The other day a colleague expressed his dismay when he found out that a potential new client’s father was refusing to allow his daughter to make a legal claim, much less file a lawsuit. Her father did not believe in lawsuits. He was a staunch republican. A conservative. He believed in less government and the Constitution. In his mind, his belief system simply did not comport with the notion of attacking a hard working company through a lawsuit. Heck most people who sue are probably just trying to obtain a windfall. It’s just not the American way- right?
Well, hold on a minute. Is his daughter trying to make a frivolous claim? Let’s examine the basic facts: Daughter is a tender nineteen years of age. Healthy and athletic. A good driver. But through no fault of her own, her Nissan is violently t-boned by a truck who failed to yield. She suffered a fractured vertebrae in her neck at the tender age of nineteen.
Hey Dad, let’s put this lawsuit thing in a perspective maybe even you, a hardcore tort reformer, can understand. Litigation is simply “conflict resolution” or when two parties need a third party to decide who is wrong and apply the appropriate measure of consequences. That sounds a little boring so let’s put it in a historic, global perspective.
We are all acutely aware of the Arab Spring sweeping across the Middle East. The unrelenting reports of defiance, death and loss as Arab citizens defy the absence of fairness, justice and humane treatment by the dictators who rule their countries. They have had enough. But what does Arab Spring have to do with tort reform in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave? The best perspective I can give comes from one of my colleagues, Alex Katzman.
Alex explained it this way, “the Arab Spring that has swept across the Arab countries is a result of a lack of a functioning judicial system. The vegetable vendor that self-immolated did so out of frustration and not having an avenue for redress. He paid for the appropriate licenses and paid the appropriate “bakshish” (bribes) but the police officer confiscated his cart and slapped him across the face”.
Bottom line is a strong judicial system in countries in the midst of revolution such as Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Libya (to name a few) where a law abiding street vendor can have his day in court, and Arab Spring never happens. The USA has a judicial system unlike any other country or civilization in the history of humanity. It sets us apart. It makes us special. We are privileged to have what we have.
To borrow a word from the supreme judicial reformer and ultra conservative Karl Rove, as far as I am concerned you are “un-amurrican” if you bad-mouth or try and tear down our judicial system (his word-my opinion). Dad let your daughter have her day in court.