Monday, March 28, 2005

Your Law Suit is Junk, Mine Seeks Justice

Your Law Suit is Junk, Mine Seeks Justice
...When one of his twin daughters was involved in a fender bender (in which no one was hurt), then Governor Bush filed a lawsuit to recover property damage to the car. I do not know which driver was at fault, but I found it interesting that Bush sued Enterprise Rental-A-Car.
His theory was that the other driver did not have a valid driver’s license and, therefore, that Enterprise should not have rented him a car. I leave it to you to decide if that is an example of looking for a deep pocket with only a tangential relationship to the damage. Bush collected a $2,500 settlement from Enterprise.
Another pet peeve of the tort reformers is forum shopping. Forum shopping is seeking out a favorable jurisdiction to file suit even if that jurisdiction has little or no relationship to the tort. The GOP astroturf organization, Progress For America calls forum shopping the search for the “magical jurisdiction” and terms such efforts a “significant abuse” of the legal system.
Not all Republican politicians, however, think that forum shopping is such a bad idea, at least not for them.
Before he became Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was perhaps best known for his roles in the Terminator movies. He was very aggressive about preventing his image as the Terminator to be used by others for commercial purposes.
A local Ohio car dealership used a tiny thumbnail photograph of Schwarzenegger in a full page advertisement in a local Ohio newspaper. Arnold sued the dealership and its ad agency claiming that used his photograph without his consent. He sought more than $37 million in damages.
Schwarzenegger filed the suit in California despite the fact that the ad ran only in Ohio and the car dealership had no connection to California. See, Republican politicians do not think that forum shopping (to say nothing of of outrageous damage claims) is always bad, at least not when they are the shoppers.
Another pet peeve of the pro-tort reform Republicans is plaintiffs who sue medical professionals in the hope of winning the "litigation lottery." Republican Senator Rick Santorum once noted:
We have a much too costly legal system. It is one that makes us uncompetitive and inefficient, and one that is not fair to society as a whole. While we may have people, individuals, who hit the jackpot and win the lottery in some cases, that is not exactly what our legal system should be designed to do.
How, then, does Santorum explain why his wife sued a chiropractor for half a million dollars alleging back injuries from a badly done spinal manipulation? He says it is a private matter. Of course, Santorum believes that everyone else's cliam for compensation is a public matter. Santorum does not think that "jackpot justice" is so bad when his wife is the winner....