The Voice of Reason: Are lawyers piranhas?

July 1, 1993

The Voice of Reason: Are lawyers piranhas?

By By Tony Lamia

If you dive into a swimming hole loaded with piranhas, you will quickly be eaten to death. Upon hearing about this incident, lawyers will descend on your heirs like a school of piranhas, each hoping to be the one to feed on the wealth of the swimming hole landowner.

If the landowner posted conspicuous signs warning of the piranha danger, do you believe that the heirs should obtain a judgment against the owner anyway? If your answer is, “yes,” then you have bought into the lawyers’ propaganda that they are protecting the public from harm.

If lawyers can blame someone’s irresponsible behavior (such as jumping into a bunch of piranhas) on someone else with money, hooray! Never mind the fact that the landowner complied with all laws, and acted with responsibility by putting up the signs.

“But wouldn’t a lawsuit against the owner set certain standards that must be followed by all whose properties contain swimming holes, thereby preventing future injuries?” you ask. That’s what the lawyers want you to believe, but that is not what happens.

Let’s take the case of the hot coffee at McDonald’s. Did the lawsuit result in a specific standard, such as the temperature at which all coffee is to be henceforth served? Not to my knowledge. Did cigarette production end, or was it modified by the $billions in judgments against that industry? No. Do some doctors and hospital staff still use bad judgment in their treatments, resulting in death to patients in spite of the huge number of malpractice suits? Recent reports indicate a rise in such incidents.

Lawsuits are not about improving our safety. They only feed the lawyers’ greed. They also take away your liberty.

Today, you can be sued by anyone for anything. Property owners are no longer at liberty to enjoy their land in the condition they acquired it. They must fence it in to keep everybody out lest someone should be injured. Even then, landowners can be held liable for injuries to trespassers, including burglars!

Students sue teachers for failing their courses. Thus, teachers are no longer at liberty to do their jobs, which includes determining who has failed to meet the requirements. Teachers also live in fear of lawsuits over what they say in class that might offend a student. This, I believe, is seriously detrimental to the well-being of our children.

If you serve alcohol to a guest in your home, apartment, or place of business, and that person gets into an auto accident, injuring another, you could be held liable even if you have no way of knowing whether your guest could pass a sobriety test. So, our liberty to drink sociably with friends is tainted by our fear of potentially losing everything in a lawsuit.

If someone comes up to talk to you, and he had been drinking, you could be held liable if you fail to take away his car keys and he ends up in an accident! What if he doesn’t want you to take the keys, should you get into a fight? Of course, if you do, he will sue! This is exactly what the lawyers want—you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

There’s no escape! There’s no way for you to protect yourself from being sued. No matter how hard you try to comply with every law, you cannot. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” they say. Why, even the lawyers and judges don’t fully understand the laws that they help make.

The remedies needed to rid us forever from lawsuit abuse include limiting punitive damages, as proposed in Congress, as well as several that I propose in my book. Behind closed doors, honest lawyers agree with me on many of these urgently—needed changes.

Without reform, like piranhas nibbling away at your flesh, lawyers will continue to nibble away your freedoms until … soon you will have none.

Call your legislators and let them know that you will vote in the next election only for those who favor tort reform.

Tony L. Lamia is the author of “Blame It On The System.” www.blamesystem.com.

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