no involvement in doing, would be afraid?

We should not have to be afraid to live life. Doing reasonable things should not put us at risk of financial ruin. Let’s take the first step in taking back our peace of mind. Make it harder - or at least less profitable - for ethically challenged lawyers to rob us. Reform this system.

Posted by Jack at April 10, 2008 7:40 AM
Comments
Comment #250212

There is a simple solution.

All that is required is to fine the loser and/or the loser’s attorney if the suit is frivolous, and the fine would be limited to N.N times all court costs and the opponents’ legal fees (where N.N is determined by the judge and/or jury).

Not all lost law suits are a result of frivolous law suits, and some plaintiff’s are misled by some attorneys.

Thus, some judgement by the judge and/or jury is required on a case by case basis.

Some will argue that this hurts the little guy, and discourages them from filing suits.
Good!
That’s the idea.
Also, since the judge and/or jury can determine the N.N factor, they can also set the size of the fine accordingly to discourage frivolous law suits despite any persons’ wealth (similar to the judges’ option that currently allows judges to determine punishment and a range of fines based on the ability to pay).

Posted by: d.a.n at April 10, 2008 10:28 AM
Comment #250218

Tort reform is not reform at all, but the attempt to reduce damages so that they lack punitive strength. In the end, the better alternative is that companies shape up their act.

Successful lawsuits, in the absence of good regulation, are the last remaining way of people getting together and saying, “You know that thing you were doing that was causing people harm? Don’t do that.”

If lawsuits aren’t that painful, why do what it takes to avoid them?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 10, 2008 11:18 AM
Comment #250224

Stephen

YOu do not have to do anything wrong to be the target of predatory lawsuits. If you DID something wrong, you would probalby lose, in which case the rule would not help you.

The law is not a place for entrepreures. The law is coercive and negative sum. It should be used as intended - to regulate what we cannot achieve through voluntary agreement.

So you miss the point. If the suit is justified (i.e. they win or a judge determines they deserve a break) they do not pay. Only the unjustified attack is punished.

I personally worry about law suits. I do not do anything to deserve it (at least not on purpose) but we see what lawyers can do.

We had to take down a kids playground because we feared a lawsuit. I have to keep my last posted “no trespassing” I would not mind if people used my land (as long as they didn’t break anything) but I cannot let them for fear of lawsuits. When you hike in Colorado or the Appalachian trail, there are places you can no longer go because the owners are afraid of lawsuits. We should take back our freedom from the predatory lawyers. Make sure that the person who does nothing wrong, or even one who makes an honest mistake, doesn’t lose his life savings.

Posted by: Jack at April 10, 2008 12:12 PM
Comment #250231

Honest Lawyers??????????
99% of the lawyers give the other 1% a bad name. :)

The winner can collect their legal expense now. In most state they have to petition the court for them. And the courts around here usually award them. Specially if the winner is the defendant.
According to my what my lawyer told me one time 98% of the time the plaintiff ask for court cost in the original suite.

Posted by: Ron Brown at April 10, 2008 12:49 PM
Comment #250232

Tort reform involves more than simply making he loser pay (or fining the loser and/or the attorney).
It also includes limits on awards to the plaintiffs, which is something I oppose.
Limits on damages are not for the courts to predetermine.
However, fines for abusing the legal system does fall in the courts’ domain.

It is probably impossible to make a law for every abuse or practice that is unethical, but there are too many frivolous law suits and there is something fundamentally wrong with some attorneys that make exorbitant, lottery-type awards from some law suits; especially by capitalizing on others pain and misery, which drastically reduces the awards to the plaintiff (i.e. in some personal injury suits).

That is, is it ethical and fair for an attorney to receive many millions as a percentage of an award that equates to many thousands of dollars per hour in compensation?
Obviously, that sort of thing provides a motivation that gives rise to more frivolous law suits and abuses.

For example, a few years ago, every neurosurgeon in Washington D.C. had been sued for medical malpractice.
How likely is it that the nation’s capital has ONLY bad neurosurgeons that are all truly guilty of malpractice?
And we wonder why health care is unaffordable?

It appears more likely that the legal system is being abused by some opportunistic, greedy plaintiffs and their lawyers.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 10, 2008 12:55 PM
Comment #250235

Stephen et al,

Face it, the law is a joke! mAmerican jurisprudence is a farce!. From personal experience I know that the Golden Rule definitely applies in courts in many jurisdictions. As a reporter, I saw perversions of justice that could be the basis of many, many TV miniseriesw.

Here in eastern Kentucky, the justice you receive, in many cases, depends on how much money you have or which family you belong to. Two defendants, accused of identical crimes, vehicular homicide under the influence, both found guilty. One is sentenced to 10-15 years, the othe 5 years and probation for 2. The difference, one belonged to a prominent family, the other to a poor family.

You want “ethical” lawyers? Check out the Fen-Fen case. The lawyers involved are in jail, waiting trial on charges of bilking their clients out of millions of dollars. Or, watch TV and count the number of ads for law firms soliciting business.

Sometimes, I think Shakespeare had the right idea: “First we kill all the lawyers”. Or the story about President Grant who had ridden a long way in a driving snowstorm. He arrived at the courthouse and walked in. One of the men gathered round the stove asked him how things were. He replied: “Just like Hell, all the lawyersw closest to the fire.”

Posted by: Old Grouch at April 10, 2008 1:38 PM
Comment #250244

A minor glitch. If a lawsuit is frivilous it is supposed to be thrown out. The lawyer may be sanctioned. That is current law.

Tort reform IS a facade for more Golden Rule law.

The myth is that there is a large industry extorting money from wealthy entities. Well, there is. It isn’t because there aren’t any torts. It’s because in the headlong rush to greedily reap profits, running over little guys is standard practice. The courts are tilted in favor of the wealthy as it is. The trickle of wealth to tort lawyers compared to the flood of wealth to greedy capitalists is a joke.

Tort reform isn’t the punch line, it’s just another punch in the face of the little guy.

Posted by: googlumpugus at April 10, 2008 3:35 PM
Comment #250245

Forcing the loser to pay attorney’s fees and, possibly court costs, is a bad idea. It creates an inequity in the system between the haves and the have-nots. It means that if you cannot afford to sue you will not, regardless of the merits of your complaint. It would serve to protect monied interests from those who have little, even if the party with little in the way of assets has truly been harmed.
Does a lawsuit have little or no merit? Is it frivolous? Then the plaintiff’s lawyers should simply bring a motion to the court early in the proceeding to dismiss on those grounds. If the claim is dismissed then, end of problem, if it is not, then there is a reasonable basis for a claim and it should go forward.

Posted by: Charles Ross at April 10, 2008 3:44 PM
Comment #250249

Henry VI, Part II[IV, 2] Dick the Butcher 2379
The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. deom http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/

There are so many people in law school right now, that if they all graduate and pass the bar, we will be knee deep in lawyers, and suing eachother for stepping on eachothers toes. For every lawyer admitted to the bar, one should be removed.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 10, 2008 4:16 PM
Comment #250250

A violates law and hits B with vehicle. A’s insurance says, under law we will pay for your out of pocket expenses. B suffers soft tissue damage and pain for months before healing properly and cannot afford to quit work to speed the healing. A’s insurance says pain and suffering aren’t mandated by law therefore, if B want’s compensation, B will have to take A’s insurance to court.

Judges dockets are overloaded especially with drug use and abuse and sale cases and domestic violence, so they have a vested interest in dismissing as many cases as possible. Pain and suffering cases are an easy target to dismiss, because the insurance lobbyists will contribute to the judge’s reelection but, the B likely never did.

Where can just compensation for having one’s life, health, and well-being turned upside down by a careless driver be achieved without affordable attorneys to represent B against the predispositions of the elected judges and lucrative lobbying insurance companies?

Conservatives tend to side with any legislation that would deprive B of compensation or even redress for pain and suffering. Liberals tend to side with the injured party in such legislative matters.

Whatever happened to American’s sense of just compensation and equal protection under the law. There is no equal protection under the law between the wealthy insurance corporation underwriting judge’s elections, and the parent suffering to continue working with torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles in order to continue housing and feeding her/his children.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 10, 2008 4:20 PM
Comment #250252

David, I think you get into a difficult subject when you claim that judges, because of contributions to election funds, are somehow biased toward their contributors. It is rare that sitting judges ever lose a bid for reelection, if they have all of the contribution money in the world or none. People have to have a reason to vote against a judge who already holds his judgeship. Motions to dismiss a lawsuit are rarely brought in a courtroom and once made are rarely granted. The reason is that a process has to occur before it ever reaches a courtroom: a claim must be made to the plaintiff, lawyers hired, perhaps court ordered arbitration. When the poor sue the rich and it manages to reach a court proceeding it is usually long past the time of deciding whether or not the suit has merit. It’s there and it’s going to be decided.

Posted by: Charles Ross at April 10, 2008 4:42 PM
Comment #250260

David, Your’re right. The legal system is dysfunctional, and the abuses abound due to the usual causes: greed, selfishness, irresponsibility, corruption, bought-and-paid-for judges in the pockets of big insurance companies and corporations, and out-right lawlessness.

And if “A” has no insurance, or crummy insurance, and no money, “B” has little or no recourse.

Even if “B” sues “A” and gets a judgement, there is little that can be done to force “A” to pay. Thus, lots of judgements are never paid.

“A“‘s insurance should pay for “B“‘s property damages, and medical bills, for permanent injuries, and pain and suffering due to permanent injuries that may need lifelong treatment (up to the policy limits; which are typically $50K to $100K in Texas).

However, we know that many insurance companies deliberately deny claims, and try to wear out and wear down the claimant, “B”.

And unless “A“‘s policy limits are high and/or “A” is wealthy, few (if any) attorneys will take the case (especially on a contingency basis).
Thus, the damaged party (“B”) must spend a lot of money to pay an attorney to sue “A”, with the possibility of never recovering those costs.
And the legal system has been so severely over-complicated (like the tax system), that it makes it difficult for an individual to represent themselves in court.
And small claims is only good for small damages (e.g. about $4000).

I was once hit (about 30 years ago) by an uninsured 18 year old teenager passing at 50 mph in a no passing zone and hit the left-rear side of my car when I turned left.
Luckily, my injuries were minor, but my car was totaled, and since I only had liability, I was out of a car (which I still owed money on).
I now carry full coverage since there are lots of uninsured motorists on the road.
Especially in border states such as Texas, where millions of illegal aliens don’t have drivers’ licenses, much less insurance.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 10, 2008 5:17 PM
Comment #250261

“because the insurance lobbyists will contribute to the judge’s reelection but, the B likely never did.” “There is no equal protection under the law between the wealthy insurance corporation underwriting judge’s elections” Posted by: David R. Remer at April 10, 2008 04:20 PM

As my hero Ronald Reagan would say, “There you go again.” Blame insurance companies for bribing judges. Talk about influence, how do you feel about the American Bar Association and their contributions to Democrat coffers to keep the frivilous suits and the many ridiculous class-action suits going.

Let me see if I understand this correctly. A lawyer is just fine, in your opinion, with his lobby taking donations from him/her to influence legislation that favors his/her profession. Then, the lawyer is elected to a judgeship and now the judge is beholding to insurance companies for his/her reelection and suddenly becomes an opponent of the ABA and corrupt. Do I have that right? Lawyers only become corrupt when they become judges…what a concept.

Posted by: Jim M at April 10, 2008 5:25 PM
Comment #250262

Legal reform should be part of any universal health care package.

I lived in Europe for awhile and experienced heath care there. The most dramatic time was when I got hit riding my bike. The care I got was good, about the same as I would have gotten at the County Hospital in Milwaukee. The big difference was the law angle.

For getting hit by the car, I received actual out-of-pocket expenses. They paid for my bike, my torn up clothes and the medical bills not covered by the state medicine. You could not collect on “pain & suffering”. Although I smashed up my knees (they still sometimes hurt after 15+ years) I received nothing for that, since I did not earn my living with my legs. The implicit bargain is that you do not need/get additional payments since the health care system is responsible for any future medical bills.

So if we could really get a European style health care system, that also eliminated 90% of the law suites related to heath as a collateral benefit, I think it might be worth it.

I fear we will keep the lawyers and just hand the taxpayers the bill.

Posted by: Jack at April 10, 2008 5:33 PM
Comment #250276

Jack, my knees hurt, too. I never was hit by a car. I’m just old. Get used to it.

Posted by: googlumpus at April 10, 2008 10:16 PM
Comment #250277

So, Jack, what if you hadn’t been able to work? Too bad?

There are different circumstances in every case.

Posted by: womanmarine at April 10, 2008 10:37 PM
Comment #250279

While I do not think lobbyists bribe judges or lawyers, significantly, Legislators are a different story:

http://www.publicintegrity.org/Content.aspx?src=search&context=article&id=462

http://www.tpj.org/page_view.jsp?pageid=899&pubid=662

Posted by: googlumpus at April 10, 2008 10:50 PM
Comment #250280

d.a.n.,
You should be happy to know that Texas has now implemented a data base that police can use to run your tags to see if your insurance is current. (It’s in the process of being implemented)

Posted by: googlumpus at April 10, 2008 10:53 PM
Comment #250283

Womanmarinee

If I had not been able work, I would have gotten the difference between my salary and the state pension. I think. I am not an expert on Norwegian law in that respect. But you just do not get those million dollar payouts.

The authorities told me that if I used my legs more in my work - for example if I was a basketball player, I could get more.

The whole idea of the universal care related to this case is that the universal care takes care of you, so the need for a lawsuit payout is mitigated or elmininated. It is the good part of the system.

Googlumpus

I know about the old thing. It is a particular pain that I got at that time. Of course, you have pointed to a problem with all law suits. People often honestly believe that the act for which they are suing caused things that might just be natural.

Posted by: Jack at April 11, 2008 12:33 AM
Comment #250286

Jack:

So still an income. My point. Something needs to be fixed here.

Posted by: womanmarine at April 11, 2008 2:21 AM
Comment #250289

Womanmarine

Our system currently allows for such damages. I do not propose eliminating them. If we had a national health insurance, however, we would be able to reduce awards significantly. That is one of the benefits. If we limit payouts to actual losses and those losses are mitigated by the health care system, it should cost less. This is not the main subject of this post, however.

My post is mostly to address law suits that have little value. They are the ones done on speculation. If there is no cost to threatening a law suit, some crooks will use it as a form of extortion, as we see happening.

Posted by: Jack at April 11, 2008 4:51 AM
Comment #250291

I notice that no one here seems to be addresing the fun of being on the wrong side of a lawsuit. and I am no corporation,evil or otherwise.
5 years ago,my mother had a fender bender. A year later Mom passed away. In the meantime,the guy she hit wanted the full insurance payout,and eventually tried to tie up my Mom’s estate in full. After several years of screwing around,it was put to arbitration,or whatever,by a dis-interested lawyer. He said the guy gets nothing. Nothing.
But it cost me my grand in legal fees to defend .
Stephen,I hope you someday have the pleasure cause”If lawsuits aren’t that painful, why do what it takes to avoid them”? Spoken like someone who has never been sued. Or a Liberal trying to spread the wealth.
as a postscript,if the guy who sued needed 5 grand to avoid a painful,debilitating,and ultimatly fatal disease,and only I could help,I would have looked down on him on his deathbed,and,with a smile said “Kiss my a..”.

Posted by: t-bone at April 11, 2008 5:28 AM
Comment #250303

So, Jack, a rich guy kidnaps a teen girl, subjects her to all manner of brainwashing and deprivations to eventually make her compliant to his ultimate fantasies. But, he is busted before she becomes compliant, and she is set free. Do you really believe that girl is not entitled to pain and suffering? What if her capture was for 3 months? How about her entire 16th year of life?

You think this guy should be entitled to immunity from suit for pain and suffering caused, using it instead to minimize his sentence for kidnapping, first offense caused by consumption of Prozac?

The concept of insurance is to make the damaged party whole. Compensation for pain and suffering that would not have otherwise been experienced, or pain and suffering caused by exacerbated precondition, are part and parcel of making a victim whole, to the extent possible.

A person loses a kidney to disease when young. Then they are involved in car accident, other person’s fault, that causes unrepairable damage to the remaining kidney and the victim dies. Are you suggesting the Insurance Co. should be allowed to argue that the most they owe for is a damaged kidney, but not the death, because the death was caused by a precondition of having only one kidney?

Nothing about the topic of insurance and pain and suffering is anywhere near as black and white as people who have not been involved in the insurance or legal defense side of the issue on a daily basis think. The concept of justice is at play and lies at the root of this discussion. The insurance concept of making a person whole, meaning as if the loss had not occurred, comes directly from the concept of justice.

Are we to dispense with justice for expedience, simplicity, and protecting wealthy interests from compensating those they, or their clients harm, intentionally or negligently?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 11, 2008 11:05 AM
Comment #250304

JimM said: “Talk about influence, how do you feel about the American Bar Association and their contributions to Democrat coffers”

Sounds like a force creating an equal and opposite reaction, to me! Reduce the force, and you reduce the equal and opposite reaction. See how simple that was. Basic principles, gotta love ‘em.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 11, 2008 11:09 AM
Comment #250305

Charles Ross said: “David, I think you get into a difficult subject when you claim that judges, because of contributions to election funds, are somehow biased toward their contributors.”

It is a difficult subject because corruption is rampant in some states where judges are elected, and reelected with enough contributions to diminish any challengers. Texas is one such state. Was a time just a few miles from where I live, the corruption was so bad, that the judges and police of a nearby municipality targeted out of towners for speeding while locals speeding set the pace for out of towners to get busted. The entire municipality was enriched by the this system that eventually made national news for its corruption. This was several decades ago, but, the corruption in Texas courts and government continues with its election system for judges, which favor locals over outsiders, and wealthy over poor, in extremely predictable fashion.

To say the campaign contributions don’t influence judges is like saying money doesn’t motivate baby sitters to care for the baby. It certainly does, and always has, and always will. Money, is given freely to family out of generosity, but, nearly everywhere else money changes hands, goods or services are being purchased.

Try revoking the tax breaks for charitable giving to see just how charitable all that giving is. Money buys goods and services. Campaign funds for judges buys varying degrees of protection and favoritism for the interests of the donors. Yes, there are limits to how far a judge will go in favors and protection, but, then the campaign donations are limited as well.

There is no escaping this fundamental and universal understanding of money and its use, especially in the realm of politics. Look at how the Clintons reacted to Richardson’s endorsement of Obama, and that was based on loyalty. Imagine the reaction if the Clinton’s had invested money into Richardson’s previous election? Consideration is considered contractual by most, even when the terms of the contract are best left unspoken. (A value shared by organized crime and politicians).

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 11, 2008 11:25 AM
Comment #250383

David

In your kidnapping case, what if I poor guy does it? In your legal world, you should hope somebody with the big bucks does the crime. in the real world, the poorer half of the population does most of that sort of thing.

Crime is for the justice system. I am concerned mostly with civil law. I am reasonably certain that I will never commit a serious crime. I am not at all sure I will never be sued by an opportunistic lawyerl

Returning to your example, it is very unfair if victims of people w/o assets are treated worse than victims of those who have them. Under your system, the girl who suffers at the hands of someone w/o much money (i.e. most of the cases) gets nothing.

Beyond all of that, making lawyers accountable for their lawsuits (loser pays) would not apply in the case you refer to, since the girl would presumably win.

Re money in politics - unfortunately you cannot avoid it. George Soros has promised something like $40million to smear John McCain. He will NOT be contributing to anybody else, just going negative with near impunity. Democrats love campagain finance reform - until they have money.

Consider Obama with piles of money, no longer interested in publicly financed elections.

And Obama makes piles of money from the lawyers and lobbyists (something like $15 million so far), since we are on the subject.

It just sucks. I don’t know what to do about it and neither does anybody else.

Posted by: Jack at April 12, 2008 1:42 AM
Comment #250384

Police officers will decide if you are wrong. They will arrest you and take you to jail. You will release a sum of money to gain your freedom reguardless of the curcumstances.

In court, the judge will say “a breathalizer doesn’t mean anything” when it proves innocence. A judge will say “alcahol affects people differently” when the accused pleads innocent.

A judge will sentence you because you could have caused an incident. He will sentence you on prima facia bigotry.

When you are found to be innocent, court costs suddenly become processing fees.

How could a person trained in this environment resist taking advantage of this environment?
It’s an environment too good to be true!

I live in a town that has 3200 people, two grocery stores and five lawyers. Do the math!

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 12, 2008 1:44 AM
Comment #250387

By the way, It’s been controlled by Democratics my entire life.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 12, 2008 2:03 AM
Comment #250388
For example, a few years ago, every neurosurgeon in Washington D.C. had been sued for medical malpractice. How likely is it that the nation’s capital has ONLY bad neurosurgeons that are all truly guilty of malpractice?

I refer to it as Prima Facia Bigotry.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 12, 2008 2:12 AM
Comment #250390

Jack said: “Beyond all of that, making lawyers accountable for their lawsuits (loser pays) would not apply in the case you refer to, since the girl would presumably win.”

Jack, no case can be presumed before trial. You should know better than that. And because no case can be presumed, a poor family struggling to make ends meet as it is, will not likely sue at all even though they KNOW they have been egregiously wronged.

The net effect of loser pays will be that those with modest means or less won’t even try to obtain justice, because of the opponents lawyer is better, cleverer, or quicker, the family stands to become destitute should they lose. Nice! A legal system that caters to the wealthy and denies the unwealthy through threat of bankruptcy should they lose, even if they their case is valid and demanding of justice.

Only a Republican would think of this kind of class warfare through the legal system.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 12, 2008 3:31 AM
Comment #250391

Weary Willie, some good points. I highly recommend backing medical courts with the authority and expertise to dismiss frivolous malpractice suits, and fine those bringing them for second attempts. Our conventional courts are not educationally equipped to do so with any degree of accuracy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 12, 2008 3:34 AM
Comment #250393

********’s passing will soon bring a sibling rivalry, facilitated by lawyers.
Should we refer to that as “generation warfare through the legal system”?
Who is looking out for the Individual, Mr. Remer?

No one is looking out for the individual.

What’s up with that! Mr. Remer?
Is there some sort of vague notion everything must remain the same? Must all remedies be for the current ailment, or the current objective?

Are you worshiping a one-hundred-yearold flower because it has killed everything around it?

Posted by: pfclarue at April 12, 2008 3:57 AM
Comment #250414

pfclarue asked: “Who is looking out for the Individual, Mr. Remer?”

ACLU
The Constitution Society
Common Cause
PFAW
The Libertarian Party

and a host of others with cadre’s of lawyers dedicated to protecting the individual.

Perhaps you should consider supporting one or more of these organizations of lawyers working and fighting on your behalf whether you are aware of it or not.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 12, 2008 1:13 PM
Comment #250452

The English Rule just sounds like a horrible idea that would limit the usage of courts to only the very wealthy. It’s BECAUSE of how crooked the system is that we can’t possible have the English Rule.

For some reason, Jack, you keep assuming that you would never be the one filing a lawsuit. Can you not think of a single situation where you would ever want to sue someone? I find that hard to believe.

Take a simple situation that happened to me recently. I cleared out a bunch of weeds and small weed trees that were inside of my legal property easement near the property line with a neighbor. She went ballistic and sent us threatening emails and phone calls for several days. Although we verified with the city that we were within our rights to cut them down, she said they ruined her back yard because those trees were the source of shade for her back yard.

Now what would have happened if she took revenge and slashed our tires, killed our cats, set our house on fire, threw paint on our garage, or cut down all the new lilacs that I planted in place of the removed weeds?

Could we sue? Of course we could, but I have ZERO faith in civil courts. With the English Rule in place, all it would take is a clever lawyer arguing for her in court that her emotional state was harmed, quality of life destroyed, or property value diminished. And BOOM, she wins! So now I’ve been badgered by this psycho woman, she harmed me with her acts of revenge, AND now I have to pay her legal fees? Are you kidding me???

What if I’m in Wal-mart and get hit in the head by a hammer thrown by an employee that was goofing off? What if I’m brain-damaged and cannot earn income for the rest of my life? What are my chances of winning a lawsuit against Wal-mart’s lawyers? And to add to that, if they do manage to come out ahead, I would then have to pay THEIR legal fees?

I know you mean well, Jack, but come on! You’re been extremely naive. There are at least two sides to every case. Stop assuming that every civil suit is frivolous. You never know when you will be the wronged and are just looking for your money back, your hospital bills paid, or lost wages paid.

Posted by: Bryan W at April 13, 2008 6:35 AM
Comment #250453

Jack said:

“Returning to your example, it is very unfair if victims of people w/o assets are treated worse than victims of those who have them. Under your system, the girl who suffers at the hands of someone w/o much money (i.e. most of the cases) gets nothing.”

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Remember, Jack, the justice system, in the eyes of liberals, is just another institution that can (and should) be used to transfer wealth from the rich to the poor. They always seek to use every institution this way, with no exceptions.

In their eyes, the “poor” are always the wronged and the “rich” are always guilty of something horrible, so it’s perfectly legitimate to use the courts to take from the rich and give to the poor, regardless of the circumstances.

Liberals cannot fathom any environment where one may get wealthy while another does not. In their minds, this can only be caused by corruption, oppression, or luck. Once that is established, then it only natural to seek out “justice” forever by punishing the rich and rewarding the poor.

They will use every institution and instrument at their disposal to force everyone into exactly the same living conditions. This is their mission, and you can’t possibly argue with them on any matter until you accept this.

Posted by: Bryan W at April 13, 2008 6:57 AM
Comment #250454

David said:

So, Jack, a rich guy kidnaps a teen girl, subjects her to all manner of brainwashing and deprivations to eventually make her compliant to his ultimate fantasies. But, he is busted before she becomes compliant, and she is set free. Do you really believe that girl is not entitled to pain and suffering? What if her capture was for 3 months? How about her entire 16th year of life?

You think this guy should be entitled to immunity from suit for pain and suffering caused, using it instead to minimize his sentence for kidnapping, first offense caused by consumption of Prozac?

The concept of insurance is to make the damaged party whole. Compensation for pain and suffering that would not have otherwise been experienced, or pain and suffering caused by exacerbated precondition, are part and parcel of making a victim whole, to the extent possible.

—————————————————————

How shocking that you’d make the rich guy the villain and the poor girl the victim.

Your examples, as usual, are cartoonish at best, and don’t deserve much analysis. But let me flip this around for you to better represent what actually happens in the real world.

A group of young, poor, crackheads kidnap a middle-class girl and keep her locked up in their basement for 4 days where they brutually gang-rape her, molest/sodomize her with anything they can find, and physically and mentally torture her continuously. Naked, bruised, bleeding, and partially blind, she manages to escape and seek help from a neighbor. Yes, this happened in Minnesota just a few years ago.

So how is this MIDDLE-CLASS girl going to be “made whole” in your world? Hmm? Any ideas? Since you’ve already taken over the entire justice system and flipped it on its head to be used as a wealth transfer instrument, your civil courts can’t possibly provide justice here, can they? The way you liberals have destroyed this institution, it now can’t be used when the perp has few assets. Only if this girl were victimized by someone “rich” can she ever been made whole?

I know a family personally in SC that just recently lost 5 family members in a traffic accident when hit by a drunk illegal with no license and no assets. Had they been hit by a drunk rich guy, they would have been instant millionaires, but because the murderer was poor, they had to take out a 2nd mortgage just to pay their funeral costs.

Sounds like a really fair system of “justice” you so heavily promote. I congratulate you and your fellow liberals for your coup-de-tat of the entire justice system and turning it inside-out to be used to implement all your social projects.

Now if we can just find something to use to right the criminal and civil injustices…

Posted by: Bryan W at April 13, 2008 7:26 AM
Comment #250455

Simple solution: never vote for Republican, ever, again.

Posted by: sean at April 13, 2008 8:25 AM
Comment #250458

David replied to Jim who said,


JimM said: “Talk about influence, how do you feel about the American Bar Association and their contributions to Democrat coffers”

with the following:

Sounds like a force creating an equal and opposite reaction, to me! Reduce the force, and you reduce the equal and opposite reaction. See how simple that was. Basic principles, gotta love ‘em.

But David, which is the force and which is the opposition. Seems that you have taken an entire system and reduced it to the simpliest components of it to make a point that supports your previous one. Am I wrong?

Posted by: Rob at April 13, 2008 10:27 AM
Comment #250513

Bryan W

You seem to have a criminal case against your neighbor, so indeed it does not belong in the civil courts.
Most of the world has something like the English rule. I don’t think the rule of law is significantly degraded in Europe.

Posted by: Jack at April 14, 2008 9:39 AM
Comment #250521

It appears to me that the general consensus of this blog is to leave the system alone - because there are so many different types of injuries, finical difficulties,tort laws,etc.

That does not solve the problem - that merely leaves it as is!

My daughter, an HONEST lawyer,(a DA, not a tort lawyer) and I were discussing this very matter some months ago.

We both agreed that in order to put a stop to frivolous lawsuits, only one thing needed to be done. Chose 3 lawyers,(on a rotating basis) who would be paid a low wage by the counties,or other means,(see suggestion below) and allow them to decide whether a case has merit.

This is essentially the same idea as a ‘Grand Jury’ on a much smaller scale.

This would free -up our judges. The lawyers would have to face their equals, (reputations become questionable),the ‘Grand Jury’ would not be able to talk about the cases,(confidentiality), nor could they join in on the lawsuits they hear,and because of the low wages, the lawyers would not want to mess with the stupid ones for long.

Payment could be made by the losers of the cases brought forward. By rotating the lawyers around, everyone would be affected and become irritated by those who bring these silly cases up.

Posted by: Linda H. at April 14, 2008 11:09 AM
Comment #250540

Linda..

Just one question..

Who exactly is going to take this “low” paying job after all the expenses they paid just to get through school? That is the problem that Canada has with it’s doctors…they go through school and then turn around and get jobs in America so they can actually get paid enough to pay back their student loans.

Posted by: Traci at April 14, 2008 1:54 PM
Comment #250551

Linda H

who gets to pick the lawyers ? seems like the one week link. maybe as a member of the bar you could make it like jury duty, a mandatory service, that way you get a good mixture of opinions. of course if it was like jury duty, the best usually find a way out. then what are you left with ? ;)

Posted by: dbs at April 14, 2008 4:38 PM
Comment #250724

Traci and dbs,

It rotates - perhaps one week at at time, or one month - depends on how many cases there are. Of course they can still handle their own cases while they participate.

All the lawyers in the surrounding areas would be required to serve. There would be no getting out of it. The pay is merely a hedge in case someone cries foul, and says they are losing too much money or that another is making more money than the other.

Equal pay for equal time.

Hopefully by making it mandatory, it would help to dissuade these frivolous lawsuits, because those that pursue them would earn the ire of their fellows lawyers.

Posted by: Linda H. at April 16, 2008 3:25 PM
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