Monday, July 6, 2009
A systematic effort led by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and fueled by political rhetoric has resulted in the common misperception that lawyers are doing things, such as bringing lawsuits on behalf of injured people against doctors, the gun industry, the drug industry, etc. in a manner that is harmful to society as a whole. These various enterprises, in one manner or the other, continuously succeed in obtaining relief from being held accountable for their misdeeds which harm their fellow human beings. Lawyers who press for these entities to be held accountable are criticised as being "greedy" and the phrase "nuisance lawsuits" is tossed around indiscriminately. All the criticism completely overlooks the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (civil redress by a jury of peers) that is guaranteed as a fundamental right to each citizen. As a basic example, if one drives an automobile through a red light at an intersection, the driver expects to be held fully accountable to the person that is injured in the other automobile that is in the intersection lawfully. The person who is injured has the right under the 7th Amendment to obtain redress. The question I put on the table is whether or not being held accountable for one's actions is a basic requirement for living in a free society?