If I’ve learned anything from my Republican friends, it’s that trial lawyers are ruining the country. Junk lawsuits with little or no merit, malpractice suits that push good doctors out of work, and litigation against business, the result of which increases costs for all of us. Just ask Senator Trent Lott (R-MS):
“The Democrats seem to think that the answer is a lawsuit. Sue everybody.”
– Sen. Trent Lott, 7/20/01
“I’m among many Mississippi citizens who believe tort reform is needed.”
– Sen. Trent Lott, 5/8/02
“You know, obviously we should [enact tort reform]…Someday it will happen, and the sooner the better.”
– Sen. Trent Lott, 1/24/01
“If their answer to everything is more lawsuits, then yes, that’s a problem, because I certainly don’t support that.”
– Sen. Trent Lott, 8/2/02
“It’s sue, sue, sue… That’s not the answer.”
– Sen. Trent Lott, 8/4/01
Suing isn’t the answer… That is, unless you’re Trent Lott:
“Today I have joined in a lawsuit against my longtime insurance company because it will not honor my policy, nor those of thousands of other south Mississippians, for coverage against wind damage due to Hurricane Katrina,” said Lott, R-Miss. “There is no credible argument that there was no wind damage to my home in Pascagoula.”
What a douche bag!
A guy who took a lot of hits for being a trial lawyer is Sen. John Edwards. He made his name in North Carolina’s courtrooms by winning verdicts and negotiating settlements for regular people hurt by the actions of others. When Republicans attack trial lawyers, I like to think of the folks Edwards has helped:
In 1993, a five-year-old girl named Valerie Lakey had been playing in a Wake County, N.C., wading pool when she became caught in an uncovered drain so forcefully that the suction pulled out most of her intestines. She survived but for the rest of her life will need to be hooked up to feeding tubes for 12 hours each night. Edwards filed suit on the Lakeys’ behalf against Sta-Rite Industries, the Wisconsin corporation that manufactured the drain. Attorneys describe his handling of the case as a virtuoso example of a trial layer bringing a negligent corporation to heel. Sta-Rite offered the Lakeys $100,000 to settle the case. Edwards passed. Before trial, he discovered that 12 other children had suffered similar injuries from Sta-Rite drains. The company raised its offer to $1.25 million. Two weeks into the trial, they upped the figure to $8.5 million. Edwards declined the offer and asked for their insurance policy limit of $22.5 million. The day before the trial resumed from Christmas break, Sta-Rite countered with $17.5 million. Again, Edwards said no. On January 10, 1997, lawyers from across the state packed the courtroom to hear Edwards’ closing argument, “the most impressive legal performance I have ever seen,” recalls Dayton. Three days later, the jury found Sta-Rite guilty and liable for $25 million in economic damages (by state law, punitive damages could have tripled that amount). The company immediately settled for $25 million, the largest verdict in state history. For their part, Edwards and Kirby earned the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s national award for public service.
I’m sure it would have been easier for John Edwards to take a small settlement, collect his percentage, and leave the Lakey’s to figure out how to make ends meet. But he didn’t. If Edwards is a greedy trial lawyer, we need more like him.
If you’re interested in meeting the guy, he’s going to be in town this weekend promoting his new book.
4326 University Way, NE
Saturday, December 2 at 1:30 p.m.
Hope to see you there!
(This is my first post here at HA. I’d like to give a big ‘thank you’ to Goldy for passing the megaphone and allowing me this opportunity. Read more at my blog, Washington for Edwards.)