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Good grief! This sure *sounds* outrageous!

by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / May 25, 2005 3:47 AM PDT
Perfume allergy brings $10.6 million for DJ.
>> A disc jockey whose severe allergy to a colleague's perfume ultimately led to her being fired by a country music radio station has been awarded $10.6 million by a Federal jury... $7 million in punitive damages, $2 million for mental anguish and emotional distress and $1.6 million for past and future compensation. <<

Given that almost 70% of the award is in punitive damages, it's sure to be substantially reduced, if not overturned, on appeal. (From another site: "Infinity said it plans to appeal. The company said Weber was fired for not coming to work. Infinity added it tried to accommodate Weber's allergy by asking the other woman stop wearing the perfume. Infinity said it also modified Weber's schedule so she wouldn't come into contact with the other woman.") Unless there's something they're not telling us, it *still* sounds outrageous!


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The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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(NT) (NT) I wonder what the Jury was smoking.
by caktus / May 25, 2005 6:15 AM PDT
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(NT) (NT) No need for tort reform
by duckman / May 25, 2005 8:37 AM PDT
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OTOH, 'tort reform' denies justice to many...
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / May 25, 2005 1:10 PM PDT

I'd have no problem with tort reform, Duckman, if it were accompanied by increased regulation to block the abuses that are currently addressed only by punitive damages. But the same folks pushing tort reform are also pressing for less government regulation, so the combined effect of the two policies is to allow corporations to declare open season on consumers -- a return to the bad old days of the mid-60's and before.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Perhaps we should just require that a losing plaintiff pay
by Kiddpeat / May 25, 2005 1:20 PM PDT

all legal and other costs of the defendent. That might be almost as good as tort reform.

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Such a requirement
by Dan McC / May 25, 2005 11:23 PM PDT

would close off access to the courts except for the wealthy.

But you already know that.

Dan

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No, it would mean that a suit would not go forward unless it
by Kiddpeat / May 26, 2005 5:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Such a requirement

is an excellent case. The days of using the courts as a lottery or social arbiter would be over.

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That turns out
by Dan McC / May 26, 2005 5:36 AM PDT

not to be the case. There is no rational support for allowing the poor access to the courts only when they have an excellent case.

Dan

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and that is simply wrong. Why should the poor be able to
by Kiddpeat / May 26, 2005 11:47 AM PDT
In reply to: That turns out

extort money when their legal case is poor or weak? Answer: There is nothing that gives them that right. Only risk forces rational decisions. Free goods generate infinite demand as we have been seeing.

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Charging an admission fee
by Dan McC / May 26, 2005 11:18 PM PDT

or creating an artificial financial barrier to entering the judicial system is simply wrong, KP.

It is just that simple.

Economic and other barriers to the courts already segregate large segments of the population from the judicial system or from reliable confidence in it.

Dan

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It is NOT wrong in spite of your OPINION.
by Kiddpeat / May 27, 2005 1:16 AM PDT

Those who file frivolous cases should be waved off. Why should I be forced to pay humongous legal fees just because someone decides to sue me? If they don't have a case, they should pay. The government does that for some who are wrongfully prosecuted.

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Now you're arguing against frivolous cases.
by Dan McC / May 27, 2005 2:02 AM PDT

That is completely different from the standard you set earlier: having "an excellent case". My statements should not be misconstrued to support, in any way, the filing of frivolous lawsuits. On that we can agree. But there is a huge distance between the frivolous lawsuits that we would both ban, and the cases that were not "excellent" that you seemed to want to ban earlier in the thread.

More here.

Dan

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I never said I wanted to ban anything. I just want someone
by Kiddpeat / May 27, 2005 1:42 PM PDT

who sues, and loses, to pay the legal costs of the defendent. Everything I've said is consistent with that. They caused the expenses to be incurred. If they don't prevail, they should be responsible for paying the bills.

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'Extort?' Hiughly charged, usually inaccurate word KP

The real question is, why should the poor be denied justice that the rich take as a matter of course? What you're proposing is to return civil justice to the days before the 1963 landmark SCOTUS case Gideon v. Wainwright, establishing the right of the poor to have a court-appointed attorney.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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It's not at all inaccurate in the cases I've seen. Someone
by Kiddpeat / May 27, 2005 1:47 PM PDT

doesn't want to pay a bill, or they are looking to collect some money, so they sue. Who do you think is getting sued in our courts? It is rarely the big corporations.

No one is denying justice to the poor, but they better be sure they have a good case before they go to court. What's wrong with that?

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Are you sure about this relating to civil?
by Roger NC / May 28, 2005 10:57 AM PDT
What you're proposing is to return civil justice to the days before the 1963 landmark SCOTUS case Gideon v. Wainwright, establishing the right of the poor to have a court-appointed attorney.


It was my understanding court appointed attorney's only applied to criminal charges, not civil lawsuits?

I'm under the distinct impression that if someone sues me, it's up to me to furnish my own legal representation, no matter what my financial status, or do without.

JMO

Roger

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com
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Ideally, yes. Real world, no, KP.

Corporations have big bucks for armies of lawyers that often win despite having a losing case, simply because of the amount of money they're willing to throw at a case. The only way that a normal person can possible bring suit is by contingency fee -- the step you propose (a favorite of the GOP) would wipe out contingency fees by the back door, since they've been unable so far to do it directly as they'd like. The deck is already stacked against the consumer taking on a big corporation (and the "reform" re class action suits has even further tipped the balance).
Maybe to you this is an "uninteded consequence," but to most of those pushing this and other "tort reforms," the consequences of essentially removing all checks and balances from unscrupulous corporations is very much intended.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Same message as Dan. If they don't have a strong case, they
by Kiddpeat / May 26, 2005 11:52 AM PDT

should not be suing. How do contingency fees reduce the ability of the corporation to use its muscle to stop or hinder a case? Answer: They don't.

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Perhaps, but they do
by Dan McC / May 26, 2005 11:22 PM PDT

increase the possibility that someone would accept a case that would otherwise be economically untenable. Corporations do not have to follow the law if they know that citizens will not be able to pursuing them in the courts. They're already pretty good at keeping the government from performing its duties in this area.

Dan

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If corporations violate the law, the government will
by Kiddpeat / May 27, 2005 1:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Perhaps, but they do

prosecute them. That's one of the functions of government. If an individual can prove his/her case, why would an attorney not take it just as they've done before? The current system forces me to incur legal expenses based on someone's whim. That should be discouraged.

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That statement flies in the face
by Dan McC / May 27, 2005 2:06 AM PDT

of the many instances were citizens had to go to court to press the government to carry out its responsibilities.

Dan

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and those instances are far outweighed by the number of case
by Kiddpeat / May 27, 2005 1:50 PM PDT

where the gov't sues a business. How many cases are there where the gov't does not act? What percent of all cases does that represent?

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I guess you meant to say that the
by Dan McC / May 27, 2005 4:06 PM PDT

government may prosecute them, or might prosecute them. Using the word "will" makes it seem like an absolute when you know that is not the case.

Dan

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That's not happening under Bush, KP

and you know it. The number of actions brought by the FTC is a fraction of what it was under Clinton, or even Bush the First.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Where is your evidence Dave? I see the DOJ going after all
by Kiddpeat / May 27, 2005 1:51 PM PDT

kinds of people in Illinois. You are simply expressing your opinion with no evidence to back it up.

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Often doesn't have to do with strength of case, KP

Did you see "Erin Brockovich?" There, they won, and rightly so. But 90% of the time, on the same facts, the big company would have prevailed becausee the moon and stars wouldn't have allowed their malfeasance to be proven. Or do you think that the rule of law should be based on "caveat emptor," and "whatever you can get away with?"

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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See replies to earlier posts. Evidence? Do you have ANYTHING
by Kiddpeat / May 27, 2005 1:53 PM PDT

to back up your opinion?

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Well Dave, the problem isn't the plaintiffs
by duckman / May 26, 2005 11:58 AM PDT

it's the low life attorneys that get rich from others pain and suffering. Much like that guy, John Edwards who made a fortune using junk science. Anyone remember Dow Corning going into bankruptcy because of attorneys and junk science. Remember ?US v. Big Tobacco?? The only ones who got anything were the lawyers. Oh yes, we need tort reform. Here in Illinois, emergency room neurosurgeons are fleeing the state as fast as they can.

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