A Disingenuous, Unaccomplished Liberal And Friend To Personal Injury Trial Lawyers

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That's the official GOP characterization of John Edwards, Kerry's pick for VP. Such epithets are hardly surprising, but the RNC's opposition research, online here, provides some fun moments (just as the DNC has generously provided us reams of info on Dick Cheney).

My favorite dig at Edwards? That he doesn't really follow NASCAR–a complaint that is petty and desperate, and yet somehow telling, all at the same time.

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  1. Edwards’ junk science can’t be any worse than Bush’s. (See for example http://www.house.gov/reform/min/politicsandscience/, or many other sources). At least, I hope it can’t be. And I hope we get a chance to find out.

  2. Joe, you are full of it and you know it! The subject has come up enough. The legal system is not about “learn[ing] the relevant facts, hear from both sides …, and debate[ing] the merits”. Its about legal maneuvers, who’s got the most money, suppression of facts, and outright manipulation of the truth.

    Edward’s addition to the (winning) ticket is the way to guarantee the “healthcare crisis” escalates to the point where it will take the federal government to pay for a visit to the doctor. All in the name of consumers/victims rights?

  3. Greetings from southeast Olympus:

    Come on Joe, yanking on jury heartstrings using emotional imagery isn’t just a tactic for a Grisham novel, it’s a time honored tradition in the legal world. And it works.

  4. “Its about legal maneuvers, who’s got the most money, suppression of facts, and outright manipulation of the truth.”

    So the corporations in question have enough money to be seen by greedy lawyers as “deep pockets,” but not enough to hire decent counsel? Defense attorneys are allowed to suppress facts manipulate the truth, and tug on heartstrings too, you know. It’s an adversarial system, and on the whole, I do not believe that corporate defendants are unable to get a fair hearing.

  5. “It’s an adversarial system, and on the whole, I do not believe that corporate defendants are unable to get a fair hearing.”

    They get one fair hearing after another until they lose. THEN there is precedent.

  6. Joe, this gets slightly off-topic only slightly but…

    “On the whole”? 52% of the time it IS possible to get a reasonable verdict? Is this like the news stories that report “many people questioned say X” where “many” is like maybe 2 out of 10 but the journalist doesn’t actually tell you such and seems to imply the opposite is true?

    So you are agreeing that unjust lawsuits hurt individual consumers and corporations and (especially?) poor people who cannot afford health care, to some lesser extent, but not on the whole? But to what extent is that true, in your opinion, of course?

    My blender does NOT shut down when I open the lid and stick my fingers in the blades. I’m running out of fingers like you wouldn’t believe! (don’t try my bloody mary) Is this a real-life example of greedy corporations (BIG business) putting profit ahead of safety? How much should a reasonable jury award a victim who is either a child, or as stupid as I am? $0 or $20,000,000? Or is the answer “we can’t say, because we were not in the courtroom to hear the evidence”? Seems to me that we can say, and we don’t really need to hear much evidence to understand that the guy who lost limbs by holding the lawn mower over the bushes was doing something obviously improper and unintended with a product (and cost us all, not the greedy corporations, a few bucks more on every mower we purchase).

  7. It seems the relationship between our tort system and the idea of justice is little more than historical.

    Edwards’ ability to work the system is important primarily because of the goals for which we might assume he will strive. Again, with little connection to justice, but an emphasis on transferring wealth from others to those who pay his percentage.

  8. “In the fall of 1996, after months of mourning his son, Edwards threw himself into the case of Valerie Lakey, who nearly died at the age of 5 when her intestines were suctioned out after she sat on a wading pool drain. (She requires tube feeding for at least 12 hours a day.) Edwards rebuffed settlement offers, determined to take the family’s case against the drain cover manufacturer to a jury.

    It turned out that a two-cent design modification could have prevented Valerie’s injury. The evidence also showed 13 other children had been hurt in similar accidents.”

  9. Kerry announces Jesus Christ as his vice presidential nominee. RNC decries JC’s lack of experience (only 33 years old), antipathy to free markets, childish temper tantrums and fondness for wine.

    When asked, Dick Cheney allowed as “we’ll fuck him up good.”

  10. Just for the sake of devil’s advocacy — no pun intended — two cents times X number of pools = a lot more than two cents, presumably. And “could have” does not mean “would have.”

    Anyone have any stats on how often corporations have won product liability suits in the last, say, ten years?

  11. For absolutely no monetary cost, Valerie’s parents could have kept her off the drain, or even foregone the dangerous pool entirely.

    Each draws the line to include his own comfort.

  12. From the GOP opposition research page:

    Edwards Can?t Even Remember Make Or Model Of His Own Truck.

    Well, that decides my vote right there! 🙂

  13. For absolutely no monetary cost, Valerie’s parents could have kept her off the drain, or even foregone the dangerous pool entirely.

    Mark, you’re talking to Gadfly and Joe here. You have to keep things in perspective.

    Helps Democrats get rich and/or get elected: Good.

    Fucks corporations in the ass: Good.

    Requires personal responsibility: Bad.

  14. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve been told that in some states the amount of damages you pay is not necessarily proportional to your degree of responsibility. For instance, let’s say just for the sake of argument that the pool manufacturer (or filter manufacturer, or whatever other company it may be) is 0.01% at fault for the kid’s injuries (yes, I know, to some posters that’s still more blame than they deserve) while negligent parents are 99.99% responsible. If the manufacturer is the only party with the ability to pay then the manufacturer is forced to pay.

    If that was the case here, then the jury’s actions may be understandable. If I were a juror I’d have a hard time saying that the manufacturer should be the primary party at fault. But I might (just might) assign them some tiny portion of blame based on the facts. And if the law then requires that the person with deep pockets pays rather than the “most responsible” (or whatever the term is), well, that’s how it all shakes out.

    Mind you, I am not suggesting that the pool manufacturer should have to pay that much. I’m just trying to figure out whether the jury really concluded that this was all the fault of the corporation rather than negligent parents. It could be that the jury only assigned a tiny portion of blame to the company. That may or may not make it right, but it would make the story easier for me to comprehend.

  15. “My favorite dig at Edwards? That he doesn’t really follow NASCAR…”

    Reminds me of that whole Wycliffe Jean bit from the primaries.

  16. Um, do the Bushies really want to make “lack of foreign policy experience” and “didn’t pay much attention to politics for most of his career” and “brief tenure in Washington” and “needs on the job training” arguments about a Vice-presidential nominee?

  17. So, is Edwards just a more literate, well spoken, coherent version of Bush?

  18. So, is Edwards just a more literate, well spoken, coherent version of Bush?

  19. My favorite dig at Edwards? That he doesn’t really follow NASCAR–a complaint that is petty and desperate, and yet somehow telling, all at the same time.

    So what exactly is petty and desperate, and yet somehow telling – that the RNC says he doesn’t really follow NASCAR, or that this is your favorite RNC insult of Edwards?

  20. Yeah, maybe he can pronounce all them A-Rab words right on TV, but if he doesn’t know who #3 is, he ain’t gittin my vote.

  21. As long as I get my fair share, he’s fine by me.

  22. Well, it looks like the troll vote is equally split….

  23. I also wouldn’t think the GOP would want to spend too much time criticizing Edwards as a false man of the people who’s in fact a multimillionaire without “many calluses on [his] hands.” Especially since Edwards, as near as I can tell, actually made his own millions.

  24. J – If you define “pushing junk science to steal it from people who actually created it” as “made his own millions.”, I’m with ya!
    -K

  25. There are plenty of reasons not to like Edwards, but to attack him for short political carrer, or lack of national security and foreign affairs experience is wrong.

    Obviously, one could point to Clinton, or RWR for lacking internation experience, and the country was still here after they left office. And of course the Bush people really have no business crying about this.

    Either a the number of people actually qualified to be president is small about a dozen, or literally hundred of thousands, if not millions could do the job.

    I am reminded of another lawyer/candidate for high office, although this lawyer spent much of his time defending railroads. He had only one term in Congress. His military experience consisted of being elected Captain of his militia; he never saw any combat. He ended up saving the union (Go ahead flame away, Neo-Conferdates and followers of Rothbard).

    As bad is al-queda is, there is no way, outside of a rogue asteroid, that the US will not survive 4 years of a hypothetical a Kerry-Edwards administration. I am not sure that you could have said the same thing in 1861.

  26. Edwards did sort of make his money – with the help of a dozen concerned citizens here and there. His top case involved a products liability suit for a swimming pool. It seems that a pool drain sucked the guts out of a three year-old. She has to live with a colostomy bag for the rest of her life.

    Of course, the pool manufacturer did warn about the dangers of (1) leaving kids unattended in the pool; (2) the suction from the large drain, and its potential for causing injury; and (3) the drowning danger posed for children who are submerged. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a neon warning saying “hey dumbass don’t let your infant child play unattended on the bottom of the pool while you are draining it.”

    Seeing the now-5-year-old with a colostomy bag brought tears to the jury’s eyes, and they naturally awarded the plaintiff a $25 million verdict, notwithstanding the jury instructions.

    There wasn’t a word about how the parents just might possibly be to blame – but hey, with a cute kid like that, and such a horrible accident, how could anybody blame the parents, really? It must be the big bad corporation’s fault.

    So yeah, I guess you could say Edwards earned his money. Like Eddie Sutton, he stole it, fair and square. As Rand would point out, he isn’t a productive human – he is a looter, and if you pay any attention to his public policy stands, you will notice that his looting tendencies aren’t limited to his legal activities.

    I ought to be in favor of his run as a lawyer; things can only get more lucrative for me with Edwards, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ATLA, a heartbeat away from the Presidency. But somehow I don’t feel excited about the prospect – only a little bit dirty for sharing my profession with the likes of him.

  27. I prefer my presidents to steal their fortunes in legitimate ways, like using emminent domain to build a baseball stadium.

  28. Stephen, isn’t it amazing how the people who have the best opportunity to learn the relevant facts, hear from both sides (I’m sure the pool company’s case was made by the owner and his brother in law), and debate the merits are so consistenly dumber and more prone to emotional manipulation than you?

    So what’s it like on Olympus?

  29. One other thing, how about we take responsibility for our own actions. Maybe the two cent fix was in reality a hundred dollar fix. Maybe I want to save $100 because I know I am not so dumb as to let my daughter swim by the drain when I am draining the pool. After that lawsuit, I no longer have that freedom. What if the two cent fix makes the whole system safer for idiot parents but the fix makes the system generally less efficient.

    How about a free market where a company can build a system for the demand? If parents want to buy the safer one because they have no supervision of their children, then the company will make one because they want to sell stuff?

    Man it would be nice to have a free country. Not likely if Kerry and Edward have their way. Unfortunatly, it doesn’t seem to be Bush’s forte either.

  30. joe: To connect with an earlier line of discussion, when you say, “show bad or negligent behavior,” that means offer evidence and arguments while tugging at the emotions of the jurors. It is different from mathematical or even philosophical proof.

    People more easily identitfy with their suffering brethren and oppose non-personal entities who are resisting aid to those suffering. Human nature seems to incline the process toward the plaintiff.

  31. Reminds me of thse awful calls umps make. Even I, sitting 200 yards away in the cheap seats, could see my guy was safe.

    Kill the ump!

  32. “two cents times X number of pools = a lot more than two cents, presumably”

    13 times the lifetime medical costs and lost productivity = a lot more than a lot more than two cents, presumably. I think that’s a pretty positive efficiency outcome, kwais.

    Mark S, “It’s sad this happened, but I don’t believe for an instant that we have to hold manufacturers liable for EVERY product mishap.” Nor does the law. You have to show bad or negligent behavior on the part of the corporation.

    kevrob, defendants in civil suits have exactly the same opportunity to dismiss jurors as plaintiffs.

  33. Tort Kings like Edwards win those suits by making sure that the 12 men (humans?), honest and true, making the decision are pig ignorant and oblivious to discussions of public policy. The entire voir dire process has undergone a process of dumbification. “Entrepeneurial” law firms do research on which county would be the best to file a class acion suit, and hunt up possible plaintiffs in out of the way towns in Texas and Alabama. The judicial elections in some of these states have become veritable auctions.
    The whole process is corrupted.

    Kevin

  34. “The evidence also showed 13 other children had been hurt in similar accidents.”

    13 injuries out of how many pools sold? What where the cause and extent of the injuries in each case and under what circumstances did they occur? Did all of the children have their intestines sucked out, or did they just get a nasty bruise? It may indeed have cost “2 cents” to have each part replaced, but did the company even know that this was a flaw?

    The ambulance-chasing shyster may sound like a hero when the “Little-Guy-versus-Evil-Incorporated” card is played, but what are the facts of the matter? It seems to me that we have what could only be an extraordinary circumstance that no one could have foreseen. It’s sad this happened, but I don’t believe for an instant that we have to hold manufacturers liable for EVERY product mishap. Unless there is gross incompetence or a blatant attempt to deceive involved, not a penny should be taken from anyone.

    It maybe unfair that bad things happen to ordinary people, but thinking it’s all right to screw a company out of $25 million for a one-in-a-million accident (Yes, an accident. unless you actually believe that a pool company somehow has it out for 3-year-old children) because you consider all business to be “corrupt” is hardly justice either.

    Life is not fair. Get used to it.

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