Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

All four hooves and the snout at the State Fair.

   In America, the desire for (more) money and material things is viewed as a positive quality. It drives the economy. It is the dynamic behind the free market. In the couple of weeks since the disaster at the State Fairs, plaintiffs' law firms have made an embarrassment of our profession in their efforts to be first to jump in and show themselves to be the champions of the downtrodden---the downtrodden being those who lost their lives or were injured when the stage collapsed before Sugarland was to take the stage.

   The lawsuit that was difficult to fathom was class-action filed with disregard for the Indiana Tort Claims Act. You see, a state has to allow itself to be sued. Thus, Indiana has developed a statutory format for such litigation. The claimant files a notice of claim with the State. Within 90 days the State can elect to pay or reject the claim. If the latter, a jurisdictional prerequisite has been met and the claimant can proceed with a lawsuit. In this particular instance, a law firm held itself as protector of the rights of the victims of the disaster and filed the class-action, as I understand, on the same day as the tort claim notice was served. Not only was that silly, but the firm that filed it knows better than to have done so. The firm is a damn good firm.

   The firm said it would waive any fees obtained in the action. That is what I do not understand. Where was the motivaton to file an action prematurely? Other firms have been on the field of play here. They have done so to beat the competition and get to unrepresented persons first. The lure of a case with (presumably) unquestionable liability and lots of damages is great.  Bringing a class action case makes no sense. Generally, the lawyers benefit from a class action case. There is a (big) recovery. After the fees are taken, individual class members receive small fractions of what was obtained. If the attorneys who sought to bring this action really wanted no fees, why not say they were going to bring the action and not ask for fees? That would have attracted clients.

   The bottom line is, it is one thing to be a little greedy. It is entirely different to jump into the trough with all four hooves and the snout. In this instance, I'm not sure what the lawyers were thinking. Apparently they were not thinking about Indiana Code 34-4-13, et seq., Indiana's Tort Claims Act.    

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