Sunday, September 30, 2007

“See You in Court, Buster”

Thanks to the suave and sophisticated LN for this story.

There’s a state senator in Nebraska with an obviously fine legal mind. He is using this great mental sword to make sure that the current American mood regarding lawyers — i.e., they make way too much money on frivolous lawsuits — doesn’t get written into law:

Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers has a new target these days: God.
Ernie Chambers
Chambers filed a lawsuit in Douglas County Court Friday afternoon. However, Chambers isn’t suing God because he has any kind of beef with the deity. He says the suit is to fight possible laws restricting the filing of frivolous lawsuits.

There are those (usually to the left of us at Gates of Vienna) who say the majority of frivolous lawsuits don’t originate with individual citizens, but are overwhelmingly corporate conflicts. Here are a few examples:

The single factor most clogging the judicial system is frivolous litigation brought by corporations against corporations, which don’t involve independent trial lawyers at all. For example,

  • John Deere went after a competitor for using the same shade of green that Deere paints its tractors.
  • Gillette sued Norelco, claiming its ads for a new electric razor were “false and deceptive” because they depicted non-electric razors as “ferocious creatures.”
  • Nabisco sued Keebler over the latter’s claim that its chocolate-chip cookies contained 25 percent more chips than Nabisco’s.

Each of these cases is more representative of the true problem of frivolous litigation.

However, the blogger making this claim has his own spin:

…because they involve a Republican constituency-business-rather than a Democrat constituency like trial lawyers, tort reform advocates don’t mention them [the corporate civil suits].

This attitude regarding tort law seems to be in a minority. Many people think that tort reform is long overdue:

An elite group of greedy trial lawyers are exploiting the legal system for their own gain. The balance has tilted too far and all of us pay more for goods then we need to and have fewer products to choose from due to manufacturer fear of exploitative lawsuits.

This is why we need civil justice reform in this country; to restore the proper balance and confidence in the system. Fewer and fewer Americans view the civil justice system as fair and just. A recent poll commissioned by the Institute for Legal Reform found that 67% of Americans believe that lawyers benefit most from the current class action lawsuit system.

The system was not intended to benefit lawyers, and yet 2/3 of Americans believe that is exactly who benefits most from the current class action lawsuit system. Undoubtedly, these two-thirds of Americans make decisions everyday — consciously or subconsciously — based on this lack of confidence in the civil justice system. That is bad for freedom. That is bad for economic prosperity and the pursuit of happiness. And, finally, it is bad for our great experiment in self-government.

As a reflection of the national attitude, there are many thousands of lawyer jokes loading down email boxes in this country. An attorney I know and admire, and one who is far to the left of me (she works for the non-profit, government subsidized organization, Legal Aid), collects these jibes. She’s a salaried attorney whose clients are the very poor — those who cannot get representation in court against landlords, bosses, etc. Her experience has generated a fine contempt for the mega-rich attorneys like John Edwards, who has made a killing in tort law, even as he plays his broken record about the “Two Americas” — the selfish rich and the deserving poor. A man with a 29,000 square foot home piad for by his share of the take on large civil suits, and who built his presidential campaign on helping the poor -- seeing them as vicitms --simply has no sense of irony. But if you’re a Democratic contender, that’s part of your socialist platform and you deviate from it at your own risk.

Nearly everyone running for President is personally wealthy, Democrats and Republicans alike. However, the Dems are stuck with their statist Keynesian New Deal heritage. So they have to keep mouthing platitudes and never admitting that their programs have produced a huge metastasizing underclass in this country — a problem that didn’t exist before President Roosevelt’s Band-Aids on the Depression, or the unintended but deleterious consequences of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. Poverty, with its attendant widespread deviancy and degradation, definitely won that battle. But the Dems still hang on, pretending otherwise, and proposing more “reforms” on top of the damage they’ve already done.

Here are a few favorites from my friend at Legal Aid:

Q: What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 12?
A: Your Honor.
if you’ve sat through a few cases in this country, you might think this IQ# is generously high for many of our judges — D.
- - - - - - - - -
Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and a herd of buffalo?
A: The lawyer charges more.
but you still feel run over — D.

Q: What do you call a lawyer gone bad?
A: Senator
That’s why we seldom elect Senators for President in the US — D.

And finally, this:

God decided to take the devil to court and settle their differences once and for all. Satan heard this, laughed and said, “And where do you think you’re going to find a lawyer?”

Here is an image of the first page of state senator Ernie Chamber’s suit against God. May the best person win. While the deity is not an attorney, He may still have the moral edge in this case.
Chambers vs. God

Finally, a song from Al Stewart sums up the national feeling about lawyers and tells you why so many of them grow to hate their jobs:

He walks into the room
He’s got a briefcase like a bomb
A smile on both faces
And he calls it aplomb
He wants a bite of your apple
Hands you back the peel -

He’s fresh out of law school
He’s got a license to steal…

When he offers his advice
You can guarantee
For several hundred dollars an hour
He will see
Just how many complications
Your life will reveal -

He’s fresh out of law school
He’s got a license to steal…

He’s an ambulance chaser
A waver of papers
He loves to mix with the movers and shakers
He’s taking from them
He’s taking from you
Lawyers love money
Anybody’s will do (Just take it)
He’s poking his nose
Into people’s despair
When tragedy strikes
He will always be there
Looking so cool
His greed is hard to conceal -

He’s fresh out of law school
You gave him a license to steal…

We’ve got seven hundred thousand
Attorneys at law
Nobody can tell me what we need them all for
We should throw them in chains
Chastise and rebuke them
If that doesn’t work
We should take them out and nuke them
Blow a lawyer to pieces
It’s the obvious way
Don’t wait for a thesis
Do it today
Take him to the court
Of your final appeal

When you’re fresh out of lawyers
You don’t know how good it’s gonna feel…

Lawyer jokes left in the comments will be most appreciated.

By the way, Al Stewart’s “License to Steal” is on his CD Last Days of the Century. Done with a rock ’n’ roll back beat, it makes a fine song for aerobic exercise. At the very least, it will increase your endorphin levels.


hank_F_M said...

The trial will be before Judges Celle DeNye and DeLay and the plaintif is going to use the distinguished law firm of Dewey Cheatam and Howe?

None the less I think there is a good case in of Defense of Medical Malpractice Law Suit Abuse

Dymphna said...


Went over to read your post (a v. good one, though sad), but it wouldn't open the comment section. I'll try later.

I have had a # of situations in which I could have sued for damages -- the last one being the anesthesiologist involved in my surgery in August. But I figure that's bad karma, at the very least.

Instead I went to the Patient Advocate and explained what had happened and asked to hear how they would change procedures in the future to avoid a similar outcome. I got a detailed letter from administration explaining their new training and apologizing for what happened.

If only more hospitals/doctors would do that. But their lawyers won't let them.

I changed my mother's doctor when she was given a prescription for penicillin for an h. pylori ulcer. On her chart in big RED letters, was "NO PENICILLIN."

We're lucky aren't we -- just change doctors and be done with it.

In the case of Paul Belien's grandfather...well, I think even in this country the elderly get short shrift unless they specifically go to a doc who specializes in geriatrics. It is as different a practice as pediatrics.

THat was a sad story.

Profitsbeard said...

How lawyers were ever allowed to serve in Congress, since it is a clear conflict of interest (making the very laws that will benefit them personally & financially) is one of those legal quandries that I can find no redress and no one or way to sue about.

"99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name." -Rodney Dangerfield, Esq.

hank_F_M said...
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hank_F_M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
X said...

So lawyer jokes... this is an old one but it always makes me laugh.

A group of international 'militants' of unknown origin have hijacked a coach carrying several lawyers to a conference in Blackpool. The group have said that they are going to release one every hour until their demands are met.

And then there's this one...

A man is walking down the street when he sees a lawyer getting out of his car. The lawyer, yapping away on his mobile phone, opens the door of his car right in to the path of a huge truck, which smashes off the door and his hand with it. The lawyer leaps from the car, screaming obscenities at the truck, just as the man comes running over.

"Are you alright?"
The lawyer turns and looks at the man. "No I'm not! That car will cost me fifteen grand to fix! Perhaps I can sue the truck company."
"But it didn't just take off the door..." the man said.
"You're right, where's my phone?"
"No, I mean look at your hand."

The lawyer lifts up the bleeding stump that used to be his hand and stares at it in horror. "My watch!!"


What are you aiming at, dear saint D?
Are you afflicted with some momentary confuse?
"Suave" and "sophisticated" are in now way descriptive words
applicable to me - perhaps they are to noble you
in your elevated position in the vicinity of the allmighty?
Keep to reality - spare your sophistication to those who are easily impressed.
With reference to me, rude, dumb, coarse and callous are the words to use.

Mrs. EntryReqrd said...

Here are a few lawyer jokes from a recent email.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you? WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shittin' me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh.... I was gettin' laid!
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Are you shittin' me? Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?
And the best for last:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No. ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

mikej said...

Q: What's black and tan and looks good on a lawyer?

A: A Doberman.

I was once a "beneficiary" of a class action suit, being the owner of a Chevy pickup truck with a side mounted fuel tank. You might remember that a falsified news story about this case, in which model rocket motors were used to create a fiery crash for the cameras, caused Diane Sawyer's departure from Dateline NBC. So she just slid over to ABC, where falsifying a story is, apparently, no big deal.

GM's settlement offer was a coupon purportedly worth $1000 toward the purchase of a new GM truck. Presumably, the self-appointed plaintiff's attorneys expected to collect 40% (typical contingency fee) of the face value of the coupons. Clearly, the suit was of no benefit to anyone but the shysters who filed it.

If I had any say in the matter, I would not only prohibit class action lawsuits, but also hang any lawyer who has ever filed one.

Dymphna said...

oh, Lord, gringo_malo, here we are agreeing again. Makes me nervous.

Prohibition of class action lawsuits is a capital idea...but what I really want to see is the hanging.

Considering I try to buy cars less than a thousand dollars (too many deer around here, waiting to commit suicide), I don't know if your "reward" would've done me any good.

We occasionally get sniffer emails from shysters who want us to join a class action on some product or other. The only one that would tempt me is China and they're out of our jurisdiction.

No wonder lawyers have such a high rate of job dissatisfaction.


Thanks for the jokes, everyone.

Mrs. EntryReqrd said...

This podcast on Fausta's blog was interesting and on topic.

Libel tourism

Cinnamon Stillwell discusses the international trend on libel tourism, where reporters are sued for libel in countries other than where they reside. Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It will discuss her book and the libel lawsuit following its publication.
Libel Tourism (mp3)

Thu, 27 Sep 2007 01:00:00 GMT