New York Personal Injury Law Blog » John Stossel, tort reform

 

July 21st, 2010

John Stossel, Hypocrisy Again

The slap the led John Stossel to hire a personal injury attorney and recover a reported $400K

John Stossel is at it again, trashing lawyers. Why? Two reasons:

1. When lawyers shoot back we sound like lawyers. Thus, easy fodder.

2. He makes good money doing it. How? Well, the Fortune 500 companies and conservative “think tanks” have tons of conventions, conferences and trade shows. And speakers are nice to have and can get paid well for it.

Could he be anti-lawyer on the merits? Funny joke, I know, but some will ask anyway. No, he actually confessed in a moment of candor that, while he was a consumer advocate in the past, he makes a lot more dough running around trying to get immunity for corporations. He said once:

In what was perhaps a moment of candor back in 1996, when he was giving a speech to the conservative legal group, the Federalist Society, someone asked Stossel why he had abandoned consumer reporting to bash government and trial lawyers. According to the Corporate Crime Reporter, Stossel replied, “I got sick of it. I also now make so much money I just lost interest in saving a buck on a can of peas.”

In his most recent attack (July 7th, Parasitic Tort Lawyers), he makes this claim, that kids have suffered because playgrounds are safer:

Even when the lawyers do help their clients, they hurt everyone else because fear of their lawsuits takes away many good things: Swimming pools, playgrounds and gymnastics programs close because liability insurance is so expensive. Kids lose their favorite places to hang out in the summer.

Now when I was a kid, there was concrete or asphalt under the monkey bars.  Kids got hurt. It was dangerous. Lawsuits were brought because there were easy, reasonable fixes. Now you see wood chips or mats. We do not have fewer playgrounds today, though we do have fewer serious injuries. And I see plenty of public pools and school gymnastic programs. Stossel is utterly full of it. According to Stossel, safe playgrounds are a bad thing. Up is down. Black is white. And all hail his Orwellian Doublespeak.

And then there is this:

Look at health care. The lawyers claim they punish bad doctors and win compensation for injured patients, and their suits add “less than 2 percent to the cost.”

This is deliberately misleading. The costs are actually less than one percent. Nice job, Johnny boy. And it’s very rare for suits to be brought against doctors to “punish,” they are brought for compensation. Maybe you’d like to pay higher taxes so the public can pay the compensation? No? I didn’t think so. Why not just give the tortfeasors immunity and screw the injured folks? Great public policy that would be, huh?

Let’s have some more Stossel fun. He lets loose with this about doctors and hospitals:

They do surgery on people who may not need it. That’s safer for the doctor, although it’s not safer for the patients.

Stossel may not have noticed it, but the medical profession has a financial interest in doing more surgeries. It isn’t a secret that they get paid more to cut than not to cut, and that doctors have the biggest paydays in America.

The funniest part was his closing, where he tries to attack John Edwards for bringing cases regarding brain damaged infants, and accuses him of self-interest:

“I’m a trial lawyer,” he said. “They turned the word trial lawyer into a four-letter word, and I’m telling you I’m the people’s warrior, and I am proud to be an American trial lawyer.”

And the money is good.

Hee, hee. That was funny. He tries to skewer Edwards because he was a financial success when the reason he himself switched over to corporate defender was because “I also now make so much money I just lost interest in saving a buck on a can of peas.” As a noted TV personality would say, “Give me a break.”

I noted his hypocrisy earlier this year (including his own personal injury lawsuit for getting slapped a couple times by a wrestler, for which he reportedly collected over $400K) in a post entitled John Stossel — You Gotta Love Him.

And so, after yet another attack piece on “parasitic” lawyers, Stossel was filleted by various bloggers. I bring you, without further ado, a few more of those criticisms:

John Stossel – The Wrestler (Jon Lewis)

How Do You Solve a Problem Like John Stossel? (The Pop Tort)

Stossel Calls Lawyers Parasites (Tort Burger – Hold the Reform)

Dear John Stossel: The 7th Amendment & Trial Lawyers Probably Saved Your Life (The 7th Amendment Advocate Blog) – added 8/4/10

60 thoughts on “John Stossel, Hypocrisy Again

  1. Great Post Eric and thanks for the props. I’ve been trying to get a reply from John, but he won’t come out and addres these issues. He doesn’t want serious discourse. He just wants to promote himself.

    Look forward to reading more.

  2. Stossel is probably more of an entertainer than a journalist these days, but there is much truth in what he says.

    Also, you have misrepresented what he says – he does not claim that kids have suffered because playgrounds are safer, he says they are suffering because they now are often missing entirely. Your comment “We do not have fewer playgrounds today, though we do have fewer serious injuries. And I see plenty of public pools and school gymnastic programs” tells me that you really are not paying attention or that the area where you live is really overbuilt already

    Edwards probably isn’t your poster boy for the integrity of trial lawyers (and yes, there are some who have integrity – I even know one or two myself). I wouldn’t waste one breath if I were you defending anything that particular sleezebag did. And to think that he was on the ballot as the VP candidate …

  3. @P W Dennis

    he does not claim that kids have suffered because playgrounds are safer

    Of course he doesn’t say it that way. But guess what? Playgrounds are safer and he’s complaining. Since my kids are school age, I’ve seen my fair share of playgrounds.

    He claims there are fewer. Where is the data? If he can claim there are fewer without backing it up, I can claim he is full of it. Which he is.

    Edwards probably isn’t your poster boy for the integrity of trial lawyers

    I wasn’t defending Edwards or commenting on anything he did. I was criticizing Stossel for being a hypocrite, given the money he makes now as a corporate defender instead of a consumer advocate:
    I also now make so much money I just lost interest in saving a buck on a can of peas.”

  4. I can confidently say that we have five playgrounds within a 10 mile radius of my house, and they are all public. The issue of playgrounds is a crock, and Stossel simply uses that to get people to buy into his unsubstantiated comments.

    He uses Edwards for the same reason. In his interview, he cuts off Geoffrey Fieger because he can’t keep up with him. He can’t call Fieger a liar and cheater so he cuts him off and brings Edwards into it. Had Edwards not cheated on his wife, he wouldn’t even bring his name up in conversation.

    Most of the public does not understand our cost-shifting system, and they don’t care to. If they were in the system, they would have a VERY different view of what we do.

    If the system is so bad, let’s eliminate the tort system entirely. We can kill two birds with one stone: much fewer attorneys and no need for insurance. Who will end up footing the bill then?

  5. Originally Posted By Jon LewisI can confidently say that we have five playgrounds within a 10 mile radius of my house, and they are all public. The issue of playgrounds is a crock, and Stossel simply uses that to get people to buy into his unsubstantiated comments.

    He uses Edwards for the same reason. In his interview, he cuts off Geoffrey Fieger because he can’t keep up with him. He can’t call Fieger a liar and cheater so he cuts him off and brings Edwards into it. Had Edwards not cheated on his wife, he wouldn’t even bring his name up in conversation.

    Most of the public does not understand our cost-shifting system, and they don’t care to. If they were in the system, they would have a VERY different view of what we do.

    If the system is so bad, let’s eliminate the tort system entirely. We can kill two birds with one stone: much fewer attorneys and no need for insurance. Who will end up footing the bill then?

    Keeping up with that slimebag Fieger shouldn’t be that much of a challenge. Next you’ll be telling me that Willie Gary is the epitome of integrity

  6. Playgrounds are NOT safer because of trial lawyers. They are safer because of innovation. Trial lawyers generally don’t help anyone, but themselves.

    We have created an environment where anyone that owns property, invents new products, manufactures a product, or contributes to society, always have to worry about being sued for others actions. It is an environment where people choose to NOT THINK before they do, because “it is not their responsibility”.

    The reason people are hurt by these lawsuits is because they kill future innovation. People will avoid creating new ideas because they may be sued. Doctors will do different procedures to cover their ass (NOT TO INCREASE INCOME).

    I like the “LOSER PAYS” idea. I think it would solve the lawsuits people bring up just to financial destroy someone.

    I don’t dispute that we do need lawyers, but not at the present level. We don’t need lawyers out looking to make up some cases.

    Where does it end? Would you like to see the day when you need a lawyer with you every time you leave the house?

    • Playgrounds are NOT safer because of trial lawyers. They are safer because of innovation.

      And what spurred the innovation?

      The reason people are hurt by these lawsuits is because they kill future innovation. People will avoid creating new ideas because they may be sued.

      I think you’ve just contradicted yourself. You said innovation made playground safer. Now you say there is no innovation.

      People will avoid creating new ideas because they may be sued.

      And yet, oddly enough, companies have done just the opposite, as we see with the playground example, and have innovated to make safer products.

      Doctors will do different procedures to cover their ass (NOT TO INCREASE INCOME).

      That’s quite the sweeping statement. You’ve interviewed all doctors and they’ve all answered you honestly? Did you read this link:
      http://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2008/11/defensive-medicine-or-medical-greed-volume-business-in-liver-transplants.html

      We don’t need lawyers out looking to make up some cases.

      Well, we finally agree on something. And, to the best of my knowledge, every state has laws, rules and sanctions for bringing frivolous suits. And that is a good thing, I think we will agree.

  7. When people are willing to argue that a pulled-out-of-thin-air whopper like the Mysterious Disappearing Playgrounds is true, you know that they’re not interested in facts.

  8. How much money does he make now as a “Corporate Defender”? Other than is journalist gig, his book and his speaking engagements (of which he contributes to charity) who is paying him and how much more?@Eric Turkewitz

  9. Our cost shifting system eventually shifts cost onto the consumer. At the end of the day the cost of premiums from insurance companies paying for businesses legal fees are passed onto the consumer.

    That is because there are two reason why premiums go up. One way is when there becomes an increase in the number and cost of claims presented to them for payment, and the other is when the pool of insured shrink due to such things as job loss or cancellation of policies because of cost. I speak of the first.

    By the way, I love how you cited someone who is apparently a friend of yours as your source on the Birmingham law blog while your friend cites you as a source on his blog. “Circular Reasoning” don’t ya think? @Jon Lewis

    • Our cost shifting system eventually shifts cost onto the consumer.

      Actually, it shifts the costs to the tortfeasor, where they belong. If you give the tortfeasors immunity, then the costs are paid by the taxpayer (that would be you and me) or the victim gets victimized a second time.

      That is because there are two reason why premiums go up. One way is when there becomes an increase in the number and cost of claims presented to them for payment, and the other is when the pool of insured shrink due to such things as job loss or cancellation of policies because of cost. I speak of the first.

      Actually, premiums usually go up when the stock market tanks. Because that is where the insurance companies are really making the money.

    • By the way, I love how you cited someone who is apparently a friend of yours as your source on the Birmingham law blog while your friend cites you as a source on his blog. “Circular Reasoning” don’t ya think?

      I often link to other posts on the same subject. Sometimes those other writers agree with me and sometimes they present an opposing viewpoint.

  10. I like the loser pay system too. But wait a minute, how will tort lawyers make money? I guess they’ll have to stick to prosecuting legitimate claims instead of extorting money out of defenseless entrepreneurs who have the moxy to get up everyday and innovate in a hostile world bent on destroying his or her genius.@Dustin Townsend

    • I guess they’ll have to stick to prosecuting legitimate claims instead of extorting money out of defenseless entrepreneurs who have the moxy to get up everyday and innovate in a hostile world bent on destroying his or her genius

      Ahh, yes, all those defenseless Fortune 500 companies and big time medical institutions. I hear they only send potted plants in to do the defense work.

  11. Are you seriously citing yourself as a source of information for this guy to look up? I wish I could do that when I write reports. It would be alot easier than looking up the information in a book; or at least another online source. @Eric Turkewitz

  12. While I consider Eric a friend and an intelligent individual, we have only met once. We simply agree with the founding fathers of our country and the Constitution. If you were involved in the system, I think you would see that it is not as broken as you think it is.

    Here is an article regarding caps on malpractice claims and the effect on premiums. I know you will say the source is biased, but it has been shown in most states that caps do not lower premiums: http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/8689.htm.

    Caps only hurt legitimate claims. “Frivolous” claims should be capped at $0.00, and the courts do that with various civil procedure rules.

    The loser pays system would be ridiculous. Why? Many clients with legitimate claims would not be able to pay even if they lost. Who determines what is “legitimate”? Would you not agree that you could have a “legitimate” claim but still lose the case?

    Did you know that a majority of lawsuits are between corporations or corporations against individuals for collections. If you do the research, you will find that personal injury claims are not the largest percentage of most court dockets. http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=1799. Is it “frivolous” for the Tennessee Titans to sue USC and Lane Kiffin?

  13. When the stock markets tank, or when the economy goes bad people cut expenses. First expense to go is insurance. When the pool of people they cover shrinks then they raise premiums on the other people who continue to be insured. It also happens when there are increases in claims. That is why young motorists pay higher premiums than older, although they may have no accidents to their name. It is because their group are statistically more likely to file more claimes.@Eric Turkewitz

  14. Ahh!! Yes!! And everyone is a Fortune 500 company. Nope, in fact there is a large swath of American society that are small mom and pop operations who could be devastated by even one frivolous lawsuit due to the time and money involved in prosecuting such cases. Many businesses work on a shoestring budget.@Eric Turkewitz

  15. So you think the tortfeasor isn’t going to change their prices to recoup the cost of litigation? Nice use of a big word like tortfeasor in place of entrepreneur. You’re living in a dream if you think that they don’t defer litigation costs back to the consumer. That is unless you want to set price caps. Then they’ll just pack up shop and leave, or maybe they could go out of business. Which one would you prefer?

    And please stop using the old “Big Corporation” argument. Not everyone is a big corporation. In fact small businesses make up almost 99.7% of all employers and over 50% of all non-farm GDP. @Eric Turkewitz

  16. You’re talking about shorting right? Took me a minute to figure out what you were getting at. As well that wouldn’t put much bearing on the increase in premiums. The money they gain from shorting has to do with their investment portfolio. It’s also a way to pad themselves against losses from decreased insurance revenue by making up for it in the market by betting against the market. It’s kind of like an insurance policy for an insurance company during hard times. I know this because my two fields of expertise just happen to be Finance and Economics.@Eric Turkewitz

  17. @Eric Turkewitz – So you are saying that you use biased personal rants of other people instead of legitimate facts from reputable sources who identify the methods by which they obtained their information by using the “Scientific Method” to gather data. Did I hit the bullseye on that one?

    I don’t care if they concur with you or oppose you. As long as it is biased and edited information like the edited Stossel quotes you posted in this article then I can be certain that your views are based off of little more than “The Court of Public Opinion”.

  18. So are you saying that lawyers innovate? That’s the only way he would be contradicting himself in this argument. Otherwise he makes a valid point. You guys really are full of yourselves, huh?@Eric Turkewitz

  19. Excuse me I didn’t exactly get the argument right. I guess that’s what happens when you read into something too much. Whoopss!!!!

    However, he still hasn’t contradicted himself by mentioning that it kills off future innovation. As the guy states past and current innovation have made things safer but that people like you are killing off the possibility of future innovation. I think what he said was pretty self-explanatory but in case you didn’t get that then I’m here to clarify. Isn’t that nice of me?@mythago

  20. Excuse me I didn’t exactly get the argument right. I guess that’s what happens when you read into something too much. Whoopss!!!!

    However, he still hasn’t contradicted himself by mentioning that it kills off future innovation. As the guy states past and current innovation have made things safer but that people like you are killing off the possibility of future innovation. I think what he said was pretty self-explanatory but in case you didn’t get that then I’m here to clarify. Isn’t that nice of me?@mythago

  21. I’ve never mentioned anything about caps. I am speaking of frivolous lawsuits and the number of lawsuits is not the issue. Even if it is 10 frivolous lawsuits it is 10 too many.
    As well, if the person who sues doesn’t win then they always have the option to appeal the case. If they win on appeal then they wouldn’t be the loser now would they? However, if their case was never strong enough then they esssentially would be gambling. Companies could also buck up and attempt to countersue for any damages they might’ve incurred at the expense of the person who originally took suit. That means more business for the lawyers, yeah!!! You should like that idea Jon, shouldn’t you?@Jon Lewis

  22. David – if you have statistics on the percentage of files you believe to be ‘frivolous’ let us know. Not every case that results in a defense verdict is frivolous. There are often ambiguities in the law, and different judges (or even the same judge)can decide two different ways when presented with the same facts.

    But to avoid all cases that might lose, we should just give up on civil law until we have a crystal ball that will inform us who will win lawsuits in the future. If you commence a suit the crystal ball says will fail, there you go – ‘frivolous’. Or, perhaps we give up on the whole civil law thing and make negligence a criminal offense. Or give up on the law altogether and go back to dueling and blood feuds.

    By the way, David, few small businesses that can not afford a lawyer are worth suing.

    Lastly, on innovation – lawsuits do not halt innovation. Can you name even one instance? The consciousness of safety that you decry encourages innovators to develop products that are safe to use. If someone develops a new product that is poorly designed and contains dangerous defects, would you use it without adequate safeguards or warnings? Why?

  23. @Tom H – No, we don’t need a crystal ball. We just need competent judges, clearly written laws, and the right to appeal cases that are not found in our favor if we so believe that we truly have a case (The last one we already have a right to do). If the case is still not found in favor of that person then they pay.

    Also, there is no clear way to drum up statistics on frivolous lawsuits since the
    idea of a frivolous lawsuit is subjective.

    sub·jec·tive   /səbˈdʒɛktɪv/ Show Spelled[suhb-jek-tiv] Show IPA
    –adjective
    placing excessive emphasis on one’s own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric.

    I put the definition in there in case you didn’t know what subjective means.

    However, we can use individual cases, such as the woman who sued McDonald’s because she spilled hot coffee on herself, as a clear example of what my point is about.

    Also, I’ve never been against safe products. I’ve been against lawsuits thrown at companies that contain no merit. If the suit has merit then by all means sue. Only an imbecile would not want safe products.

    By the way, I’ll name an instance where lawsuits halt innovation when you can name me a time lawsuits created innovation. Can you name one instance?

  24. I’ll start at the bottom and work my way up.

    Lawsuit encouraging innovation – http://www.cargill.com/corporate-responsibility/pov/smith-lawsuit-settlement/index.jsp (food manufacturer seeks innovation in food safety after a consumer sues the company for personal injuries sustained as a result of food poisoning). Your turn.

    Your personal opionion of “lawsuits thrown at companies that contain no merit, your opinion of the moral validity of the McDonalds coffee lawsuit (which a jury of US citizens determined to be valued at over a million dollars and a judge
    Reduced the verdict substantially), and the objective recitation of the definition of the word “subjective” – these all fit together nicely.

    As to the point that frivolity is subjective, if we can not write an objective rule it is not a clearly written law to be enforced by our competent judges.

    By the way, using the English rule will only be to the detriment of the small business owners and businesses you seek to protect. The very rich and the majority of the population of the US, which have no substantial assets will have nothing to lose (almost literally). They can, respectively, pay the legal fees or be judgment proof. Only those in the middle, with enough assets to pay a legal fee judgment, but not enough to absorb the loss, will be hurt. So they lose under either rule, American or Engllish. I sort of like the Canadian rule, although I reserve judgment on it until I learn more about its application.

  25. The lawsuit didn’t create innovation. The people who were sued created the innovation. As well, how do we know that this innovation would not have happened regardless of the suit. I understand that because of this issue it has become a more pressing matter to the company, but as your article states Cargill has been working on the problem of food contamination before, during, and after the suit. Was the lawsuit necessary to compensate the victim for her loss. Yes. Did it create innovation. No!!!!

    Lawsuits in themselves cannot create innovation. They can only address that there is a problem and redress those grievances. Entrepreneurs create innovation. However, you fail to address the point made. Although Cargill was the one that was sued those costs can easily be passed onto the consumer thus hurting their pocketbook at the store. I have already addressed in previous blogs about how the cost shifting system shifts costs onto the consumer and will not redress the issue again.

    As well small businesses, regardless of whether they win their case or are found culpable, are the losers. This is due to the fact that they still are on the hook for legal fees.

    I am not seeking to protect businesses. I understand that this is a foreign concept to people who believe you have to either be for or against business. There are many businesses out there that commit acts of fraud and deserve to be sued. However no business, small or large, should have to pay the penalty for someone elses attempt to appropriate their funds through false litigation. As well, no individual, rich or poor, should be subject to the same situation. That is in essence what I am getting at.

    It is the notion of who’s to blame, not who’s got the deepest pockets. There are some businesses that deserve to be raided for their injustices to the people around them. However, not all of them.

    I do not understand why there is a problem in American society in distinguishing between the good guys and bad guys. Instead we tend to choose sides and propagandize against the other.

    Again I state that I am not about protecting small, medium, or large businesses. I am about protecting who’s right.

    By the way, check out this article about a man who snuck into the whale tank at Sea World and died. Did the subsequent lawsuit create innovation at Sea World?

    http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/21/science/park-is-sued-over-death-of-man-in-whale-tank.html

    • Lawsuits in themselves cannot create innovation. They can only address that there is a problem and redress those grievances.

      And part of acting to redress those grievances is innovating so that it doesn’t happen again. That’s why we drive safer cars today than in our parents’ generation and why our kids play on safer playgrounds than we did.

  26. @Tom H
    Stereotyping all businesses as good or bad is wrong. As well, stereotyping all lawyers as good or bad is also wrong. We are a society of individuals, and as such should be afforded the right to innocent until proven guilty. But apparently many find that idea a waste of time.

  27. @David– There is this idea of magic money that needs to be squashed in American culture before it takes root and makes us into another Weirmar Republic. Then everyone will need wheelbarrows instead of wallets to go buy a loaf of bread.

    Money in the U.S. is a representation of our GDP. The more we produce, versus money in circulation, the more we can buy on a per dollar basis. Money only represents goods and services provided. Before money we bartered. The sole purpose of money is to streamline the business process. You cannot add value to money without adding products and services to the market. Lawsuits cut back on the efficiency of how money is used and thus create a negative drain on the economy. Suits do not create value to the economy since no tangible good or service were produced in the acquiring of those funds. With that said sometimes lawsuits are a necessary evil.

    If you want to read more I have a good book on money and credit written by nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman.

  28. And as I’ve said before the lawyer did not create the innovation. The lawyer was not in the factory workshop figuring out how to make the product safer. However, as I said before, the lawyer did bring to light the necessity for said innovation. With that in mind I will give credit. However, not all safety features work or are necessary. For example, the safety caps on bottles of medicine. I’ve been able to open those when I was seven much easier than my parents could. Yet I am the one who’s not supposed to be able to get into them. So why do we have those safety caps if they don’t work?

    Because the law says so and if you do have those caps on there then it is harder for people to sue when their kids get in the medicine cabinet. Its about the business trying to protect themselves from lawyers trying to make money off of lawsuits. If the lawyer can’t find a fault then they can’t sue is the logic of the day. So instead of spending their time building new and wondrous projects, entrepreneurs spend their time trying to pad themselves from possibility of lawsuits that may end up being no fault of their own. For instance, with Toyota and their supposed braking problem.
    a href=’#comment-5083′>@Eric Turkewitz –

  29. And as I’ve said before the lawyer did not create the innovation. The lawyer was not in the factory workshop figuring out how to make the product safer. However, as I said before, the lawyer did bring to light the necessity for said innovation. With that in mind I will give credit. However, not all safety features work or are necessary. For example, the safety caps on bottles of medicine. I’ve been able to open those when I was seven much easier than my parents could. Yet I am the one who’s not supposed to be able to get into them. So why do we have those safety caps if they don’t work?

    Because the law says so and if you do have those caps on there then it is harder for people to sue when their kids get in the medicine cabinet. Its about the business trying to protect themselves from lawyers trying to make money off of lawsuits. If the lawyer can’t find a fault then they can’t sue is the logic of the day. So instead of spending their time building new and wondrous projects, entrepreneurs spend their time trying to pad themselves from possibility of lawsuits that may end up being no fault of their own. For instance, with Toyota and their supposed braking problem.

    @Eric Turkewitz

  30. I know lawyers took away my being able to enjoy a diving board when traveling. They do not exist at any motel pool anywhere I have ever been.

    So for me. eff lawyers.

  31. Now you’re resorting to character attacks to prove your arguments. I thought you were an attorney who used objective reasoning to come to a conclusion. Not attempts at character assasination.
    That is a low blow coming from a smug, self-righteous, elitist. And don’t lecture me about doing the same tactic as you in my previous sentence. I’m merely showing this as an example of how low blow insults have no place in debate and tend to marginalize the discussion at hand.
    Just because an honest, hardworking person like the previous blogger attempts to relate to you an instance of where a small part of the quality of his life has changed due to frivolous lawsuits you contend that he must be a beer drinking, pick-up driving redneck. All of this just because when he travels he either can’t afford or does not want to spend the money to stay at a Hilton. Take that silver spoon out of your mouth and stop looking down your nose at others.

    P.S. Please don’t tell me a story about the struggles you’ve had to overcome to justify yourself and attempt to relate to real people. I have no patience for sob stories because either your story will be a lie or you have removed yourself so far from real people that you have forgotten what “Main Street” looks like. Also, I’ve noticed you stopped replying to my arguments. Thank God I make sure to click notify me of followup comments whenever I post. @Eric Turkewitz

    • Now you’re resorting to character attacks to prove your arguments. I thought you were an attorney who used objective reasoning to come to a conclusion. Not attempts at character assasination.

      The only characters impugned are those who allowed the Pinto be made while containing a dangerous gas tank, to save a few bucks. It is one in a long line of dangerous products that were pulled from the market place due to lawsuits, and having corporate greed and shenanigans exposed.

      Just because an honest, hardworking person like the previous blogger attempts to relate to you an instance of where a small part of the quality of his life has changed due to frivolous lawsuits you contend that he must be a beer drinking, pick-up driving redneck

      Personally, I like beer:
      http://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2009/04/boston-marathon-drinking-beer-kissing-wellesley-women-and-abstract-journeys.html
      And the Pinto wasn’t a pick-up but a compact. So I have no idea where you are drumming up your ideas from. The subject you were offended about is dangerous products, of which the Pinto is legendary.

      Also, I’ve noticed you stopped replying to my arguments.

      I’ve been waiting for you to make a good one. But I responded here anyway.

  32. Not that Mr. Turkewitz needs my defense, I am sure he is entirely capable, but only to get an outsider involved to mediate a little –

    I think there has been a misunderstanding.

    I believe that the “Pinto” reference had nothing to do with implications of “beer drinking, pick up driving red necks” but a reference to lawsuits against Ford Motor Co. about the design defects of the Pinto (a hatchback not a pickup) which caused it to burst into flame in rear end impacts.

    Once the design flaw was pointed out to Ford, they stopped making cars with that design and started making cars with safer designs. So, I believe the argument goes, the trial lawyers made the world a little bit safer for you and me and, it can be argued, Ford would never have changed its design without some reason to.

    What I think is shameful, is that all of the diving boards are gone. That is cowardice by the hotel industry. Just get better diving boards. Just like Ford made a better gas tank/car design.

  33. BTW, the design flaw was not just “pointed out.” Ford was sued and stood to lose both money and good will (and thus sales) when its design flaw was exposed. That is what made them change. Otherwise there is nothing to say you would be driving a Pinto style POC today.

  34. I’m sorry. I forgot that the Pinto had a dangerous gas tank and was not considering that this is where your argument was leaning towards. However, I have given you ample argument but I guess since it does not conform to your doctrine of “Businesses are always out there to hurt the consumers and lawyers are the greatest thing on the earth”, then you probably didn’t read them. I cannot argue that the Ford Pinto’s design was not flawed.
    However, you never addressed Bob’s concern over diving boards. Instead you chose to ignore it and change topics. Why?

    • However, you never addressed Bob’s concern over diving boards.

      He mentioned motels. As you likely know, the heyday of the motel was the 50s and 60s when they sprouted up around the country during the post-war boom. I stayed in tons of these places as I’ve driven around the country. Just like so many other baby boomers. Many of the motels had pools. And diving boards. I used to have contests with my brothers at these kinds of places as we tossed pennies in the pool and then tried to pick up as many as we could.

      But that doesn’t mean those boards were safe, even if you and I emerged unscathed. Some pools were too shallow, or the deep zone wasn’t big enough for someone that dove far. There are people in wheelchairs that will attest to this.

      Unsafe boards were yanked out. Pools with safe boards remain.

      Pretty much like everything else. If something isn’t reasonably safe, there is a duty to act.

      … it does not conform to your doctrine of “Businesses are always out there to hurt the consumers and lawyers are the greatest thing on the earth

      I presume you got this from some other blog, because you never read that here.

  35. By the way I’ve never seen a hotel, motel, or B&B on either the east coast or west coast with a diving board in the pool. I guess it was easier not to take the risk than to invite a lawsuit whether justified or not.

    • By the way I’ve never seen a hotel, motel, or B&B on either the east coast or west coast with a diving board in the pool.

      Probably because the older pools aren’t deep enough or large enough to be safe. Let’s face it, to be safe you need a deep, dedicated diving area. And that is expensive to build. Most folks who use hotel pools want to either splash around with the kids to keep cool or swim laps.

  36. But you said that “pools with safe boards remain.” But where? Isn’t there a possibility that even if the pools had safe boards that it was safer for the owners to just remove the boards versus being sued. You know, proactive measures and all. You never know how or why somebody would sue you until they do. Isn’t it better to try to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit?

  37. David, I don’t know who you are, but all I can picture is a wall with Eric and I beating our heads against it. You will not understand our system until you are unfortunately put in it. No one does.

    I had a relative call me today. She was in a wreck Friday because a kid ran into her after running a stop sign. She said, “I’m not the kind to call an attorney and get involved in a legal claim, but my neck has been killing me all weekend, and I have to go to the doctor, etc.” My response, “all my clients say that.”

    No one wants to get involved in legal claims, but they are necessary as part of our structure.

    You will continue to have your position on this issue until you need an attorney, and at that point, you MAY change your mind.

  38. @Jon Lewis – I don’t believe that I’ve ever stated that attorneys aren’t necessary. As long as humanity has disagreements or violates the rights of another there will always be a need for attorneys. My issue comes not from what attorneys do right but from when they will not admit to doing wrong. I have often seen the letter of the law used to violate the spirit in which that law was intended.

    Also, have you ever thought to consider that maybe I have the same opinion of you that you have of me? Constantly beating my head against a wall to try to get you to notice the other side to the argument?

    You seem to believe that I don’t understand your side of the issue. By all means I do, and in half of the cases I agree. I also understand that you are defending that position out of the need to justify yourself and your profession. No one wants the nobility of their life’s work trampled on.

    However, when we fail to acknowledge and understand the other side of the issue, or the uintended consequences of our actions, we fail to make the best decisions for us or society.
    I understand that no one wants to believe that what they are doing maybe wrong. Most of the time our hubris would not allow that to happen. Justification is a powerful tool in helping the conscience turn a blind eye to misdeeds.

    I enjoy these debates and hope to continue the arguement.

  39. David, attorneys are trained to look at both sides of the issue. I can only speak for myself and my practice. I’m not arguing to justify my profession. If we want to do away with the tort system and insurance companies, I will go find something else to do. I believe I’m qualified.

    Where have you seen the “letter of the law used to violate the spirit in which that law was intended?” That’s easy to say and hard to justify. What misdeeds?

    As I have always said, there are good and bad apples in every industry. The legal profession is no different than any other profession.

  40. I saw a 70 year old grandmother have to go on probation because she slapped her 18 year old granddaughter that was stealing money from her. I understand that legally she was not supposed to do that, but doesn’t something seem wrong with that. I know you are going to tell me of what the law requires, however I’ve seen prosecuting attorneys turn a blind eye to what the law requires regardless of the mounds of evidence.

    I understand the letter of the law prescribed that she be prosecuted for assault. However, was justice really performed?

    I understand that my question is subjective and depends on your personal view. Do you view the law as a set of prescribed rules like a set of instructions from “IKEA”, or do you see that law as a guideline for helping to make ethical judgements?

    By the way this is not a second hand account. I was in the courtroom that day and I listened to the grandmother and granddaughter’s testimonies.

  41. Also, if you are trained to look at both sides of the issue then why does your writing only show one angle. Maybe attorneys are trained to do that but even attorneys are human and human’s seem to view the world through their own personal biases. Present party included. Maybe a refresher course in objective reasoning is on the agenda?

    • Also, if you are trained to look at both sides of the issue then why does your writing only show one angle. Maybe attorneys are trained to do that but even attorneys are human and human’s seem to view the world through their own personal biases.

      David:

      If you look at the category of legal ethics, you will see plenty of posts where I address things that lawyers have done wrong. You should not assume I simply jump to the defense of lawyers.

      I think I do a pretty good job of maintaining objectivity.

      You have to remember that one of the most important jobs of someone that does a lot of med mal work, is that you have to learn how to reject 95 – 98% of the inquiries. If you lose your objectivity and take bad cases you go bankrupt.

  42. The case you referred to does not seem to be an attorney issue. It seems to be a judicial one. There are issues with judges as well.

    The problem is not that I don’t see both sides of the issue. The problem is that the arguments against attorneys have gone too far. Look at my posts. I have questioned all of the lawsuits against BP in light of the $20 billion fund they set up. I think you should have to proceed through their process and be denied before you can file a lawsuit. While their fund is not a formal governmental agency, it is quasi, and administrative law states that you must exhaust your administrative remedies before proceeding with litigation. Consequently, until parties do that, the only reason I see for the litigation is for attorneys to profit, and I disagree with that.

    When I speak about these issues, I speak about current cases and issues I’m dealing with which do not seem just. People don’t understand what they have to go through when they have a wreck which causes whiplash. Car repairs, doctors, therapy, etc. all because someone else wasn’t paying attention. What is that worth? To many jurors, not much until it happens to them, and then, they want the moon. However, the medical profession and insurance companies have made a concerted effort to keep their money and lessen the amounts recoverable by the injured victims. This has been a coordinated effort.

    In any event, I think I’m VERY objective when it comes to these matters. And, as Eric astutely points out, we turn down MANY more cases than we accept.

  43. Why are you talking about attorney issues verus judicial issues. I am speaking about the letter vs the spirit of the law. I made no reference as to whom to pass blame on.@Jon Lewis

  44. Thank you. I do see your point about needing to maintain objectivity over what claims to accept. It would be pretty hard to make a living if you took on anything.