I’ve been reflecting, since yesterday, on the bizarrely angry and intellectually dishonest protests registered here and on his own blog by trial lawyer Eric Turkewitz regarding the aunt who sued her 12-year-old nephew. His arguments, if you can call them that, consisted of constantly shifting the issue from ethics (what the aunt should have done) to law (what the aunt had a legal right to do), denying the core problem (Why would anyone assume that a child is harmed by dragging him into court, subjecting him to examination in front of strangers, and focusing on him as a wrongdoer and responsible for his aunt’s alleges misery, all mandated by the aunt who supposedly loves him?), and appealing to a dizzying list of rationalization and fallacies. He then made his exit by accusing me, a lawyer, of “knowing nothing about the law” (I made no assertions about the law at all—this is not a legal issue) making everyone stupid, and being a narcissist, a full-bore ad hominem attack ending in an ominous “May God have mercy on your soul!” Why would he act like that?
The reason, I realize, is that my posts challenge the basic belief system of the plaintiff’s bar, which I know very, very well having worked in an executive position and run such diverse programs as the research data base, conventions, sections, litigation groups and more over seven years with the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Now ATLA is called “The American Association for Justice,” a name chosen purposefully to disguise the fact that it is a plaintiff’s lawyer’s lobby by keeping “trial lawyers” out of the name because it had a negative response in marketing studies. (I kid you not.)
Trial lawyers have done a lot of good and important things and continue to, but the profession is corrupting. There is a lot of money to be made, and ATLA–excuse me, AAJ, is devoted to eliminating any limits on their members’ ability to sue anyone for any amount, no matter what harm it does to the economy, the nation, the cost of health care, the bonds of trust in society, personal liberty, or public respect for the civil justice system. Individually, members of AAJ are among the top donors to the Democratic Party, in part to make sure that they can block all Republican efforts to limit jury awards, spurious lawsuits, and damages that have to be paid by negligent corporations when they destroy lives through shoddy products, conspiracies, and other conduct. The other reason is that Democrats support the redistribution of wealth, and trial lawyers profit by it.
In the matter of keeping corporations accountable, the AAJ is, as they will constantly remind us, on the side of the angels. But like other interest groups (the NRA, the ACLU, NOW, and may more) that stake out extreme, self-serving and unethical positions in defense of legitimate rights, trial lawyers often feel that they must take the position that every injury and misfortune deserves compensation by someone else. Eventually, they believe it. Justice is taken out of the equation for all but the plaintiffs bar’s clients. Justice means that someone else is always at fault. Continue reading →