Saturday is Ask a Lawyer Day | Main | Springfield blogging community

Friday, April 28, 2006

Frivolous lawsuits? Pfft!

On Evan Shaeffer's Legal Underground, the always thought provoking Unnamed Associate defines a frivolous lawsuit as:

"one that gets dismissed, either by a motion to dismiss because it doesn't state a claim, or on summary judgment because there's just no relief available under the law."

I have no disagreement with that.

But, I should say that, as a legal secretary for both plaintiff and defense lawyers for 30 years, I have only seen one lawsuit that should never have been filed. It was a long time ago. A real long time ago. Some might have called it a frivolous lawsuit.

This is where the people who advocate for tort reform hang their hats. By their recent ad blitz of billboards and radio spots, it appears the tort reformers would have the public believe that unnecessary lawsuits are being filed every day, all day. And, that the lawyers who file those suits are as vicious as wild animals on an Australian safari. Personally, I don't see it.

What I do see is something much more dire going on to which we should be devoting our attention. Something evil. And vile. And killing. A few examples:

  • Nursing homes: The more care you need in a nursing home, the less care you get.
  • Hospitals: The longer you're in a hospital, the greater your chance of being injured by the hospital.
  • Doctors who look the other way when they see mistakes by other doctors.
  • Doctors who cover up their mistakes by altering their patient records.

Personally, I think the tort reformers could better serve the public by addressing those issues. Go for it.

Posted by Marie at April 28, 2006 10:01 PM

Comments

Thanks, Marie. I agree.

Posted by: U.A. at May 1, 2006 10:50 AM

<rantfromberkeley>

Interesting times we live in: Corporate-power conservatives, assisted by a variety of cynical or sometimes well-intentioned libertarian types, are engaged in a long-term campaign to convince us that really, the only right and honorable and red-blooded American thing to do is to fight our own fights for ourselves. Unions are evil. Lawyers and lawsuits are evil. Any means of seeking legal or administrative or judicial redress against those who have taken advantage of their ability to bully or cheat -- evil. (Funny that when one of these survival-of-the-fittest plutocrats finds themselves on the wrong end of an indictment, defense attorneys are suddenly angels from heaven.) Most consumers/workers/voters are the prey in a new version of social Darwinism, and the predators are sweet-talking us into playing along.

</rantfromberkeley>

Posted by: Dan at May 1, 2006 2:00 PM