Posted Oct. 22:
Let me just add one humorous note on the (unconfirmed) story of the
celebrating Muslim worker who could not be disciplined at work (Oct.
9). The comment from the clinical psychologist -- As "uncalled
for [!] as the impromptu celebration might have been, corporations 'can't
fire someone for violating something that was never spelled out'" -- reminds
me of the Seinfeld episode when George had sex with the cleaning woman
on his desk, and tried to note when confronted by his manager that he had
not been told specifically not to do such a thing. The parallel is
so perfect that it's almost scary. -- John Kingston, Carle
According to a report in the New Yorker magazine [see
Oct. 19] our Army could have taken out the Taliban leader Mullah Omar
during the first week of the war but was overruled by a Judge Advocate
General, a military legal officer, who according to General Tommy R. Franks,
the commander in charge at the United States Central Command in Florida,
"doesn't like this, so we're not going to fire."
What is going on here? I thought we were at war. What are
lawyers doing telling our professional warriors whom they can or cannot
kill? How in the world did we ever allow our American fighting military
machine to get constipated with some sort of perverted political correctness
regarding the legal rights of terrorists?
We elected President Bush to be the Commander- In- Chief. He is
trying to do that job. Opinions from lawyers are irrelevant. They
became irrelevant when over 5,000 innocent Americans were killed by ruthless
acts of war. We must allow our military leaders the freedom to act
boldly and courageously in prosecuting this war without having to look
over their shoulders for "permission" from lawyers.
If we fail to allow our military leaders to be warriors, warriors who
will take spontaneous and aggressive actions whenever required to strike
genuine fear in the hearts and minds of our enemies, we will never win
this war. We are not engaged in some big worldwide legal case against
terrorists. No, we are at WAR against a mortal enemy that must be
defeated. Get the lawyers out of this war! --
Al W. Blair, Centennial, Colo.
If the courts are going to require extra time for those with learning
disabilities to pass the bar exam [Aug.
20], the logical next step would be to eliminate the exam (and equivalent
qualifying exams in other professions) entirely for those with disabilities
that prevent them from achieving a passing grade. Ken
Platt, San Diego, Calif.
Lawyers are constantly filing class action suits over debatable billing
tactics carried out by big companies, such as "rounding up" practices that
result in consumers' paying higher charges for telephone usage or financial
services. I think it would be only fair if someone looked into organizing
a class action against lawyers themselves for the practice of billing in
15 or 30 increments for work which may have taken less than 15 or 30 minutes
for them to accomplish in reality. (CPAs and others often do this
too.) It is one thing if they have fully disclosed this practice
to clients before engaging in the work, but there is no reason why the
adequacy of such disclosures should not come under investigation.
A stretch? Maybe, but attorneys themselves make such stretches all
The madness will not stop until the courts start imposing sanctions
against attorneys who bring bad faith suits; until tort reform makes the
plaintiffs and their counsel financially responsible for losing a case;
and until attorneys are required to do more due diligence before filing
a case to research its merits instead of listening only to misleading representations
from potential clients. -- David Kundysek
You asked [Sept. 3] for comments on the
suggestion that doctors not treat lawyers. In 1975 at the height
of the "malpractice crisis" many physicians in California made that decision,
but soon gave it up because it made more trouble than it was worth. After
all, most lawyers aren't personal injury lawyers. In my case, early
referral to the University for any major problem involving a PI attorney
or his family eased my anxiety. -- M.L. Howard,
M.D., J.D., Ukiah, Calif.
The medical profession is rife with stories which may be true or just
medical versions of "urban legends" of physicians in certain communities
refusing to see lawyers (or their wives in the case of OB/GYNs) as a protest
of sorts about medical malpractice. There are also rumblings of a
potential physician work stoppage in West Virginia to protest against increasing
While certainly under non-emergent circumstances a physician can refuse
to treat anyone he/she wishes, in an emergency options are much more limited.
Physicians can be charged with abandonment and/or EMLATA/COBRA violations
if emergent care is refused.
Also, I think it is a violation for different fee schedules to be set
up for different patients. All must be charged the same; what is
collected is vastly different, but that is a topic for another letter.
-- R. Scott Hannay
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