Thursday, August 25, 2011

Would a Republican-controlled House finish off our justice system?

Philip Thomas has an excellent post up about the possible effects of a Republican-controlled Mississippi House of Representatives on Mississippi's justice system. Most readers of this blog know how dramatically the legal market in Mississippi nosedived after tort reform in the early 2000's. Now Republican Gubernatorial nominee Phil Bryant has designs on taking it even further, into a "loser pays" system.

I'm sure a good number of folks in the defense bar will no doubt support Republican candidates for the House, and their staff will as well, no matter how detrimental such support may be to their own interests. Why is it detrimental? Well, a "loser pays" system would all but shut the courthouse doors to people without enormous sums of money. That means dramatically fewer lawsuits, and therefore, less work for defense attorneys. Less work for defense attorneys means less defense firms, less demand for paralegals, clerical jobs, and office real estate. The spiral is plainly evident, and we even have recent history as a guide. Philip's done a great job laying all of this out at his blog, and I strongly suggest you head over there to read his work.


Josh said...

What a joke...OH the poor poor lawyers would all have to take their millions of dollars and retire and move out of the state. The country clubs across the state would immediately shut down. Private schools everywhere would sit empty with no students to fill their desks. Bars and restaurants would have to lay people off because there would be no lawyers to drink their booze.

HA! I can see the tumble weeds blowing down the deserted streets of Jackson and an old weathered and tattered man sitting in front of a boarded up office building with a cup and sign "Lawyer: will sue for food."

My heart just breaks for all of the billboard advertising, "one call", will sue for you lawyers.

Cottonmouth said...

Ah, that old familiar class warfare Republicans are always accusing Democrats of....

jurisdeacon said...

This lawyer would not take his millions and retire. The bank would take what little he has. And the student loan company would get screwed. And the money that I contribute to the economy would be gone. Maybe I could go work for one of the insurance companies or multinational corporations who would be enriched by the plans Phil Bryant has. Trickle down economics works all the time, right?

Anderson said...

Josh appears supremely confident that nothing bad will ever happen to him or his loved ones, such that they might need to file suit to recover for their pain and suffering. I hope he's right.

Damage caps will be repealed when enough affluent, presentable white Republicans have been screwed by them. It's a matter of time.

James said...

Gosh, what a terrible scene. Fewer lawyers and law firms, because there would be fewer lawsuits. Why? According to Matt, its because the person suing would not be willing to do so - because he might have to pay the costs for carrying someone to court.

Under the current system, someone claims an 'injury' caused by someone else. The person claiming to be damanged hires a lawyer. But it doesn't cost him anything, since the lawyer is willing to take it on a contingency. (Go to the old Ross Barnett Sr joke when he explained to his potential client what a 'contengincy' was. I digress.)

The person who suppossedly damanged/injured the person now has to hire a lawyer to defend him. Even if there is no basis in the lawsuit, this individual has to expend money on a defense lawyer.

Current system - if there is found to be no injury, the winner still pays. To his defense attorney. And the loser is out nothing. Would take those odds to any casino.

Current system also - even without a hint of fault, the defendent 'settles' just because it is cheaper than having to continue paying his defense attorney. Ergo, the plantiff makes money and his lawyer makes even more.

In a loser pays system, the defendent is more willing to go to trial in frivilous cases, with the settlement attractiveness gone.

Seems to me all those in favor of good, honest justice would appreciate a loser pays system. Those that are truly injured get their justice. Those that are claiming to be damaged while rolling the perverbial craps, stay out of the system.

Oh, I forgot, about the unemployed lawyers. Guess they do what the unemployed buggy-whip makers do. Go find another specialty in the field or find another profession.

Maybe they could take up blogging, Matt. Give a little competition there!