"First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers!"
Tis the season ... that is it’s the season in Idaho where politicians vie for political contributions and your vote in the upcoming primary elections in May.
The US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision recently held that spending caps in federal elections are unconstitutional allowing wealthy individuals and corporations to through millions of dollars into campaign coffers which in effect disenfranchise the "little guy" (or gal) in the political process.
In Idaho, there are political attack ads being used today that assail Idaho trial lawyers that are unprecedented in form, content and frequency.
Trial lawyers have a function in our society ... I know; I’m one of them. Many trial lawyers work tirelessly in an effort to help people seek justice for injuries and damages they incur as a result of no fault of their own. They offer their services (unlike any other) on a contingency fee basis, i.e., there is no fee unless they obtain money for their client. What other industry does that? Answer: None. No hospital or physician works on the basis of treating an illness or disease on the condition that their treatment or therapy succeeds in curing the disease or injury for which the treatment was sought! Idaho trial lawyers also put their own money at risk in financing the cases they take on.
So what is the cause of this disdain? Shakespeare wrote, "The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers!" Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, Scene II. In context, the reason a despot would want to get rid of the lawyers is due to the fact the lawyers are the protectors of those who are unable to protect themselves in both criminal and civil courts. Eliminate the people’s voice and those despots continue to rule with impunity.
Lately, lawyers have been the brunt of jokes and political advertising. The purpose of the advertising is to push a political agenda to get people to abrogate their legal rights and remedies. How so? By electing despots who would legislate bills that would denigrate your constitutional rights. Moreover, to get those who would subscribe to their beliefs on the Court with political agendas to denigrate your legal rights and remedies.
Legislative caps on non-economic damages are a case in point. The purpose for allowing a jury to decide a litigant’s fate in court is to allow a jury of your peers the ability to determine your fate following a fair presentation of the facts. Legislators have moved to intervene in that process which denigrates your ability to seek justice.
Our founding fathers determined that a right to a jury trial was a basic civil right that should be unabridged. The purpose of which is to protect the electorate’s constitutional rights and to mitigate the influences of tyranny.
I’m not saying that trial lawyers are virtuous. I’m saying that those who would attack trial lawyers as a group have a political agenda which is juxtaposed to yours. They want to limit your constitutional right to a jury trial to exculpate their responsibility and accountability.
The purpose of holding a party responsible and accountable for the choices and decisions they make that cause injury or death to others is to give additional incentive and encouragement to make proper choices and decisions that make our homes and communities a safer and better place to live. By exculpating a liable party for the injuries and damages that cause other people to incur injuries or death mitigates the incentive to make proper choices and decisions.
In Idaho, most parents teach their children that as responsible adults we should be responsible for the things that we say and the things that we do. However, once elected, our legislators who are bought and paid for by the lobbyists who helped finance their elections are beholden to them who wish to exonerate themselves from their culpability and bad choices. Their justification for their actions is nothing more and nothing less than the justification rendered by the "Dons" in the Godfather that hide behind the justification that "it’s just business!" It’s time to put party politics aside, and look at politicians for what they are. If they have a track record of denigrating your rights, it’s time to put them back from whence they came.
Idaho shouldn’t be for sale to the highest bidder. Perhaps this is naive since that’s the way politics is run ... as a business. But just the same, if we continue to allow the lobbyists the ability to buy the votes of those they give hundreds of thousands or now millions of dollars to vis a vis political action groups or individuals and corporations, then we deserve what we get - legislation and juridical decisions that denigrate our civil rights and freedom.
Most of my days start at 4:00 a.m. and I work long hours each and every day to help my clients seek recovery for the injuries and damages they incurred due to no fault of their own. Their lives have been permanently damaged due to the choices and decisions that at fault parties have rendered serving their own self interests thereby putting all in the community at risk.
The purpose of civil litigation is to right the wrongs that at fault parties have rendered that result in injury or death to others. Exculpating the wrong doers' negligence from the full consequences of their actions make our communities less safe for our children and grandchildren.
As trial lawyers, we work to help you right the wrongs, but there are those amongst us that are working hard and long to denigrate your civil and legal rights and remedies.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
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