Saturday, June 24, 2006

Turning the Tables on Abusive Tort Lawyers

At long last, there's good news in the fight against "jackpot justice" tort claims and the nefarious law firms that file them. In courts and legislatures across the country, fraudulent lawsuits are being exposed, and the abusive tort lawyers that file them are finally getting a taste of their own medicine. Most notable is the recent indictment of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, the nation's most notorious class-action law firm. For four decades, Milberg Weiss has filed hundreds of dubious class-action lawsuits and wrung billions of dollars from terrified companies.

Now, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles has indicted Milberg Weiss and individual partners on multiple counts of conspiracy, racketeering, obstruction of justice, mail fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns. For over twenty years, according to the U.S. Attorney, the firm brazenly paid kickbacks to repeat plaintiffs in order to serve as lead counsel in class-action lawsuits. Worse, according to prosecutors, the firm continued to do so while aware that it was under investigation.

Long-known for overzealously employing "professional plaintiffs" to extort settlements and jury awards from companies (for example, individual defendant Seymour Lazar served as plaintiff in no fewer than seventy lawsuits), Milberg Weiss stands accused of the very type of misconduct that it wantonly alleged against companies and even entire industries. An even greater irony is that Milberg Weiss faces the same "death sentence" suffered by companies like Arthur Andersen, one of its frequent past targets.

Those of us who have witnessed Milberg Weiss's abusive tactics through the years can be forgiven for taking delight in seeing the chickens finally coming home to roost. As former Milberg Weiss mastermind Bill Lerach once said, "the whole industry was a fraud," and, "so much fraud, so little time." In the case of abusive class-action law firms like Milberg Weiss, we couldn't agree more.

In similar fashion, rail company and frequent asbestos-lawsuit target CSX has turned the tables against the law firm of Peirce, Raimond & Coulter, which had filed literally thousands of asbestos claims against CSX and other companies. CSX discovered that plaintiffs in one of Peirce's lawsuits fraudulently substituted each other's x-rays in order to duplicate advantageous diagnoses. Accordingly, CSX sued the employees, who confessed and testified that they asked Peirce attorneys to dismiss the lawsuit, but that Peirce nevertheless proceeded with the case. On that basis, CSX sued the Peirce firm for fraud, misrepresentation, and negligence, the very types of claims that Peirce had alleged in thousands of lawsuits. CSX further claims that Peirce maintained the x-rays and knew about the false diagnoses, and that it repeatedly retained a physician whom a federal court accused of manufacturing false silicosis diagnoses.

More here



Top banker condemns British legal system: "The Governor of the Bank of England last night delivered a ferocious attack on Britain's civil legal system, condemning it as a monopoly run mainly for lawyers' benefit and urging the Government to reform it. Mervyn King told City leaders at the Mansion House in London that the Bank's painful experience of the 13-year case brought against it over the collapse of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) showed that the system of civil commercial law was gravely flawed. Denouncing the case and its 100 million pounds in legal costs as "the most expensive fishing expedition in history," Mr King said: "It matters that there are simple, clear and timely ways of resolving disputes. What the BCCI case revealed was a legal system incapable of guaranteeing that." ... He noted that the action against the Bank of England over its role in BCCI's 1991 collapse had set new trial records. "How can a case described by the trial judge himself as built `not even on sand but on air' take 13 years and over 100 million pounds in costs to come to a conclusion?" he asked".

Some job aptitudes inborn: "The researchers are finding that vocational interests are primarily the products of genetics and unique, or nonshared, environmental factors, with shared family experiences holding less sway. The research may indicate why some individuals are predisposed to careers in engineering. It might also explain the high occurrence of autism in the families of engineers. Wendy Johnson, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Minnesota, is in the vanguard of the research. She and her colleagues are using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reveal the relative placement and volume of gray matter in the brain. They are also using the technique to determine to what degree the brain is influenced by genetic vs. environmental factors."

Fireworks Over Fireworks: "As we approach July 4 each year, the bureaucratic busybodies kick into high gear, warning us against a hallowed tradition and its immense fun. "Fireworks are a wonderful way to celebrate Independence Day," New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted on June 8, "but it's critical that we leave it to the professionals. . . . In the hands of an untrained individual, fireworks can have deadly consequences." Apparently, John Adams's famous exhortation that untrained individuals celebrate the country's birthday with "Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other" cuts no ice with the mayor and his ilk. On this, as on so many matters, poor John's advice is far too radical for our safety-cap-and-security-camera age."

French wine going down the drain: "At least one in ten of Europe's vineyards must be dug up under radical European Commission proposals to help the embattled wine industry to fight back against increasingly tough competition from New World growers. The survival plan is designed to drain the infamous wine lake, to remove restrictive winemaking and labelling practices and to encourage the production and marketing of quality wines for which there is growing demand.... Currently, EU funds are used to store and distil the wine, turning it into ethanol for cars and factories."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 2004 Voter Theft Theory Debunked: "Cleveland's leading newspaper has checked out a new article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claiming that Republicans "stole" the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, and concluded that Kennedy's story is "nonsense." ... But the Cleveland Plain Dealer - regarded as anything but a conservative newspaper - headlines a June 18 article: "Rest assured, we checked out Election 2004 thoroughly," and states: "There was no shortage of mistakes made in vote counting. There were voters who should have been registered but weren't, polling places with lines that were too long and without enough voting machines, and decisions from [Secretary of State Ken] Blackwell that appeared to be partisan. "All these mistakes and misjudgments took votes from both candidates, but probably more from Kerry. But they didn't add up to nearly enough votes to swing Ohio from Bush to Kerry. "The mistakes were bipartisan in nature and not a result of Republican chicanery." The Plain Dealer article by Ted Diadiun points to several instances when Kennedy "ignored" the facts"



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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