Posts Tagged ‘juries’

November 7 roundup

June 21 roundup

The Founders and civil justice reform

Justinian Lane, unable to refute on the merits the idea that it might be worth experimenting with health courts to see if they improve medical care and medical justice, resorts to ad hominem:

I believe our founding fathers were some of the greatest men who ever lived. Through sweat and sacrifice, they founded the greatest country in the world. And they believed that the right for a plaintiff to seek a jury trial was so important as to be enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for the noble men and women who have died and are dying to protect our Bill of Rights and our Constitution. I have nothing but derision for the ignominious men and women who are dying to butcher those documents for corporate gain.

Very stirring, if completely meaningless. I not only believe, but know for a fact, that our founding fathers created Article V of the Constitution, which permits amendments to correct problems created by the Constitution itself—such as, say, its abhorrent endorsement of involuntary servitude, or the poorly-thought-out presidential election process that resulted in the 1800 election snafu and the Twelfth Amendment.

But one need not go even this far. The real flaw of Lane’s thoughtless argument is that in 1791, the common-law right to a jury trial contemplated the idea of special juries. Special juries were used for complex commercial cases, for example; juries of women were used to determine the truth of claims of pregnancy. No constitutional amendment is needed for medical courts; they are well within the Seventh Amendment definition and the Founders’ conception of trial by jury. See generally Professor James Oldham’s book, Trial by Jury: The Seventh Amendment and Anglo-American Special Juries.

Read On…

“Calculating damages: a formula for outrage”

Latest in the Tennie Pierce (firehouse dog food prank) saga: Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez finds reader sentiment heavily taking the view that the $2.7 million settlement figure is stark raving bonkers (Dec. 3). He speaks with Chief Assistant City Atty. Gary Geuss to get a feel for how the number was arrived at:

“The mediator said Pierce would be a good witness, his wife would be good and his daughter was going to get on the stand and start crying,” says Geuss….

In one case that went to trial two years ago, an L.A. cop got $4.1 million in a racial discrimination and retaliation case despite having made his own disparaging racial remarks.

Juries tend to jump at the chance to stick it to employers, Geuss said. When prospective jurors are asked if any of them have had issues with their bosses, “About 90% of the hands go up.”

Geuss began doing the math….

The L.A. Times’s news side, according to blogger Patterico, has begun belatedly acknowledging some of the flaws in Pierce’s case (Dec. 3; Jim Newton, “Dog food lawsuit a test for L.A. mayor”, Dec. 3). Earlier: Nov. 11, Nov. 22, Nov. 29, Dec. 2.