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Capping Of Punitive Damages In The United States  
User currently offlineSATX From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2840 posts, RR: 7
Posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 2429 times:

It's really disheartening to see how the various United States have been neutering punitive damage awards over the years. I don't see how they can possibly have their desired affect when they are lowered to the point that a major multi-national corporation can survive even the most egregious acts of intentional criminal misconduct?

It looks to me that unless you harm exceptionally wealthy people you're pretty much in the clear so long as your cash flow is strong enough. Recently we've seen some of the largest corporations netting annual profits of over $30,000,000,000.00 on revenues of over $300,000,000,000.00. What's a few hundred thousand dollars to a corporation like that? Even if they harmed hundred or thousands of Americans they would still be standing when the dust settled, in some cases only slightly worse for the trouble.

If most of America still supports the death penalty for citizens who commit extraordinarily heinous crimes, then why don't they support the equivalent of the death penalty for corporations that do likewise? Certainly it would seem that a corporation that's willing to ignore proper ethical standards and put the public at severe risk can do as much if not more damage than even the best criminal gangs and serial killers. If the crimes are similar, why aren't the punishments?

As if the neutering of punishments for rogue corporations wasn't enough, we now live in an era where shady NAFTA conferences have more power than our Supreme Court and are tasked with giving corporations a lopsided advantage when disputing future governmental regulations that impact their revenue stream and future viability.

Is there a point when the market has simply been given too much power? A point when democracy is unfairly restricted by irresponsible capitalism? What is the counterweight to the growing power of major multi-national corporations that are now raking-in more than some countries?


Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKaddyuk From Wallis and Futuna, joined Nov 2001, 4126 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 2423 times:

Quoting SATX (Thread starter):
What is the counterweight to the growing power of major multi-national corporations that are now raking-in more than some countries?

I'm afraid there becomes a point where criminals ARE the ones in charge... and i'm not talking about the criminals you find in jail, i'm talking about the ones who rip off decent people every day and play golf on a saturday afternoon at their own private resort... Corporate Crimes should be punished harder than they currently are...



Whoever said "laughter is the best medicine" never had Gonorrhea
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 16940 posts, RR: 48
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 2414 times:

Replace "Corporations" with "People" and ask your questions again.

Quoting SATX (Thread starter):
What's a few hundred thousand dollars to a corporation like that?

The corporation rarely, if ever, pays the awards directly.

Quoting SATX (Thread starter):
why don't they support the equivalent of the death penalty for corporations that do likewise?

You want to kill an entire corporation? Jo-anne in accounting is going to lose her income because you want to kill an entire company for the misdeeds of a few?

Quoting SATX (Thread starter):
What is the counterweight to the growing power of major multi-national corporations that are now raking-in more than some countries?

If you made the legal system where loser-pays-all, then there'd be a counterweight.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26196 posts, RR: 76
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2411 times:

Any capping of damages in the US 1) goes against the notions of using free market means to regulate society and 2) creates a huge vaccum in enforcement that allows corporations and individuals (not only has malpractice litigation increased the safety of medicine but because of that increase in safety, the amount and number of malpractice claims has gone down) to take less personal responsibility and do things to the detriment of society, unless you also have a commensurate increase in government regulation and criminal liability for civil wrongs, which is something that will never been seen in this country.

You will also cause a drastic reduction in the size and power of the insurance market and huge cuts in the people employed in the sector because the reduction in the aggregate amounts of insurance bought as well as the purchase of insurance generally. I bet that is something the tort deformers have never thought about.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26196 posts, RR: 76
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2402 times:

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 2):
The corporation rarely, if ever, pays the awards directly.

Neither does the individual

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 2):
If you made the legal system where loser-pays-all, then there'd be a counterweight.

Except that that runs completely counter to over 200 years of jurisprudence and is an inefficient regulation on a market actor, namely market based awards for civil wrongs.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11445 posts, RR: 76
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2401 times:
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Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
1) goes against the notions of using free market means to regulate society

wrong. free market means that people who don't like a company can boycott it. You're talking about using laws to damage a company far out of the range of the offence in many cases. I'd say that step one for tort reform is to prevent lawyers from taking 30% contingencies and force the to work for hourly rates, and if they want to take contingency then they better plan on winning. I'd also have little problem with making it easier to go after the mass tort guys when they lose a case, as well as make it difficult for them to focus their cases in a few areas of the country that seem to be favorable to them.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
2) creates a huge vaccum in enforcement that allows corporations and individuals (not only has malpractice litigation increased the safety of medicine but because of that increase in safety, the amount and number of malpractice claims has gone down) to take less personal responsibility and do things to the detriment of society, unless you also have a commensurate increase in government regulation and criminal liability for civil wrongs, which is something that will never been seen in this country.

Punitive damages affect the entire company, and are abused beyond description to damage companies for years on down the road. They almost sunk the US general aviation industry, and lawyers did not give a crap. If you're interested in personal responsibility then make people liable for the damage they do. I'll guarantee you that making certain acts criminal instead of civil actionable you'll have potential offenders making different calculations.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
You will also cause a drastic reduction in the size and power of the insurance market and huge cuts in the people employed in the sector because the reduction in the aggregate amounts of insurance bought as well as the purchase of insurance generally. I bet that is something the tort deformers have never thought about.

I'd love to see the insurance industry lose it's chokehold, and to see the lawyers be forced to make cases that relied on what a person can pay instead of playing this insurance game. I've heard lawyer after lawyer talk about how their actions are not hurting people since insurance companies pay for it all anyway. Same logic used by BK lawyers when discussing reneging on debts ("well, that's why they charge interest").



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 16940 posts, RR: 48
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2393 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 4):
Except that that runs completely counter to over 200 years of jurisprudence and is an inefficient regulation on a market actor, namely market based awards for civil wrongs.

If you want to argue that punitive damage caps distort the market, then you're going to have to also deal with the fact that the burden of proof cost is overwhelmingly biased toward the defendant, again distorting the market. The fact that lawyers can sue companies for a blip in stock price without any evidence of wrongdoing, for example, is an abomination of the justice system.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 12880 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2385 times:

First of all, many of those super huge Punitive damages judgements are substantually reduced on appeal.
Rather than have a cap by a fixed dollar amount as to Punitive damages, it should be set by the size of the assets or profits available, or as a factor of actual damages (compensation for medical bills, loss of employment, etc) I don't think an otherwise legal business should be destroyed by a small number of bad products, but in some cases the people responsible in the company should be more responsible to pay toward those claims and be impovished.
I would also suggest limiting instead the contgency fee system we have in the USA, and require all lawyer's payments be approved by and go through the court. A fomula for fees/compensation could be developed to acknowlege the risk a lawyer takes with the contgency system, but they couldn't get the high percentage and outsized compensation they get today if they win.


User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2374 times:

I don't think I will ever understand the US system. Companies aren't punished by punitive damages, they have insurance to cover that. Most plaintifs lose in the end, and the few that actually win pay a larger percent over to the lawyers. (remember the famous ATPCO price fixing case - the lawyers got millions, the plaintiffs got $50 in airline vouchers. BFD)

Redressing actual damages - fine. But the concept of punitive just means there 'ain't no justice'


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26196 posts, RR: 76
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2371 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 5):
and if they want to take contingency then they better plan on winning.

Um, that is exactly how things are done now. The root word Contingent in Contingency means that the contract for a portion of the award is Contingent upon a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff. If they lose, the attorney gets none of that contingency and likely also spent all of the expenses of the case out of pocket as that is the other part of Contingency contracts. In those cases, all the risk is taken by the Plaintiff's lawyer

Quoting DL021 (Reply 5):
as well as make it difficult for them to focus their cases in a few areas of the country that seem to be favorable to them.

That is a function of the nature of juries, not lawyers. The way personal jurisdiction works is that if a person (or corporation) has minimum contacts with a jurisdiction, they can be sued there. In the case of large companies, they may have minimum contacts in lots of regions and you will likely have injury in areas where juries are more likely to give large awards. In this case, getting a class certified will actually benefit the defendant and not the plaintiff, because they will likely get the class into a court in a more pro-defendant jurisdiction

Quoting DL021 (Reply 5):
free market means that people who don't like a company can boycott it.

Except that you have a human nature that conflicts with the market and requires some sort of regulation. The US system of damages regulation creates a market based system of enforcement.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 5):
I'll guarantee you that making certain acts criminal instead of civil actionable you'll have potential offenders making different calculations.

Then you are advocating European style oppressive regulation.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 5):
Same logic used by BK lawyers when discussing reneging on debts ("well, that's why they charge interest").

The Bankruptcy laws are a completely different animal. One of the biggest reasons BK exists is to encourage security and credit in society while discouraging unsecured debt. It is not BK lawyers who cause a reneging on debt, it is the bankruptcy laws which are set up to encourage entrepreneurship and aggressive economic development.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 5):
to see the lawyers be forced to make cases that relied on what a person can pay instead of playing this insurance game.

Insurance is what drives society, particularly when it comes to innovation. The main problem is that the bounds of insurance have gone too far, particularly when it come to health care. If you are really interested in "not playing this insurance game" your interest should be in the areas where it doesn't help drive the economic growth of this country (again, health care).

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 6):
If you want to argue that punitive damage caps distort the market, then you're going to have to also deal with the fact that the burden of proof cost is overwhelmingly biased toward the defendant, again distorting the market.

The burden of proof is completely on the plaintiff, not the defendant. The plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is liable.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 6):
The fact that lawyers can sue companies for a blip in stock price without any evidence of wrongdoing, for example, is an abomination of the justice system.

They can sue them for anything they want, but they will also get their claim tossed out lightning quick and if it can be shown that they filed the suit in bad faith, the defendant has a claim for Abuse of Process.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11445 posts, RR: 76
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2367 times:
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Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 7):
it should be set by the size of the assets or profits available

Why? Punitive measures such as that will encourage lawyers to go after the deepest pockets instead of those most culpable.

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 7):
A fomula for fees/compensation could be developed to acknowlege the risk a lawyer takes with the contgency system, but they couldn't get the high percentage and outsized compensation they get today if they win.

I see no reason that punitive award that should go to harming the company in punishment should go to making the lawyer rich. I can see it going to his/her hourly rate and expenses, but to give them 30% of the gross is criminal in and of itself. It encourages spurious lawsuits and harms our legal system by weakening the trust people have in the fairness and justice in the system.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineAndesSMF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2367 times:

Actually, consumers ARE affected by punitive awards. Lets give an example, the tobacco industry. They agree to pay the states $250 billion in damages to cover the smokers medical expenses. Immediately after agreeing to that award, the increase the price of a pack of cigarettes by 50 cents. Did the company suffer, not much. They probably lost some smokers. Smokers are the one paying for those punitive damages.

There are no companies or insurance companies that eat their losses. If you have an accident, for example, does the insurance company not increase the cost of your premium? Same with doctors. And then you and I have to pay their rate increase due to their additional costs.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26196 posts, RR: 76
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2365 times:

Quoting AndesSMF (Reply 11):
Actually, consumers ARE affected by punitive awards. Lets give an example, the tobacco industry. They agree to pay the states $250 billion in damages to cover the smokers medical expenses. Immediately after agreeing to that award, the increase the price of a pack of cigarettes by 50 cents. Did the company suffer, not much. They probably lost some smokers. Smokers are the one paying for those punitive damages.

That is a ridiculous comparison. The only alternative to a massive award for the wrongs brought on society by the tobacco companies would be to completely ban the product, which is unacceptable as shown by both the "war on drugs" and prohibition



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2362 times:

There already is a Constitutional cap on punintive damages. I'm not quite sure of the case but I believe State Farm Insurance Co was the defendant. In that case the Supreme Court threw out a punitive damage award as grossly disproportional (I think the compensatory damage award was something like $1M and the punitive damage award was something in the order of $115M - perhaps one of our a.net attorneys can provide more details). There is a due process issue involved and I believe that the punitive damage award is limited to either 4 or 8 times the compensatory damage figure.

User currently offlineAndesSMF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 12):
That is a ridiculous comparison. The only alternative to a massive award for the wrongs brought on society by the tobacco companies would be to completely ban the product, which is unacceptable as shown by both the "war on drugs" and prohibition

I wasnt trying to defend the tobacco company, I was attempting to show cause and effect with punitive damages. While I dont disagree that there are companies who have acted terribly and in bad faith, who should be punished, us consumers can end up footing the bill at the end.


User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 16940 posts, RR: 48
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2354 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 9):
The burden of proof is completely on the plaintiff, not the defendant. The plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is liable.

I could probably sue just about any company right now for Sarbanes Oxley violations, demand tens of thousands of pages of documents be reproduced at their cost-not mine, and waste millions of dollars of their time and money without investing much of my own time or money. With the amount of documents that are unearthed that go back ten, twenty years, you're bound to find some mistake, whether intentional or not, that helps your case. ...And major companies get this type of lawsuit all the time. It's Mr. Spitzer's special of the day.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 9):
They can sue them for anything they want, but they will also get their claim tossed out lightning quick and if it can be shown that they filed the suit in bad faith, the defendant has a claim for Abuse of Process.

If that were the case then there wouldn't be a shareholder lawsuit every time the stock price goes up or down 10+%.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 16940 posts, RR: 48
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2352 times:

Quoting ANother (Reply 8):
(remember the famous ATPCO price fixing case - the lawyers got millions, the plaintiffs got $50 in airline vouchers. BFD)

Let's be honest...lawyers are really the problem here Wink

BTW, most of the asbestos awards have gone to healthy people who will never get asbestosis, and of course lawyers. People actually sick with asbestosis have gotten the equivalent of that $50 airliner voucher.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26196 posts, RR: 76
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 2338 times:

Quoting AndesSMF (Reply 14):
I wasnt trying to defend the tobacco company, I was attempting to show cause and effect with punitive damages. While I dont disagree that there are companies who have acted terribly and in bad faith, who should be punished, us consumers can end up footing the bill at the end.

The thing is, the harm done by the tobacco companies so completely exceeded any type litigation insurance aggregate they could have purchased that of course they paid a huge amount out of pocket. This is almost never the case in the ordinary course of tort law.

Quoting Pope (Reply 13):
There is a due process issue involved and I believe that the punitive damage award is limited to either 4 or 8 times the compensatory damage figure.

There isn't an absolutely firm number, but there are guidelines as to what will usually be considered a reasonable award. It is similar to how antitrust law or the rules governing a reasonable foreclosure sale works.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 15):
If that were the case then there wouldn't be a shareholder lawsuit every time the stock price goes up or down 10+%.

And do they succeed?

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 16):
People actually sick with asbestosis have gotten the equivalent of that $50 airliner voucher.

Because of bankruptcy filings, not litigation



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 16940 posts, RR: 48
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 2331 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 17):
And do they succeed?

Doesn't matter, they've already succeeded in diverting some of the companies money and time toward dealing with their suit.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 17):
Because of bankruptcy filings, not litigation

Negative, it's completely independent of bankruptcy filings. Before any of the companies went into bankruptcies, the same award would go toward someone actually or potentially sick as someone who would never be sick. The lawyer got a similar cut. It works very well for the lawyers, and those that have no chance of getting asbestosis get money for nothing. Sucks to be a real victim however; you're screwed and the $5000 doesn't go very far.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 16940 posts, RR: 48
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2302 times:

Speaking of the devil, and by devil I mean certain tort bar members...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114462608919021341-search.html?

The Great Asbestos Scam

By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
April 10, 2006; Page A18

"In a move barely noticed in the press, federal Judge Kathryn Ferguson recently ordered the law firm of Gilbert, Heintz & Randolph to disgorge $9.6 million it received working on the Congoleum asbestos bankruptcy. This is an extraordinary punishment, one of the largest disgorgements on record. More extraordinary is the tale of greed and conflicts of interest that inspired such a penalty.

The great asbestos bankruptcy scam is beginning to unravel. For 30 years, judges have sat by as the tort bar flooded courts with phony suits, dragging some 75 companies into Chapter 11. Bankruptcy judges have proved particularly resistant to investigating swindles, fearful of the months such probes would add to already complex proceedings. Yet the past few years have witnessed a reversal. The insurance community, whose deep pockets paid the asbestos bar's ransom, has mounted an aggressive legal campaign to expose fraud. Its cause was bolstered last June when a Texas federal judge, Janis Graham Jack, issued a blistering opinion showing that many law firms responsible for the asbestos mess had subsequently "manufactured" silicosis suits "for money." Under pressure, judges have started allowing some digging into their cases.

The facts are rolling out, and nowhere more so than in the case of Congoleum, a leading floor manufacturer that declared bankruptcy in late 2003. That story, pieced together here from depositions, court exhibits and judicial rulings, is one of a "payoff," double-dealing and bogus claims by dodgy doctors. More broadly, it is a primer in how a defendant company teamed up with its former enemies in the trial bar in an ingenious plan to enrich both sides -- leaving Congoleum's insurers holding the bag.

Congoleum is a "prepackaged" bankruptcy. Many of the original asbestos manufacturers -- those with huge liability -- underwent more traditional Chapter 11 proceedings; they depleted their financial resources paying claims and sought court protection. This left the tort bar to attack a second tier of companies with only tangential liability. While these defendants were often successful at defeating bogus suits in court, they couldn't manage the effect the endless litigation had on their stock price. That's where the prepack comes in."
"The lawyers' goal was to get the biggest insurance payoff. Congoleum's job was apparently to sign off on any claim that came its way and ultimately deliver on the insurance proceeds. This would lead to a Congoleum windfall, as it emerged from bankruptcy with its shares unburdened. The lawyers would also be well-positioned to get exactly what they wanted."

"GHR's first job was to "represent" the Congoleum side in negotiations over the size of the trust. Given its past prepack work with Messrs. Weitz and Rice, this struck at least a few insurers as having the same team sitting on both sides of the table."

"The lawyers sent out letters to asbestos tort firms they'd done business with in the past. Included in Mr. Rice's invitation was a request that these firms sign an agreement handing over a share of their resulting contingency fees to him. (Later court disclosure by him showed at least 19 firms agreed to this deal, with fee-sharing ranging from 15% to 40%.)"

"Mr. Rice's letter didn't stipulate that a payment to him was the price of admission to the trust, but the law firms seemed to see it that way. One lawyer let slip that his firm agreed to the arrangement "so that our clients would receive some type of security in those insurance proceeds." All this money was in addition to what Messrs. Rice and Weitz would get in contingencies from their own clients. Insurers estimate Mr. Rice will ultimately share fees on Congoleum claims totaling $127 million, while Mr. Weitz will take fees on claims worth $122 million."

"Many firms appear to have simply recycled old complaints against entirely different companies -- not even bothering to adjust the language to their new target. One complaint accuses Congoleum of "mining" asbestos, another of conspiring with other defendants, even though only Congoleum is named. A Massachusetts firm, Thornton & Naumes, which historically filed few claims against Congoleum, suddenly discovered 2,200 new victims. California's Brayton Purcell filed complaints that read "Bankrupt Congo" at the bottom of each page."

"Kenesis had validated 79,000 of 102,000 Congoleum claims, worth nearly a half-billion dollars. By its own admission, Kenesis spent less than four minutes on each claim."

"They ultimately hired an economist, Frederick Dunbar, to do a sample of the claims. He found that fewer than 1% that allege a non-cancerous disease provided any evidence of exposure to Congoleum products. About 13% failed to provide even basic medical information showing an abnormality. A significant number of plaintiffs had also filed silicosis claims, even though it is rare for a person to have silicosis and asbestosis. And there was the striking number filed on behalf of dead people. A Thornton & Naumes' complaint contained 1,100 deceased plaintiffs."

"Of claims I've seen, one was for an Anthony Fucci, who died in 1968. His claim notes his "occupational asbestos exposure during his working career at the Fore River Shipyard as a rigger." Congoleum never made shipyard products. Another, from a Doris Williams, claimed she "stuffed chickens" for a living, and that an overhead pipe in her building contained insulation with asbestos. Congoleum never made pipes or insulation."

"The Dunbar report also contained the first real evidence that the doctors who were recently accused of fraudulent silicosis diagnoses are the same doctors behind these asbestos bankruptcy claims. In a sample of 900 non-cancer claims, 30% included reports from just four doctors. These include Ray Harron and James Ballard, who recently took the Fifth against self-incrimination in a congressional hearing into their conduct, and who are infamous for assembly-line diagnoses."



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26196 posts, RR: 76
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2296 times:

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 18):
Doesn't matter, they've already succeeded in diverting some of the companies money and time toward dealing with their suit.

As a large corporation, you have to be set up to handle the inevitable, which includes keeping in house council. It is not like they get paid more just because they are handling a case.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 18):
Negative, it's completely independent of bankruptcy filings. Before any of the companies went into bankruptcies, the same award would go toward someone actually or potentially sick as someone who would never be sick. The lawyer got a similar cut. It works very well for the lawyers, and those that have no chance of getting asbestosis get money for nothing. Sucks to be a real victim however; you're screwed and the $5000 doesn't go very far.

Again, the main problem is that all of these judgments became judgment liens, which are basically the last thing paid off in a bankruptcy. There were unsecured debts and once the trustees were done bifurcating away claims and paying off secured credit, there wasn't enough left.

Then again, you seem to enjoy ignoring Chromium 6 litigation in California or disbowlments of young women.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 19):
"In a move barely noticed in the press, federal Judge Kathryn Ferguson recently ordered the law firm of Gilbert, Heintz & Randolph to disgorge $9.6 million it received working on the Congoleum asbestos bankruptcy.

Dude, you are talking about one corrupt firm that was actually handling a Bankruptcy case, not a mass tort case. Their disgorgement was due to fees collected in the incompetent representation of a client.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 16940 posts, RR: 48
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2293 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 20):
Dude, you are talking about one corrupt firm that was actually handling a Bankruptcy case, not a mass tort case. Their disgorgement was due to fees collected in the incompetent representation of a client.

DUDE, this is one example of many, many more. The corrupt "doctors" that certified asbestosis or silicosis in this case did it for tens of thousands of people in other cases against other companies. These lawyers that that allowed fraudulent claims for this company did it for other companies, and there were many more lawyers just like them.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 20):
Then again, you seem to enjoy ignoring Chromium 6 litigation in California or disbowlments of young women.

Uh huh, I love them. Yeah sure What are they?

Quoting N1120A (Reply 20):
As a large corporation, you have to be set up to handle the inevitable, which includes keeping in house council. It is not like they get paid more just because they are handling a case.

And there's a cost to that; time and money is taken away from real claims, ie people that actually are sick or hurt, and spent on people who are filing fraudulent claims. I know it makes you happy to see a company hurt, but regardless, the PEOPLE that actually have legitimate claims are the ones hurt.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 16940 posts, RR: 48
Reply 22, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2283 times:

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 21):
What are they?

Oooooh Erin Brockovitch. Right. Yeah that's another example where there is no proof of harm, but people that are sick get just as much as those that aren't, proof be damned. Here's a back-and-forth between Erin Brockovitch herself and one of her detractors, Michael Fumento:

http://www.fumento.com/brocklett.html



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13800 posts, RR: 63
Reply 23, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2271 times:

What about the folowing solution:

Award the plaintiff a compensation equal to the damage he suffered.
Then, if punishment is needed, fine the company big time, buuuut....
the fine goes to the government, not to the plaintiff. Consider it as a punitive tax on misbehaviour. This way there wouldn't be so much temptation to sue to make fast money. AFAIK, many companies today pay large amounts in settlement just avoid a public lawsuit, even if they would probably win it, due to the negative PR effect. IMO opinion this is a form of blackmail. Also fines can normally not be covered by an insurance policey, so a high fine would hurt a compay's management more than a compensation, which will in the end be paid for by the insurance.

Then introduce fixed amounts the lawyers can charge and go away from the percentage of the compensation as lawyer's fee.

Jan

[Edited 2006-04-12 22:23:34]

User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2259 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 20):
As a large corporation, you have to be set up to handle the inevitable, which includes keeping in house council.

House counsel = in house attorney
House council = no idea what that is


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