Health Care News & Discussion
11/04/1997 1:00 PM
Sen Paul Wellstone, former Carleton College professor who represents Minnesota has been promoting his image by courting groups such as the Children’s Defense Fund. However, he gutted the proposal by Sen Jeff Sessions who represents Alabama to limit attorney fees in the tobacco settlement to $250 per hour with leftover billions going for research on children’s health. He preferred that the trial lawyers pocket up to $100 billion.
The four lawyers who settled the lawsuit in Florida are demanding $1.4 billion or about 25% of the $5 billion settlement.
Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth noted that a family of four could live a year on 20 minutes of one trial lawyers income.
The American Trial Lawyers Association recently announced it would embark on a massive public relations campaign to improve the steadily deteriorating public image of its members.
The Sacramento Bee ran a Tampa Tribune cartoon depicting the all “teeth and smiles” of the lawyers who won billion dollar cases against cigarette companies. It then showed a nearly identical picture of all “teeth and smiles” of the lawyers who lost billion dollar cases defending cigarette companies. Both got rich.
The Association of Trial Lawyers of American have now come out to say that the tobacco settlement is not a good deal because it limits citizens legal rights for redress. In this age where millionaires are common, and tobacco lawyers are now billionaires, greed has no upper limit. They want more law suits.
McDonald’s spent $16 M on a 314 day trial and won $98,000 from an unemployed postman and part-time barmaid vegetarian activist for defamation. McLibel has since announced that it will not try to collect attorney fees or the award from the losers. What a waste of time and money after nearly one year in court, the winners felt like losers and the losers didn’t have to pay. What is never highlighted is that the attorneys who won the case for McDonalds were paid handsomely by McDonalds and the attorneys that lost were also paid well. Better read that first line out loud: Sixteen million dollars for the lawyers to win ninety eight thousand dollars they didn’t bother to collect.
A trial attorney once told me that they can milk the client for money much better in a large group. You always have at least two attorneys assigned to a case and keep one working on it but both bill their hours to the case.”
A correctional lieutenant stated that one of their famous criminals at maximum security in Folsom State Prison had two teams of attorneys defending him. One civil rights firm had four attorneys assigned to the case and the other a criminal law firm also had four attorneys assigned to the case. The lieutenant said both sides already had billed the State for several million dollars, and they were still at least a year or two away from trial.
Reminds me of the story of the 30-year-old-attorney at the pearly gates screaming at St Peter and Moses, “How can you do this to me? A heart attack and dying at my age?” “Well, when we looked at your total billable hours, we figured you had to be at least ninety-five,” the voice from the other side said, “So we thought we’d just make it nice and clean for you and save you a coronary bypass.”
LeRue Grim, one of SF most prominent criminal defense lawyers has been suspended from practicing law for 2 1/2 years because he lied about having sex with a client’s wife while the client was in prison. The state bar recommendations were upheld by the supreme court. Grim said, “I’m so disappointed in the state bar.” He further stated he was so disappointed with the legal profession after 31 years as a lawyer, it was time for a new career anyway. He hopes to become a political consultant… Doesn’t sound like a change in careers to me.
My attorney gave me the book, LAWYERS and Other Reptiles. And then he added, “You know why we can swim with sharks?” “They grant us professional courtesy.”