Posts Tagged ‘state trial lawyers groups’

September 25 roundup

Gerry Spence to trial lawyers: “We are the most important people in America”

The Wyoming-based legal gunslinger spoke at the annual conference of the Consumer Attorneys of California, and (U.S. Chamber-backed) Legal NewsLine took down some audience-rousing quotes that went pretty far even by grandiose Spence standards: “We are the most important people in America… I want to ask you which would be more important: If all of the doctors in the country somehow disappeared or all the trial lawyers in America somehow disappeared?” he asked. “We can live without medical care, but we cannot live without justice.” (Chris Rizo, “Spence: Trial lawyers more important than doctors”, Nov. 12).

More from Dan Pero: “Was it just bad timing or some sort of cosmic justice that Mr. Spence made this preposterous claim on Veterans Day?”

Coordinating the Edwards story

Thursday’s New York Times investigates Fred Baron’s role (Serge F. Kovaleski and Mike McIntyre, “Lawyers’ Ties Hint at Extent of Hiding Edwards’s Affair”, Aug. 14; AP/L.A. Times; commentary at Deceiver, Jeralyn Merritt/TalkLeft, Greg Pollowitz/NRO Media Blog, DBKP; earlier). And more from DBKP here and here. P.S. And I didn’t realize until reading USA Today’s profile that scandal figure Andrew Young has served not only as a loyal Edwards foot soldier, but also as a lobbyist for the North Carolina trial lawyers’ association.

Tenn. politico: in case of emergency call my TTLA friend

Tennessee state representative Rob Briley chaired the Judiciary Committee in the state House, and also held a seat on a study committee “assigned to recommend changes in the state’s DUI laws.” So you might regard it as unseemly of him, after having smashed his vehicle into a pickup truck on the afternoon of Sept. 8, to have led police on a 100-mph chase in Wilson and DeKalb counties. The chase culminated in his being apprehended and charged with offenses that included drunken driving, evading arrest, and vandalism. The vandalism consisted of doing “about $1,000 worth of damage to the patrol car by kicking and punching the back door and window”, according to police, who say they found an empty bottle of bourbon and several bottles of prescription meds in Briley’s SUV.

What raised some eyebrows around the state is that when officers at the Wilson County Jail had him fill out a form listing a “next of kin” or other person he wanted contacted, Briley, who is going through a divorce, named Mary Littleton, lead lobbyist for the Tennessee Association for Justice, formerly known as the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association. His explanation later was that Ms. Littleton was a logical person to name since she knew a lot of lawyers and he was going to need a lawyer. Briley has now resigned his Judiciary chairmanship as well as the seat on the DUI commission, and says he’s in rehab. Indeed, he claims he was headed for a rehab center on the afternoon in question — so eager to get there, perhaps, that 100 mph seemed only reasonable. He has now retained Ms. Littleton, who describes herself as a long-term friend, and two other attorneys to represent him. (Eric Schelzig, “Video shows Rep. Briley berating police, sobbing”, AP/Ashland City Times, Sept. 12; Kleinheider blog, WKRN, Sept. 13; Sheila Wissner, “Briley listed lobbyist as contact after DUI arrest; has no memory of chase”, The Tennessean, Sept. 13; Michael Silence, Sept. 13; Tom Humphrey, “Rep. Briley steps down from chairman position”, Knoxville News-Sentinel, Sept. 15; Sheila Wissner and Sheila Burke, “Arrest report says Briley had been committed”, Ashland City Times, Sept. 15).

“Will Sue For Food”, cont’d

Kentucky trial lawyers just won’t let up in their po-faced indignation about that innocuous cartoon in the state bar magazine (see Feb. 15 roundup). “‘The cartoon exhibits an indifference to the rights of all Kentuckians to access the justice system — the very system the KBA is charged with preserving on behalf of its members and their clients,’ Bowling Green lawyer Steve Downey, the immediate past president of the trial lawyer group, said in a letter to the bar association.” (Andrew Wolfson, “Trial lawyers find nothing funny in cartoon”, Louisville Courier-Journal, Feb. 19). David Lat covers the story (Feb. 20). What would have taken guts, I think, is for the Kentucky bar magazine to have run a cartoon making reference to the state’s deeply embarrassing fen-phen fee scandal. But let’s not hold our breath waiting for that.

Watch what you say about lawyers, cont’d

The West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association says it will file a Federal Communications Commission complaint unless radio stations yank ads from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which compare injury lawyers to crocodiles and cite the widely circulated (but trial-lawyer-loathed) Tillinghast studies on the cost of the liability insurance system. (Jake Stump, “Trial lawyers want radio ads pulled”, Charleston Daily Mail, Apr. 6). Carolyn Elefant, Mike Cernovich and Prof. Childs comment. More watch-what-you-say-about-lawyers stories: Jan. 13, 2005, Dec. 23, 2004, and links from there.