Liability roundup


  • Cy Pres awards are a blot upon the judicial system because they award money to people not involved in the lawsuits, instead of to the people to whom they should, in all rights, go to: the attorneys.


  • Don Fagan on NOLA and Baton Rouge car insurance rates–

    It is not clear what he recommends Louisiana do. Apparently he does not like their jury verdicts, though an earlier reform to reduce access to juries (by raising the minimum threshold for jury trial to $50,000) may have backfired.

    Does he claim that local juries are finding liability where other juries are not,, or that they uncritically accept inflated damage claims? Any examples?

    • In the New Orleans area you would be hard pressed to find one local TV program that doesn’t have at least one, if not a majority, of ads for lawyers services that tout “he got me a gazillion dollars” for my car wreck. Interesting none of the “winners” of the local demolition derby touting the charms of their legal beagles appears to have any lasting damage from their pocketbook enriching car wreck.

      Further, it’s not a stretch to believe that the potential jury pool for these litigations is tainted by these ads, not to mention that they certainly wouldn’t want to return to their own neighborhoods after failing to teach that big, bad, rich insurance company that our people are not to be fooled with by spreading the wealth by giving a big chunk of change to another local. I sometime wonder if juries are in a subliminal challenge of trying to out do the previous “he got me” awards.

      So in the end the insurance company’s response is to simply raise their rates to cover the calculated losses. Insurance is not a scam, but a carefully calculated risk with profit as the ultimate goal. So who are they to care, Louisiana law requires drivers to have car insurance. Go figure.

      • I don’t know about New Orleans, but here in the Sunshine State we too are inundated with those ads. (And remember, we have the very popular firm of Morgan and Morgan here.)

        I have always wondered if those ads that claim that the person “got me a gazillion dollars” is somewhat false advertising. By that I mean that here, by the time the person says what they “got” the small, tiny, barely visible print of actual costs associated with the lawsuit are off the screen. You simply cannot read the fine print. So while a jurr may have awarded a gazillion dollars, the person injured may have only gotten have a gazillion by the time the costs and fees and copying and per diem for coffee, etc are billed as well.

        Interestingly, (at least to me) Morgan and Morgan has fought against the disclosure of fees when advertising as well as in front of a jury but at the same time has ads that talk about how juries should know who would be paying the judgement. The practical result is that Morgan and Morgan want the jury to know the deep pockets of the payee of the judgement, but not the deep pockets where the money goes (theirs.)

        Finally, it would be interesting to see a study on whether mandated insurance has helped or hurt costs of driving for the average law abiding citizen as they are paying for the costs of uninsured motorists as well.