Legal Briefs

Monitoring the Legal System that Rules Our Lives

Issue Four
June 9, 1997
The National Center for Public Policy Research

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http://www.nationalcenter.org

Real Life More Interesting Than the Movie?

The Lifetime television cable network, like the rest of the media, knows that the breast implant scare is based on no scientific fact, but apparently it is just too tempting as a source of television drama.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, participants in the breast implant debate see the controversy from opposite sides: Plaintiffs in breast implant cases note that they are fighting a big corporation, Dow Corning, that seeks to maximize profits. Implant manufacturers see the implant cases as one of plaintiff lawyers "using junk science to enrich themselves." As a column in the Journal states, "Guess which version TV opted to portray?"

Scientific study after scientific study report no links between the implants and connective tissue disease, but this movie will take that side. The real story of greed by trial lawyers would make much more interesting viewing, and it would be true.

 

Democratic Candidate Sues the GOP: Blames GOP for Her Election Loss

Obviously needing someone to blame for an election loss, an unsuccessful Democratic party candidate for the House of Delegates in West Virginia has sued a Republican club for libel. An editorial was published in the Berkeley County Republican Club newsletter saying that the candidate, Laura Ross, had used profanity at the Berkeley County Youth Fair. Rose claimed that the GOP newsletter described the incident out of context. An Associated Press story says Rose herself declined to describe the incident in context.

Interestingly, Ms. Rose will be the next president of the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.

 

Lawyers Receive 100,000 Times More Than "Victims" in Lawsuit

In the tradition of finding a flaw and then building a lawsuit around it, ten California lawyers created a class action suit over computer monitors that supposedly have screens smaller than advertised. Although computer owners, by and large, have not complained, trial lawyers needed only one plaintiff to file a lawsuit on behalf of all personal computer owners. Computer owners, of course, were not notified that a suit had been filed on their behalf.

Recognizing the futility of trying to fight such a suit, monitor manufacturers settled by offering PC owners a $6 cash refund or $13 against their next purchase of a monitor. Meanwhile, the ten lawyers will split more than $16 million in contingency fees -- an amazing 100,000 times more money than each individual plaintiff's cash settlement.

Without lawsuit reform, consumers can expect to see higher prices to cover these ludicrous payments to attorneys who will continue to sue on your behalf and not even tell you about it.*




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