Reader Mail

Spilt Coffee

The case against lawyering: an exchange. Plus: Joschka Fischer's man responds. And loads more.

2.27.03

Send to Kindle

GOLDEN ORIOLE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Chucking Estrada:

I am probably one of the very few people who fully appreciate the headline of the article, "Chucking Estrada."

But appreciate it I do.
-- Bill Axtell
American Spectator subscriber since ?

THE BOLDEST PROFESSION
Re: Michael Craig's Hooray for Lawyers!

Okay, I have to admit, the 99.97% of lawyers that are sleaze bags give the rest a bad name.
-- Glen Schorzman
Port Arthur, TX

The damage that trial lawyers have done to industry and, more recently, to medical service is appalling. The common gripe about many of the trial lawyers who play the personal injury field is that they are greedy creeps, who misuse the legal system to add money to their wallets and notches on their guns.

That may be, but I would argue that there is a more harmful effect from their gaming the system: it diminishes the respect for the rule of law.

Compare us to a number of other countries that have copied their constitutions from ours, but which have nowhere near the same level of freedom and protections that we enjoy. It seems that it is not our Constitution or "democracy" that separates us from the third world, but rather it's our respect for the rule of law.

We elect our leaders by a set of laws, and we expect those leaders to uphold all of our laws. We even play a wide range of sports-more so than other countries-according to formal rules, in a make-play extension of our respect for the rule of law. Above all, we expect that those in positions of power and influence will not manipulate laws to gain undue advantage over us, or in spite of us.

It's disturbingly commonplace to hear that our legal system has become a joke. The Menendez brothers and Simpson trials in California; judgments for people who are fearful that they might get asbestosis; breast implant judgments based on junk science; and the judgment for a woman who, through her own carelessness, spilled hot coffee on herself are just some of the legal stories that the public notice and digest. Stories of venue shopping and paying off "witnesses" add to the notion that the legal system can be manipulated quite easily.

Additionally, I believe, rightly or wrongly, that being able to punish another person (human or corporation) in a civil court is a serious flaw in our legal system. Persons should have a right to recover losses, but only the state should have the authority to punish and to receive any fines from such punishment, and that punishment should be judged in a criminal court.

Lawyers who exploit the weaknesses in the legal system and lawyers who ignore such exploitation help to weaken our respect for the rule of law and resultingly help to nibble away at the foundations of our freedoms.
-- Pat Birmingham

Living on de Nile, eh? You are the type that needs to open the mind, but as a reptile-lawyer, that'd be like a dentist boycotting sugar. You forgot to mention the simple idea of changing to the English system, I believe, wherein the loser pays, so if a frivolous lawsuit is lost, well -- can you say pro bono? I say, pro bono forever! Besides, just look at the political landscape -- from local to national, it's, what, 90-95% lawyers. Lawyers are the ruling elite, and they and you know it. The next revolution will resemble the storming of the Bastille, when enough Americans get wise enough about all this, and turn these turncoats out to pasture. You know -- our version of what the Chinese did to their "leaders" in the 1960's, sending them out on the farm to do some REAL work.
-- James F. Crystal

I never met a lawyer that made my skin crawl like this one. A lawyer clamoring for lawyers. Now there's a hot one. Nothing to worry about here, just a little ole' rabid wolf cheering for his fellow meat-hungry buddies. Some woman puts hot coffee in between her legs, spills on herself and bingo, instant millionaire. I'm no fan of McDonald's, but what she deserved is to get slapped, hard, for an hour and a half. As for the lawyer that represented her, drown him in a barrel of hot coffee, along with this parasite, wrapped in duct tape, and sealed with a good hard straight right, in the nose. The Clintons are both lawyers, and we all know how honest they are, right?
-- Brian Barfield

While I do respect lawyers and agree that they must be treated as individuals, I fear that Mr. Craig is mistaken in his assessment that frivolous suits can be curbed by companies refusing to settle. I am chairman of the board of trustees for our local school district and have a responsibility to be very careful with the funds entrusted to our board. We currently have a frivolous lawsuit pending against us and as a board have taken the stance that we will not settle but will instead take this case to trial if need be. This suit has already cost us $10,000 in lawyers fees, not to mention substitute costs for employee depositions. We could probably settle this case for another $10,000. The estimated cost of litigating this case is $50,000.

I can certainly understand why many would choose to save money and settle while they are ahead. The only way that I can think of to halt frivolous suits is for everyone to cancel their liability insurance so that there are no longer any deep pockets for attorneys on contingency fees to probe. Barring that, we need to develop a loser pays system and criminalize the collections of contingency fees. Can you see a doctor saying to a patient, "If I cure your infertility, you can pay me with your firstborn. After that you may keep all subsequent children. If I fail to cure you, you owe me nothing."?

I applaud Mr. Craig for offering to unleash his colleagues on Iraq. Bon voyage.
-- Vicki Law Burger
(And, yes, that really is my maiden name.)

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article