In response to “Trial lawyers laughing on the way to the bank”: Yes, having been a trial lawyer for over 40 years, I found Dan Fagan’s column very offensive, extremely biased and definitely misleading.
Although I agree that television advertising by certain lawyers, many of whom consider themselves businessmen rather than trial lawyers, is out of control. Of course, you can thank our U. S. Supreme Court for its expansive interpretation of the First Amendment for that, leaving our bar association powerless to exercise any control.
You can typically tell how well an industry is doing by the money it spends on advertising. …
However, Fagan’s solution calling for more “tort reform legislation” is not the answer. Tellingly, Fagan does not describe the type of tort reform he is promoting other than lowering the jurisdictional limits on jury trials. But what the Chamber of Commerce has always meant by tort reform is simply restricting the average person’s access to the courts, thereby protecting culprits like the asbestos, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. If the chamber actually knows of abuses by particular judges, it should identify them and oppose their re-election, not condemn the entire system.
In my experience, the overwhelming number of judges and jurors are fair to both sides and what tort reform amounts to is an attempt to swing the pendulum in favor of big business. Next time, Fagan wants to look at who's laughing all the way to the bank, let him take a look at the salaries of the top executives of these companies he is trying to protect.