For those who have joined the ranks of tort reformers under the misguided belief that it will somehow save our deplorable health care system, or for those who chastise plaintiff attorneys for no particular political agenda, I am here to expose hypocrisy wherever it occurs.
Plaintiff attorneys are the last defense against giant corporations which place profit over safety. Plaintiff attorneys are the reason the Ford Pinto is off the road, that asbestos is no longer used in construction, that unsafe prescription medications are recalled, and that cigarettes now come with warning labels. Yet some still cling to the stereotype of the plaintiff attorney as ambulance chaser. One such misguided soul is John Stossel. This Fox broadcaster who believes that Enron symbolizes all that is right with the corporate system (no, that is not a typo!) is a staunch critic of plaintiff attorneys suggesting that we are both parasites and lawyers.
But, as it turns out, and I want to thank thepoptort.com for breaking the story, Mr. Stossel once sued a pro wrestler for pain and sufferring. Apparently, Mr. Stossel is not a fan of the wrestling industry either, and called one of the athletes a fake. This led to a skirmish and a lawsuit from the man who believes that plaintiff attorneys are parasites. For his suffering, Mr. Stossel received $200,000.00! It’s convenient that the system was there for him in his time of need, but what a tragedy should plaintiff attorneys attempt to protect the rights and well being of any one else!
Of Course, Mr. Stossel is not the only tort reform hypocrite. In fact, many of those who chastise the civil system and criticize plaintiff attorneys, are the first to phone their attorneys when something goes wrong. Take, for example, everyone’s favorite Alaskan mom, Sarah Palin. While she goes forward trying to limit BP’s exposure for their atrocious oil spill (again, not a typo) she continues to criticize what she calls “frivolous lawsuits” in the tort system. Except that Ms. Palin forgets she has threatened defamation suits against any reporter who dare question her politics or intelligence.
Surprisingly, there seems no limit to the number of tort reform hypocrites. Take Robert Bork, an ardent supporter of tort reform who filed suit against Yale University for a slip and fall on their property; or, Trent Lott, always clamoring for tort reform, but finding himself in a post-Katrina lawsuit because his insurance company refused to pay his claim for property damage.
I could extend this post indefinitely, but I will stop here. Nevertheless, I will continue to point out hypocrisy whenever and wherever I see it. Tort reform is a political platform with no basis or merit that exists only because it seems to catch people’s attention.