T Nation

The Problem with this Country

I was so pissed off about this when I read the news a week or so ago that I couldn’t put a coherent thought together. Let me first say that I have all the sympathy in the world for the families of the DC sniper victims. However, I am livid over the fact that they would sue the gun manufacturer. People wonder why insurance costs, healthcare costs, etc. are going through the roof – blame the lawyers. Now, there are plenty of good, level-headed lawyers out there (despite the jokes), but when a lawyer brings a case like this (or countless others), it simply makes me shake my head and wonder how we got into this mess. What’s worse is that these lawyers have convinced the families that it is a good idea to sue. Anyway, I thought I would see if anyone was as frustrated about this as me.

I agree with you. It is sad when bad things happen to innocent people, but you know what? That’s part of life. You can’t go around blaming everyone for what happened and trying to collect from them.

Suing firearms manufacturers has become the “thing” to do. Just a few years ago the mayor of Philadelphia (Ed Rendell who’s now governor of Pennsylvania) brought a lawsuit against gun manufacturers saying they were liable for all the murders in the city.

And while I’ll admit I’m a pretty staunch conservative, the gun issue’s one where I slightly moderate my view. Yes I think suing gun manufacturers is silly, however, we as a country give just a bit too much freedom to our citizens when it comes to firearms.

Everyone is entitled to something. If a bolt of lightning struck down a preacher, his wife would likely sue the Almighty. This makes me sick. There is no such thing as personable accountability, or the ability to accept the fact that sometimes bad things happen and there is no reason.

For those of you who think in terms of “guns don’t kill people, people do” and then criticize lawyers… think if lawyers as the “guns” and the people bringing frivilous lawsuits as people pulling the trigger. Lawyers are not the problem. Perhaps some laws are the problem. Perhaps the people bringing such lawsuits are to blame not the lawyers who choose to represent them.

In recent legal news, one of the McDonald’s lawsuits in New York Federal Court was thrown out by the judge today. No matter how much media spin is put on such lawsuits, the vast majority of the time, such lawsuits do not often make it very far before they are dismissed either at the pleading stage or upon summary judgment. The few such cases that make it to trial rarely result in liability and the those that do result in outrageous monetary awards by juries are usually significantly reduced by the judge (which is often ignored in sensationalist media reports about the legal system).

I have already started another thread entitled “It WAS rape” which addresses some of sensationalist misreporting in the news about legal matters which get treated by the general public as if they are true and which lead to serious misconceptions about the state of the law, lawyers and the process of civil and criminal suits.

Since I’m a lawyer(almost) I must say I’m quite “amused” to see people suing each other in USA. This is really becoming a joke(a bad one). What people wouldn’t do for a quick $$…


I agree with your point - to an extent. I do agree that the press has the ability (and exercises that ability) to bastardize the truth. I have been involved in a number of situations where I knew the “inside story” and the account in the press was essentially fiction. Nonetheless, your comment that the lawyer’s are “the gun” is incorrect. I am not aware of any situation in which a gun can proactively convince one person to shoot another. However, in cases like these, the lawyers (the “gun”) are generally the ones who encourage the plaintiffs to take action. The thinking is simple – if I can make enough noise, the defendant will settle and I will get my cut. Once again, there are many very good attorneys and many valid suits. I do not think that this case is representative of either. Unfortunately, it is the vocal minority that gets most of the attention. I am just waiting for the time when people start suing the auto makers because they have been in an accident. I can see it now – Teenage Boy Killed by Drunk Driver, Family Sues Ford/GM/________(Fill in the blank).

I agree it does piss me off as well. But heres my problem. Yes I think alot of lawyers bring rediculous cases to court, but the lawyers dont decide who wins. Remember I do strongly agree and get really pissed about it myself, but they wouldnt take this crap to court if the judge or jury or whoever wouldnt allow them to win such rediculous cases. To me that is more rediculous than bringing the case to court.

I could rant for hours on this subject. But I’ll keep it short. First of all, guns are NOT easily available in this country. You have to pass a background check from the FBI and if you buy a handgun and don’t have a carry permit, you get to wait a few days to bring home a purchased product. If you have any felony conviction, not just one for a violent crime, you can’t buy a gun legally. Oh, and if you have a “domestic violence misdemeanor conviction”, which could be as harmless as a citation for shouting too loud in an argument, you can’t buy legally either. Before the 1968 Gun Control Act, when there were no restrictions and you get them in the mail to your home, guns were used much less in crime. Search the web a bit and find out about what’s really going in in Austrailia and England, where people can’t fight back and can’t own most types of common firearms, their crime rates are going through the roof.

Second, on the lawyers and suing. This is the first step in their next wave of suits. If they can sue a manufacturer for the criminal actions of an end user who is at least three levels removed from the factory, what’s next? Will the parents of some of the childeren who’s porn pictures were found on R. Kelly’s computer sue not just him and the picture’s distributors, but the computer’s manufacturer? Trial lawyers want to sue everyone they can, that’s all. Gun makers are just convienient right now.

Hopefully the McD’s dismissal is a sign of good things to come. Please God?

With respect to your analogy between a lawyer and a gun, I find it problematic in this respect: A lawyer can decline to take a stupid, meritless lawsuit, and technically is required not to bring such a suit in his duty as an officer of the court. Now, while we can haggle about whether some of those lawyers are really arguing for a good-faith change in the law, it is obvious to me that there are many lawyers out there who abuse the legal system in order to generate fees and attempt to extort money from defendants by wielding the cost and hassle of the legal process as their weapons.

In other words, a gun doesn’t have a choice about where it is aimed, or even who pulls its trigger; a lawyer certainly does.

Whether the judges manage to curb these abuses by dismissing the cases early in the process is a secondary consideration to whether the cases should have been brought in the first instance. Personally, I think the McDonald’s case, and many of these other cases I see, should have been dismissed with prejudice, full costs borne by plaintiffs, and sanctions on the attorneys.

There is a lot of talk on here about personal responsibility. One might say that if one sleazy lawyer wouldn’t take the case, another surely would – and that may in fact be true. But it does not absolve the lawyer who chose to take the client and file the case of responsibility for that decision simply because someone else might have done it as well. As an analogy, if I hire a thug to beat someone up, that thug is still responsible morally and legally even if there was another thug who would have done the same work.

Anyway, as I sit here and waste time waiting for a mid-level to get back to me with markups of my docs, those are my thoughts. While I do think lawyers take a lot of abuse, much unwarranted or simply generalized, it’s far too easy in my opinion to just place the blame on the whiny individuals who hire the lawyers.

I couldn’t have said it better (and I didn’t).

So what is being said here is I should not sue Budwieser for making beer that makes me want to drink it therefore preventing me from having .5% bodyfat? It is budwieser fault for making me drink beer. they are going down.