Posted May 18:
I would like to get a "loser pays"
voter initiative onto the ballot in Washington state. I am searching
for an attorney who would be qualified and interested in assisting me to
draft such an initiative. Do you know of any attorney contacts in
Washington that may be sympathetic? -- Dan Shapiro
[If any of our attorney readers out there would be interested in
helping draft such an initiative, presumably on a pro bono basis,
they should contact our editor so that we can pass their names and contact
information on to Mr. Shapiro.]
I have experienced allergic reactions to the NCR (No Carbon Required)
forms discussed in your April
25 item. I found out about the allergy quite by accident, since
I had occasion to work with such items. The symptoms that Brenda
Smith describes are all symptoms that I get when I have direct exposure
to these chemically treated papers (with the exception of bronchitis).
Once I discovered my sensitivity to these NCR forms, I did the prudent
thing -- I limited my exposure to the forms, never rubbed my eyes unless
I washed the chemicals off my hands, and made sure I was in a well-ventilated
room if I had to handle them.
Do I smoke? No, I'm highly allergic to it. Thank goodness...
Am I going to sue the manufacturers? No way. With a little
thought there's always a workaround. Lawsuits aren't workarounds,
they're a sledgehammer approach to life's little indignities and should
only be used in extreme cases. -- Steve Egan, Spokane,
About your May 16 "No
baloney" story: How can anyone bite into something the size of a 9mm bullet
and continue to chew and then swallow it? What's more, if something
the size of a bullet does find its way into the stomach, don't normal bodily
functions take over to ensure that it does not remain there to require
removal by surgery?
I find your page informative and, fortunately or unfortunately, very
entertaining. -- Ken Platt, San Diego
[We wondered the same things.]
I sat in on the Granicy trial in Lancaster, California. [Three
sisters in their 60s who work at Granicy's Feed Store in Lancaster were
charged with repeatedly selling iodine crystals to undercover agents without
proper documentation; the crystals are used to treat hoof ailments in livestock
and to purify water supplies but are also an ingredient in illegal methamphetamine
production. See April
28-30, 2000]. The verdict was reached yesterday and was a
travesty of justice. The judge rejected all nine of the defense lawyer's
recommendations for jury instructions. When the jury requested clarification
on the wording of the law as introduced into evidence by the prosecutor
they were told to disregard it and to decide their verdict based on jury
instructions. Four days into deliberations the jurors were given
no choice but to convict! When Alison Bloom, the defense attorney from
Los Angeles, spoke with jurors after the trial they told her they thought
the law was very badly worded and vague and that based on the judge's instructions
they had no options. They were very unhappy to have to give a verdict of
guilty but said that the judge's instructions combined with the juror's
oath made it impossible to allow justice to be done. This case was the
perfect example of why jury nullification is important to our legal system
and why it is so wrong for states like California to tell jurors it is
not legal. I would appreciate any attention you could call to this case.
The "Granicy Grannies" are wonderful God fearing people and are the latest
victims of "The War on Drugs".
-- Tina Eldredge
[More resources on the case: "Granny discusses trial for not keeping
records of crystal iodine sales", CNN Law Chat, Sept.
19, 2000; Karen Maeshiro, "Store owner testifies on drug-related charges",
Los Angeles Daily News, April
6; other trial coverage, March
4. We can't find any online references to the verdict or to sentencing.]
I feel a need to release my frustration regarding a
local law firm and its methods of attracting
clients. I live in a very small town in West Virginia (population
less than 500 residents), and I work for a Fortune 500 retailing company
well known to all, one that I am sure is attractive to those looking for
a lucrative lawsuit. This evening I was reading the weekly publication
of the local newspaper and found on the back page an article by the law
firm titled "Falling Merchandise -- A Safety Issue You Should Know About".
What amazed me about the article was the way it seemed to go out of its
way to mention the company I work for again and again. It told the
story of a grandmother who received over $581,000 for a neck injury she
got when a box fell and hit her as she shopped at one of my company's stores
in Texas. It also told about a customer who was killed by falling
merchandise at a different company, Home Depot, but that case got only
two sentences in an article of fifteen paragraphs, even though you would
think death is a more alarming matter than neck injury. Could this
be because there are no Home Depots within two hours of our town?
I can't understand the reasoning other than to put ideas in the minds of
those who need a lucrative, easy solution to their financial problems.
Tim Stienstraw, West Union, W. Va.
[If it's any comfort, the law firm probably didn't tailor this article
to your local community's retailing profile. The Association of Trial
Lawyers of America sends out a weekly column ("Consumer News for Families"
-- recent archive)
for law firms to distribute to local newspapers, "co-authored" (at least
notionally) by ATLA's president and by the state chapter president in each
state. The column you describe sounds like the one ATLA sent out
for use on April
23. Perhaps inevitably, there's also a website called fallingmerchandise.com,
published by a plaintiff's law firm in search of business and publicity
(oops -- looks like we've just given them some).]
People who have one bad idea tend to have others dept.: your readers
might be interested to learn that the same Dr. Jeremiah Baronless of New
York who chaired the panel laying the groundwork for the federal ergonomics
regulations you criticize (March
9) now has a new crusade: organizing the medical profession to start
inquiring into whether patients own guns and discourage them from continuing
to do so. Details can be found online at: Josh Benson, "Medical Machers
Ask: Should Guns Be Part of Patient Profile?", New York Observer,
19, and a critique at: Jacob Sullum, "Disarming Questions", Reason
Robert Racansky, Denver
Not for nothing, but I believe the police officer was doing the correct
thing in the April 26 article
about the child who was given a jaywalking ticket after being hit by a
truck. One of the great themes of your website is personal
responsibility and that is what the officer was enforcing in this case.
This was not something frivolous like "pretending your hand is a gun" or
"kissing a girl".
Also, this ticket may help the truck's driver if the family of the child
tries to sue. -- Chris Smith, Worcester, Mass.
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