How Long Does The RIAA Get To Abuse The Legal System?

from the keep-on-suing dept

The RIAA has dropped its file-sharing suit against an Oklahoma mother who had no connection to any such activities, beyond paying an ISP bill. Good news -- sort of. The case was dropped after the woman filed a claim to have it dismissed, then faced with the prospect their case would be thrown out, the RIAA asked -- and was allowed -- to withdraw it on their own instead. This is basically the same scenario as that of a Michigan woman who the group sued because her kids were alleged to be file-sharing, though in this most recent case, the RIAA will have to pay the defandant's legal bills. Several questions are raised here, but first and foremost is why does the RIAA simply get to drop these lawsuits with little or no repercussions when it becomes clear they're bogus? Again and again, the RIAA has filed these spurious lawsuits, simply bullying people and employing dubious tactics. And despite not ever actually winning a fully litigated case, instead just trying to steamroll people into paying ridiculous damages, the RIAA rolls on. At some point, shouldn't somebody put a stop to these bogus suits, and force the RIAA to own up to the consequences of using the legal system as its personal sandbox? The costs of these individual cases mean nothing to the RIAA, even if they have to pay a defendant's legal bills, but the costs to the people they're suing -- who are often innocent, but are bullied into settling -- are significant. Why are they allowed to continue? Keep in mind, too, that the lawsuits have done nothing to stop file-sharing.


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    Helsturm, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 3:13pm

    RE: RIAA

    "The costs of these individual cases mean nothing to the RIAA, even if they have to pay a defendant's legal bills,..."

    Neither does the cost of lobbying. It really is less about the RIAA and more about the political sturucture of the US. There are not the first ones to use/abuse the system, and the definitely not be the last.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:21pm

    the RIAA are terrorists

     

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      Morder, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:29pm

      Re:

      "the RIAA are terrorists"
      I like this.

      When you buy a CD you're supporting TERROR!

      Fight Back! FILE SHARE!

       

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        NOnnies, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 5:04pm

        Re: Re:

        "the RIAA are terrorists"
        I like this.

        When you buy a CD you're supporting TERROR!

        Fight Back! FILE SHARE!



        Like it too man
        "Peace"

         

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    Albert M. Menduni, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:26pm

    RIAA "Legal" Tactics

    As a retired physician, I can tell you this is not the only use/abuse of our tort system. My colleagues and I have faced abusive legal tactics by the "legal" system, worsening over the last three decades. There are never any consequences to the abusive plaintiffs or their lawyers. In medicine contingency fees have allowed unscrupulous lawyers to get rich while plaintiffs, even those with valid suits, receive little; while their lawyers make money to pay for their third vacation homes and their filth alimony payments. For physicians the injuries by our present tort system are the emotional damage done to conscientious providers as well as the economic consequences. Our legal system primarily shows that you get as much justice as you can afford.

    Only tort reform that provides for the financial rewards are paid to the winning defendant for damages both financial and emotional will reduce the absurd way the American tort system behaves.

    Good luck to all of us. In a perfect world some legislature will eventually get the courage to begin the return to sanity in our corts.

     

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      anonymous coward, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:29pm

      Re: RIAA "Legal" Tactics

      Hey, Doc, I guess those legal abuses weren't so onerous that you couldn't make enough money to retire.

      S.T.F.U.

       

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        Albert M. Menduni, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:41pm

        Re: Re: RIAA "Legal" Tactics

        Actually I fell and fractured my back, if it's any of your business. An ad hominen argument is usually considered a low shot, by the way.

        Maybe only music producers and actors and lawyers should be allowed to retire.

         

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        Vay, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:45pm

        Re: Re: RIAA "Legal" Tactics

        You sir are an idiot troll. The kind Dr was simply pointing out the end result of allowing lawyers to make the laws.

        "My God man, we can vote ourselves a raise!"

         

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        Doc Pat, Jul 28th, 2006 @ 6:47am

        Re: Re: RIAA "Legal" Tactics

        What a moronic comment to make.... it is people like him (retired doctor) who have paid taxes who support people like you.

         

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        dnm, Mar 22nd, 2008 @ 2:24pm

        Re: Re: RIAA "Legal" Tactics

        you must be a liberal

         

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      Antonio, Aug 9th, 2006 @ 9:18am

      Re: RIAA "Legal" Tactics

      Dr.Menduni how does one go about getting in touch with you for more information and related matters?

       

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    I, for one, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:42pm

    My idea

    We could all club together, raise a couple of million, hire a unit of ex SAS mercs for the day and have them visit the RIAA offices, execute every last man, woman and child in the building and raze it to the ground with HE ?

    Probem solved once and for all.

    But...

    ONCE AND FOR ALL!

    Im stuggling for creative answers here...somebody help me out...

     

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    Adam, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 6:12pm

    Not only is ad hominem a "low blow"

    its almost exclusively a logical fallacy....


    nevermind the trolls Dr. you'll have to excuse the internet-going general public from expectations of intelligent thought, sad but true.

     

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    Open Court, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 6:21pm

    RIAA and Tort Reform

    No one should get special privileges under our legal system.

    Neither malpracticing doctors who think they should not have to pay for their injurious conduct which causes permanent brain injuries to children which they want to limit to $250K- nor the RIAA.

    Make them try their case and pay the legal fees and damages is they are wrong.

    Our system works. The Judge will reduce the damages if they are too much. The damage must be reasonable in relation to the injury sustained.

    Who should make the laws, Idiot Trolls like Vay or Lawyers who understand that everyone wants special treatment, especially Doctors. The insurance companies have the VAYs and the doctors thinking there are too many law suits. On the otherhand they do not want to have their executive compensative examined($39M for Progressive's CEO) or their profits ($44 Billion for 2005-their best ever)

    It is obvious the Vay trolls and Docs will digest all the barnyard swill and not point the finger at the right one.

    Riaa is exposed, but only when their target is innocent,
    not when the target is guilty and will lose in the litigation process.

    Open Court

     

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      I, for one, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 7:08pm

      Re: RIAA and Tort Reform

      Very timely comment.

      http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/06/07/13/2218259.shtml

      Looks like they got scared, filed to dismiss before they had a chance to lose.

      Don't worry, we'll nail them eventually and I hope the court tears them apart when the time comes.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2006 @ 11:59am

      Re: RIAA and Tort Reform

      No one should get special privileges under our legal system.
      But that's what the whole US Legal system is based on: Privileges for the wealthy who can afford the "fees" required to prevail.
      Our system works.
      For the wealthy. One can literally get away with murder if they have enough money.
      Lawyers who understand that everyone wants special treatment
      But who believe it should be reserved for those who can "pay to play".
      Riaa is exposed, but only when their target is innocent,
      not when the target is guilty and will lose in the litigation process.
      Many people cave in to the RIAA simply because they can't afford the legal costs to pursue justice, not because they are guilty. You may believe the system is working but I say it's badly broken.

       

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    Concerned Momma, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 7:13pm

    Only tort reform that provides for the financial rewards are paid to the winning defendant for damages both financial and emotional will reduce the absurd way the American tort system behaves.
    *****************************************************

    This is very true. Like it or not (sidestepping the snide comment made by poster 5 which really shows a lack of intelligence) He makes a valid point. You scream about the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs but how do you think it got that way?? Bender and Bender and every other ambulance chasing lawyer out to make a killing on the next ridiculous lawsuit that overinflates the "victim's" income for an error, valid or not that was made.

    We push to have FDA shorten limits on testing new drugs then sue the pants off the drug companies when they can't finish sufficient testing. Now they're all moving overseas to protect themselves and putting the US at risk should we have an epidemic or a shortage (recall the flu vaccine snafu).

    Seems off topic, but it is just another oozing sore that is our legal system. If you really want to get snide with someone, sic your sarcasm on the lawyers that are really causing all the damage. I congratulate you Doc, that you survived through your practice to retire. You deserve it!!

     

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    Micheal Rossiter, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 5:16am

    how to stop the RIAA (and the MPAA if you want)

    All it takes in each US state (and one per country for Europe), is to file a frivolous litigant motion.

    Basically this says that the person is abusing the legal system to file frivolous claims and they cannot file ANY court case AT ALL without direct permission from the highest court in that state/EU country.

    Basically the RIAA files cases knowing most people will panic and give in...its basically illegal extortion.

    Hey RIAA if you want to try to sue ME go ahead, I just called you a bunch of blackmailing extortionists who abuse the legal system to try to steal money from the public. I would LOVE to have them try to sue me so I could crush them in the UK courts...even if they drop the case, under UK law I can file a counterclaim for upto 100x whatever they try to claim from me!

    (they ask for £1000 then I can countersue for £100,000 for the frivolous lawsuit)

     

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      Rosebelle, Nov 3rd, 2009 @ 4:07pm

      Re: how to stop the RIAA (and the MPAA if you want)

      Hi, just wanted to comment about filing frivolous claims against people abusing the legal system. My aunt was in litigation over a lawsuit and she won the case 100%. The opposing attorney just recently filed an appeal and lost on the appeal. Now they are appealing in a different court. In addition to this, they are also filing a motion to reopen discovery and start over again. Of course, all the while, my aunt has to pay her attorney to respond to all these motions. This case has cost my aunt so much money and the opposing side is taking advantage of her recently getting laid off so they know she will be out of money soon. This is harrassment right here and she wanted to file a frivolous claim but has not money to do so and her attorney advised that courts rarely award legal fees in frivolous claims so it's really a cost analysis for my aunt. There should be a simple law that says if you sue someone and you lost, you pay for winning side's legal costs. This should deter people from abusing the legal system and filing frivolous lawsuits.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 6:22am

    The solution is simple:

    If you sue someone for an amount of money, and you drop the case or lose the cast, you have to pay the defendant the amount you sued for.

     

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    Sanguine Dream, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 6:56am

    The problem is...

    like people have already pointed out is the fact that the corporations can literally pay politicians to get the law to swing anyway they want.

     

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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 14th, 2006 @ 7:05am

    There's one point that's missing in the discussion about Tort, malpractice, healthcare costs, et. al.

    Let's break the cycle down. And I have a niche inside this cycle, so yes, I do know some of what I'm talking about.

    Lawsuit is filed, and a doctor's malpractice coverage has to pay out multi-millions of dollars. The premium for the insurance is increased, which means the doctor has to pay more for it. The doctor has no choice (no, I'm right... no choice) but to pass that cost on to his source of income (basic business here). These rising costs means that healthcare insurance has to pay more for doctor's bills. That increased cost is passed onto the insurance company's source of income: us. And some of us (not accusing anyone here of this...) decide to recoup that by finding a lawyer who will drum up the simplest infraction into a multi-million dollar malpractice suit.

    That's why we pay more for health insurance. So, all of you people out that got rich off of an unnecessary malpractice suit... I only wish the doctor had killed you instead of just hurting you.

    The thing that's out of hand and that needs to be reformed is the "pain and suffering" claims. If yon Dr. makes a mistake while performing his duties on me, I would expect compensation for the added costs of fixing that mistake. That would include any costs for rehabilitation, added inconvenience (i.e. opening my home's doorways to make it wheelchair compatible), and maybe a bit of an "I'm sorry" payment.

    What I should not get is multiple-millions of dollars because I'm going to walk with a slight limp for the rest of my life.

    Bottom line is this: if I'm injured, I should be indemnified. That means I should be put back to the financial position I was at before the injury. I should not benefit from that injury.

    I don't know what's worse: the fact that so many of us Americans try to retire in our 30's by winning the Lawsuit Lottery, or that there are more than enough lawyers who are willing to sell their souls to help.

    So yeah, Coward at Comment#5... bash Doctors all you want... Bitch about how they make money and have nice stuff. You know what? They fucking earned it. That's who's keeping us alive. That's who's motivated themselves to endless education (they're not done after med-school, you know) in order to help other people get better... to make a positive difference in the world. How many doctors do you know decided to become a doctor as a get-rich-quick scheme? So, next time you decide to make a forum entry just so you can show how cool you are by using trite, overused and unoriginal net speak... how about we think a bit first.

     

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    Sanguine Dream, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 7:50am

    Re: #17


    The thing that's out of hand and that needs to be reformed is the "pain and suffering" claims. If yon Dr. makes a mistake while performing his duties on me, I would expect compensation for the added costs of fixing that mistake. That would include any costs for rehabilitation, added inconvenience (i.e. opening my home's doorways to make it wheelchair compatible), and maybe a bit of an "I'm sorry" payment.


    I agree. I personally think a lawsuit should only cover medical damages which includes rehab and having to readjust you life for the injury (such as paying for a handicap tag for your car, widening hallways for wheelchair access, etc...) and lost wages if you can return to work. If the injury prevents you from working for the rest of your life then and only then should the suit be significantly increased because it's the fault of the one that injured you that you can't work anymore. However like you say people get out of hand with numbers.

    Some do it becuase they actually want less so they take the RIAA approach and start high and settle for less.

    Some do it because they are just trying to get rich. Contrary to what you think you don't deserve $30 million for losing a finger.

    And some sue for some off the wall amount of money becuase they simply know that that law firm working their case is gonna take at least 1/3 as soon as the judge bangs the gavel to end the case.

    I know that lawyers go through a lot to make in their profession (several years of schooling that costs a lot of money) but is it really fair that they take 1/3+ of a client's winnings? When it's all said and done the client is leaving the courtroom with those injuries and has to figure out how to properly use the remaining money to live and the lawyer will shake the client's hand hop in his $100K car and ride off in the sunset.

     

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    Buc Nasty, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 9:02am

    Re: Post 17

    People should get millions of dollars if they walk with a slight limp due to the fact that the patients quality of life has been altered and downgraded. How much is it worth to you to NEVER swim again due to *slight limp* or never really be able to seriously pursue a recreationall discipline that requires an aspect or *that* physical faculty as whole?! So basically your saying that mine, yours, and everyone else's physical discipline should be capped at $xxx, I beg to differ. How much is being able to play airplane with your child or jog with your dog to you? All the same I don't mean to insult, and to a degree there is some validity to your perspective, it's just that this(physical faculty) is the only thing some people that don't money have to rely on that feeds, clothes, and shelters themselves and their families and that sir IMHO cannot and should not be capped.

     

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      Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 14th, 2006 @ 11:33am

      Re: Re: Post 17

      Buc, you make a valid point. That slight impairment might seriously impact a person's ability to provide for their family based on whatever their profession was before. And that family could face some significant changes.

      But let's look at this realistically here...

      "How much is being able to play airplane with your child or jog with your dog to you?"

      That's the kind of mentality that makes the lawyers drool. How is $5mil (number from thin air here), of which you only get a small portion, going to make up for it? Are you going to use that money to hire a person to play airplane with your kid? Are you going to pay someone to jog with your dog then tell you about it? BS. That large chunk of pain & suffering money is not used to ease P&S, it's used to make people rich. And if being rich is a good trade-off for playing with your kids... yeah. Find me one person who'd agree to that. I agree that a price or a limit cannot be placed on those kinds of things. I will also say that the answer is not "let's rub it with money until it doesn't hurt anymore".

      I see where you're coming from on the idea of limits. At first blush, having someone tell you "your pain and suffering is limited to $XX" can sound pretty insulting. "How dare you tell me how much I'm suffering!".

      No. What I'm talking about is limiting the amount of money you get for that.

      Loss of income and loss of earning capacity is different. That can be qualified and quantified. You can sit down a math that out.

      And above all, what about society on a whole. We've seen that uncapped P&S awards have driven up healthcare costs to the point that a good majority of our citizens cannot even afford to go to a doctor. We've seen that the current system is flawed. We've seen that the root of that flaw is uncontrolled litigation and P&S awards. Why not change that.

      You say it shouldn't be changed, but I say it must change. Otherwise, nothing will ever be fixed.

       

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        Bill, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 1:05pm

        Re: Re: Re: Post 17

        I can't agree with your stance concerning P&S for several reasons, mainly being you cannot predict the future.

        I coached High School baseball and a 16 year old player was injured when hit by a UPS driver who was later to be found high on drugs at the time of the accident. The kid had hip replacement surgery as well as 5 other operations, spanning 6 months time. He is in perpetual rehab and will be for life. He can walk, talk and even jog but with some pain afterwards. He was scouted by 8 MLB teams at the time of the accident. The doctor's did a great job piecing him back together.

        Point being, what is the pain that wakes him at night sobbing worth? How about the loss of playing professional baseball, which was his dream since 5 years old and something in which he gave up thousands of hours of youth to get better at. How about the fact that he can't play the game AT ALL FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE, his favorite thing to do.

        After medical expenses, he walked away from court with about $5MIL. Under the scenario of tort reform, he would get what $80K for the loss of almost all that is important to him in life. He is now a 28 year old man and a volunteer coach for me. He still cries when we talk about it and he will never get over it.

        12 years later and he has not gotten over it. He lost his dreams and everything that he worked his ass off to achieve. What is that worth to you?

         

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          Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 14th, 2006 @ 1:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: Re: Post 17

          "12 years later and he has not gotten over it. He lost his dreams and everything that he worked his ass off to achieve. What is that worth to you?"
          -Bill


          And again... how will money make that all better? If he still cries about it after 12 years, if he is still that emotionally damaged, how has that $5mil helped? How has his pain and suffering been alleviated?

          I would say add counseling to the medical rehabilitation. That would be a hellova lot more appropriate than just dumping money on the problem.

          Counseling, and all of the expenses you stated, is something that can be calculated. No, you can't predict the future, but you can statistically predict it with startling accuracy.

          A lot of people's dreams are shattered by events beyond their control. What about them? What happens when there's not a specific person or persons to blame for the injury? Should they sue god/fate/nature? What happens if the wind blows a tree down onto my house, crushing me in my bed? What about my pain and suffering?

          Just because there is a set of pockets in sight, doesn't mean that P&S should be paid until the person feels better. No disrespect to the person in your example... but we can't rely on the idea of "until you feel better". Human greed will leave that door open forever.

          I'm not saying that people shouldn't be compensated for their loss. I'm not saying that P&S is not a form of loss. But there should be a limit placed on it. Currently, we rely on the definition of "reasonable". That obviously has not worked to this point.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2006 @ 12:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Post 17

            A lot of people's dreams are shattered by events beyond their control. What about them? What happens when there's not a specific person or persons to blame for the injury? Should they sue god/fate/nature?
            OK, based on several of your statements I see where you're coming from now: Doctors should be treated as gods. A lot of people believe that way, until they get hurt by a doctor, and then they tend to loose their religion. Others of us know better in the first place.

             

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              Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 17th, 2006 @ 8:10am

              Re: Post 17

              "OK, based on several of your statements I see where you're coming from now: Doctors should be treated as gods. A lot of people believe that way, until they get hurt by a doctor, and then they tend to loose their religion. Others of us know better in the first place."
              -Anonymous Coward (big surprise, there)


              Unfortunately, it seems that "others of us" do not refrain from skewing statements far out of context simply to make an ad hominem attack.

              If you want to take that interpretation from what I've said, then more power to you. There is little hope of swaying such a closed mind and I won't even waste my time.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:11pm

                Re: Re: Post 17

                Hey Gabriel,
                What do you need the poster's ID for? A little intimidation?
                Care to post YOUR real name, address, phone number, etc.?
                Didn't think so (NOT a big surprise).

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:27pm

                Re: Re: Post 17

                Unfortunately, it seems that "others of us" do not refrain from skewing statements far out of context simply to make an ad hominem attack.
                You compared suing doctors to suing god and the idea that the two are comparable was rebutted. I you want to consider rebuttals of your ideas to be "ad hominem" attacks then there is not even a little hope or swaying your mind. The rebuttal is for others to consider.

                 

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    raybone, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 10:13am

    Just a few quick comments...The courts were initially set up to empower the people and decisions should stay in the jury's hands. Ergo, there should be NO limits of any kind on litigation. If a jury sees fit to award a billion dollars, then the judge or an appeal can temper the award. I personally feel that if corperations could be completely taken out by a justified lawsuit, perhaps they would behave more consideratly.

     

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    You Want to be the Doctor?, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 11:02am

    They Know Not What They Do

    My brother is a surgeon. Not a doctor, a surgeon. Four years college, five years Med school (not some lame three year law program that any flunky PoliSci major can tackle), three years residency, .... And he's paying for all of this, not being paid mind you. So then he's 30something and a gainful member of the workforce, up to his eyeballs in BIG debt. Now bring on the lawyers and the "health care system." Throw that docotr-patient relationship crap out the window, because our two antagonists won't hear of it. Blah, blah, blah. So after a DECADE of study and work, he finally performs his first gall bladder surgery. The patient is billed over $3,000. My brother? His check is for less than $800 for several hours work (my last lawyer--a crook to be sure--billed at $400/hr. to no effect) before taxes and insurance premiums. But you know what? If you work enough 16 hour days for enough years, yeah, you DO have a nice house, and car, and boat, and other toys. I don't begrudge him a single one of them. I sure as hell would never have gone through what he has been through to get to where he is today. Trust me, the most of you, you wouldn't either. The next time you need a doctor, remember to say thank you. And when you get the bill--shoot the lawyer, not the doctor.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2006 @ 12:26pm

      Re: They Know Not What They Do

      His check is for less than $800 for several hours work
      Your brother's a little slow, isn't he?

       

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    Sorry Dr, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 1:19pm

    Umm, not so fast

    So doctors are completely innocent? I diagnosed myself online with Pneumonia 4 years ago after pleading and debating with 4 Dr's at the local clinic (I had to healthcare during the .com death).

    They refused to give me the proper medication. 1 week later my roomate gets VERY ill. Goes to his doctor which he has health coverage for. Diagnoses Pneumonia, he comes home with a mask and information about how easy it is to contract from others.

    I go back to the clinic with my info, and they now give me the drugs.

    THIS is professional? Going on MY word? Not SPENDING the money to give me test for Penumonia?

    Stop pointing the fingers JUST at lawyers, Doctors are pretty friggin bad too. They dismiss you in 5 minutes, hate when you bring in a grocery list of ailments that you are having and generally are dimissive.

    The legal system as well as the health care system are corrupt beyond all hope. Its a question of which came first, the chiken or the egg.

    Both should be rejected.

     

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    Bangy, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 2:08pm

    No more PC

    Why law is considered one of the "noble" professions is beyond me. They produce absolutely NOTHING of lasting benefit to society other than interpretations of its laws, important to be sure but not deserving a 10th of what they bill. But when you end up allowing these parasites to control their own pay scale and twist the law to their own benefit via lobbies and direct actions through political channels then there is a problem. The Blockbuster lawsuit is a perfect example. BB overcharged late fees to customers and was dragged into a class-action suit. Customers were "renumerated" via a coupon for a free rental. The legal firm that tried the case? 90 million. Anyone who thinks this acceptable really should get an RX for lithium.

     

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      Scott, Jul 31st, 2006 @ 2:14pm

      Re: No more PC

      Ask people who live in countries where there is no rule of law whether they think a profession that defends the rule of law is a noble thing. People in this country take a lot of things for granted, including the free exercise of their rights. However, without lawyers, most of those rights would have long ago been curtailed by the government. Many of the founding fathers were lawyers. Look at the excesses of the current administration: Indefinite detention at Gitmo; warrantless wiretapping; warrantless review of bank records, etc. Are those abuses being reigned in by doctors or politicians? No. By lawyers. The Gitmo detentions have already been challenged and defeated. Now those held must be accorded basic human rights guaranteed by the Geneva Convention. Want more examples? Desegregation, abortion rights, freedom from state sponsored religion and the right to protest. All are rights obtained by lawyers.

      As for your blockbuster example, it illustrates the ignorance of most people about the point behind such suits. Blockbuster overcharged millions of dollars. They just did it in small increments. Who can afford to take on Blockbuster over a few dollars? Does that mean it's okay for Blockbuster to steal money from all of its customers as long as they take from everyone and only a little bit? Of course not. So, how do you stop it? You band everyone together in a class and you sue them. The lawyers who took it on agreed to fight a billion dollar corporation knowing that they could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and get nothing. The outcome of the case is that Blockbuster had to give a coupon to everyone it stole from (which cost each Blockbuster customer nothing), the lawyers got paid for their time and the risk in taking the case and Blockbuster not only stopped the practice, but paid enough to have an incentive not to do it again. Thus, every Blockbuster customer got something now and going forward that they would not have had without lawyers willing to go to bat for them all as a whole. And, it cost them nothing.

      You'll find that most class action lawsuits are similar. The point is that too many companies beleive they can damage millions of people only a little bit and can get away with it. Class actions operate under the priniciple that no company has the right to steal, defraud, injure or otherwise damage its customers, regardless of the amount involved for each individual. Without these suits, corporations would have free reign to do such things.

       

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        houdini, Sep 15th, 2008 @ 1:21pm

        Re: Re: No more PC

        the problem wih class action suits is that they are arrogant. just because I lost .99 cents on video purchase doesn't give johnny lawyer the right to profit from it by bringing a class action suit on my behalf when I didn't ask him too.

        "But corporation xyz took 99 cents from you, it isn't fair, we are defending your rights, joe consumer."

        nobody asked you too johnny lawyer. You don't speak for me. Go away.

         

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    fentex, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 8:01pm

    Vexatious litigents

    There is a thing in British law I think called the 'Vexatious Litigent'.

    If someone is declared to be such a thing (I have no idea how the process works) their ability to bring suit is severly restricted.

    IIRC, People become declared Vexatious Litigators after a history of repeated hopefless abuse in bringing suits.

    Is it possible such a thing exists in the U.S and could be brought to bear on the RIAA?

    I would imagine it doesn't exist in the U.S, and even if it did it'd probably require court cases to have been concluded repeatedly wtih decisions against the RIAA (when none have ever come to a conclusion in trial).

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2006 @ 12:30pm

      Re: Vexatious litigents

      I have no idea how the process works
      How the process works is the most important part because, as they say, "the devil is in the details".

       

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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:23pm

    re: Post 17

    "You compared suing doctors to suing god and the idea that the two are comparable was rebutted. I you want to consider rebuttals of your ideas to be "ad hominem" attacks then there is not even a little hope or swaying your mind. The rebuttal is for others to consider."
    -AC

    No, I did not compare suing doctors to suing god. I did not state that the two were comparible. You drew that (incorrect) conclusion.

    My statement was to draw into question whether a lawsuit or a P&S claim is something that is indemnify an injury. My point was: if no one is to blame, and the lawsuits makes it all better, who should be sued?

    If you read the full post from which you quoted, you'd see that I was not talking about the full lawsuit in general. I was talking about the P&S claims that do little to ease pain & suffering.

    And the ad hominem attack was way you skewed my words with the intent to make my statements seem over-simplified and to belittle me in the face of the "others of us [who] know better in the first place".

     

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    Scott, Jul 28th, 2006 @ 1:27pm

    Tort Reform Misinformation

    The claim that insurance costs have skyrocketed due to tort litigation is a lie. Both the frequency of awards and the amount of awards have dropped consistently the last 10 years. The cost of insurance has skyrocketed due to poor investment decisions by insurance companies during the dotcom era. Events such as 9/11 also caused premium increases. By focusing attention on lawyers, insurance companies have been able to show record profits the last few years while convincing the naive that it was the bad old lawyers. Statistics also show that the average net pay for physicians has also increased. That's after accounting for med-mal premiums.

    If lawyers were truly the problem, significant tort reform would result in lower insurance premiums, right? No state that has enacted tort reform has seen a significant drop in med-mal rates. Only California has seen such a drop and only because it enacted insurance reform requiring premiums to actually be tied to actuarial risk, as opposed to using premiums to offset other business losses.

    As for the contingency fee system, it is the only way poor litigants can assert their rights. Lawyers take a contingency case knowing that they may spend years litigating against a wealthy corporation and receive nothing at the end. The system thus allows for large recoveries in some cases to offset losses in others. Also, it allows Plaintiff's lawyers to take cases where damages may not be as important as principle. Without this kind of system, only the wealthy could afford to seek redress of their grievances.

    Also, about 5% of the doctors commit about 50% of the malpractice. Yet, in my home state of Oklahoma, it appears that not a single doctor has ever lost a license due to committing multiple malpractice. Sleep with a patient or give out drugs and you're gone. Commit gross negligence over and over and you're okay. I once had a client who had been sued 8 times for malpractice and his insurer had settled every one. He was still practicing.

    Finally, I find it interesting that so many people believe that a jury is intelligent enough to determine whether someone should be executed or spend the remainder of their life imprisoned, but not intelligent enough to decide how much to award someone who has been injured by the negligence of another.

    I have personally been an advocate of comprehensive reform, not just "reform" designed to limit access to the courts for the poor. There are certainly some legal reforms that make sense. Adopting the federal summary judgment rules in state courts, setting a P&S limit (well above $250,000), but a limit nonetheless and discouraging the small number of truly frivolous lawsuits by punishing the attorneys that file them. However, these reforms will change nothing if they aren't coupled with insurance reform, such as tying premium increases to increases in actuarial risk and medical reform, such as drastically increasing the administrative prosecution of bad doctors. Do all three and you'll have a system that compensates victims, punishes wrongdoers, protects the innocent and keeps costs down.

     

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    Todd, Nov 30th, 2007 @ 10:18am

    Everybody cries about being busted for file sharing or ripping a CD. Just pay for the services you use and get over it. You all would be furious if somebody cut your pay or started to steal from you. Why is it any different? Because it does not involve you. I would agree there are some horrendous suits out there, but it does not excuse the action of the people doing the crime.

     

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      Harald, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 4:55pm

      Re:

      To copy a CD that I HAVE PAYED FOR onto MY computer IS NOT theft.
      If you say that, that makes you a liar!
      Besides you cannot steal copyrigth; when you steal something, ANYTHING, the rigthful owner is no longer in possesion of what you stole.

       

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    HEh, Jan 1st, 2008 @ 1:14am

    RIAA and Doctors

    As far as the cost of health care and doctors being sued the answer is real simple. 2 strikes and your out. If you're such a lousy doctor that you keep screwing up then you should not be a doctor. Period, end of story. Revoke all medical licenses after the doc loses 2 cases. Instead what we have is a medical industry that protects it's own. Patients be damned. I have seen this first hand where the entire executive staff at a hospital lied on the stand to protect a drug addict doctor. Only one of the hospital's doctors would not play ball. But guess what? He was the one that had to go find a new hospital to work at. So F.U. doc!

    As for the RIAA this is clearly an anti trust issue. For the various members of the recording industry to pool together so they can keep cd prices artificially high is a clear violation of antitrust laws. But good luck on that front with these no bid contract cocksucking pediphile oil barrons running the country.

    And yes, I hope your offended. You should be.

     

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    Realist, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    The problems is not doctors or lawyers or the health care system. No matter what we do, no matter how much "reform" is made, the real problem will continue to persist. That problem is humanity. We are self-interested to most severe degree. Everyone will do whatever they can to make a buck. The client, the lawyer, the doctor, the corporations. It is this inability to work together for a common good, an inability exacerbated by the encouraging swill of capitalism, that prevents us from being a successful society. Changing the surface problems are not enough. We all need to learn compassion and justice first.

     

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    Dr. Bobby Gossai, Mar 3rd, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    Justice: No Equity, No Dependability

    Privileged Justice Is As Good As Justice With Evil!

     

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