What the 'pant rant' on talk radio misses about lawsuits | Chron.com - Ho...

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Viewpoints, Outlook
June 26, 2007, 11:30PM

What the 'pant rant' on talk radio misses about lawsuits
By RICHARD M. ALDERMAN

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Every so often, our legal system coughs up an attention-getting case that provides more grist for talk-show hosts calling for changes in our civil justice system. The latest example is the now-infamous lawsuit filed by an administrative law judge who sued a dry cleaners in Washington, D.C., f pair of missing pants. Was the lawsuit frivolous? Absolutely! And should it serve as a "poster child" for a flawed legal system rav Certainly not and here's why. It's said that someone who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. The adage certainly proved t Pearson served as his own attorney and sought to punish his dry cleaners for losing his "favorite pair of p ended Pearson's frivolity by tossing the case and could soon impose significant penalties for filing such a l come as a shock, because it's a fact that frivolous lawsuits are seldom won, and our courts are disposed t them. Contrary to the critics of our civil justice system and proponents of aggressive "tort reform," Pearson's cas our court system, which is properly regarded as one of the best in the world. And our lawyers are the peo If Pearson's lawsuit proves anything, it shows that some lawyers are not as competent as others. But call lawyers and lawsuits because of a case involving a missing pair of pants is like banning all apples because There's another side of our court system that seldom gets reported and never makes it to late night come thousands of legitimate lawsuits are filed by injured plaintiffs who are compensated for injuries caused by unsafe products. Tort reformers want to ban most, if not all, of these lawsuits and they claim that eliminating them would t consumer. The reasoning suggests that without the penalties associated with launching an unsafe drug, p enjoy larger profits and be able to manufacture cheaper aspirin. The problem with this flawed approach is that it has no end. Without lawyers, homebuilders could build le about being sued due to defects in craftsmanship. The price of a pack of cigarettes would decline because accountable for the proven medical costs associated with smoking. And our stores would be stocked with because companies could eliminate "safety" from their list of priorities. Regardless of how the reformers try to spin it, lawyers play an essential role not only in our system of jus It falls to lawyers to ensure that our laws are properly followed, and to protect people who do not have th themselves. Our civil justice system is the mechanism that ensures that the products we buy are safe, that services w competently and that promises made by businesses are binding (but not to the extent of Pearson demand million to back up a promise of "Satisfaction Guaranteed." ) Lawsuits brought by people represented by la weed out the incompetent, the unsafe and the careless. Even more significantly, lawsuits are the means by which those who are injured as a result of someone el are compensated. Not every lawsuit is justified, not every verdict is legitimate and not every lawyer is perfect. Lawyers, like make mistakes, and some lawyers file frivolous lawsuits. But our system works because judges and juries recognize these lawsuits for what they are, and they not only find for the defendant, but they also sanctio

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What the 'pant rant' on talk radio misses about lawsuits | Chron.com - Ho...

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bringing the case. Instead of trying to stop lawsuits and vilify lawyers, we should applaud them, and take pride in the Ameri better system in the world, I'm simply not aware of it. Alderman is associate dean for academic affairs and director, Center for Consumer Law at the University o

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What the 'pant rant' on talk radio misses about lawsuits | Chron.com - Ho...

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johncoby wrote:

BINGO! Thanks for the editorial. BTW I didnt know the plaintiff was his own lawyer. Besides having to pa bet the judge is going to hit him HARD with penalties. I wondered why any attorney would have taken the case. Turns out no one did! Thanks for the info!
6/27/2007 2:50:34 AM Recommend (3) Report abuse

jam102 wrote:

This editorial is totally misleading (not surprising coming from the Chronicle). Yes tort reformers -THESE lawsuits, the frivolous, time consuming, ridiculous lawsuits that have no common sense taking away a right to sue for neglect, personal injury, etc. Common sense is almost dead in our - you owe me - has replaced it and it truly is a sadder day because of it.
6/27/2007 6:54:23 AM Recommend (3) Report abuse

johncoby wrote:

Jam102, are you speaking from experience, or sound bites? These are the talking points of the t Alderman is right on one thing, you cant touch a homebuilder in this state. There are extreme lim buyer of the American Dream. p.s. I speak from experience.
6/27/2007 7:14:48 AM Recommend (1) Report abuse

fzysqrl wrote:

I don't think that "efficiency" is a word that really should be used in this case. It took 2 years fo
6/27/2007 8:15:58 AM Recommend (1) Report abuse

JSKY wrote:

Tort reformers are masters of the bait and switch. They use lawsuits like the pants one to stir up voters and then slide in things like Propostion 12.
6/27/2007 8:44:41 AM Recommend Report abuse

Donaldd wrote:

"And our stores would be stocked with an endless supply of cheap toys because companies could of priorities." The problem is if you check all the Federal Recall notices you will find Stores buy and do not test agencies Federal Government screening which is lax to nonexistant to multiple law suits for inju of court in secret agreements while continuing to sell the same items to others who may also be a complaint for $1 million while making $5 million well and good. Only after many suits reach court do Feds take much notice.
6/27/2007 9:39:39 AM Recommend (1) Report abuse

Donaldd wrote:

"Corporate Conservative" propaganda machine in their efforts to radicalize the Courts are alway court pot. When the injured worker or customer wins a suit over Corporate Business interests th reform issue"; when Business screws the people it's a local issue unless 5 or 10 people are killed

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6/27/2007 9:49:40 AM Recommend

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