Monday, June 22, 2009

Rudy Giuliani--Tort Reform Hypocrite

Normally a story about Andrew Guiliani suing Duke University for dismissing him from the golf team would not catch my eye. However, young Guiliani's father, Rudy, has been a notorious basher of lawyers and lawsuits, and an ardent supporter of "tort reform." As I have written about repeatedly, tort reform is code speak for big business and insurance companies' never ending, multimillion dollar push to pass laws to restrict lawsuits, make them more difficult to pursue, and even limit what injured persons can recover for legitimate cases of injury or wrongdoing.

Tort reform was a centerpiece of Rudy's (failed) presidential platform, as evidenced by this clip. In fact, if memory serves, as he was giving his concession speech, he pleaded to the crowd words to the effect "can we please have less lawsuits?"

In fairness to Rudy, his son is a grown man and I have no idea whether Rudy had any involvement in, or support of, this lawsuit. But, I wonder how Dad would feel about a lawsuit over his son being dismissed from a college golf team--one where the magistrate who's hearing the case has recommended that it be dismissed? If Rudy is to be consistent in his position (and we all know that politicians are consistent in their closely held positions, right?) shouldn't he be calling for his son to pay Duke University's legal fees, since Rudy has been a big proponent of "loser pays" laws? After all, if his son loses the lawsuit, hasn't Duke University been "victimized" by a frivolous lawsuit, as Rudy mentioned in the video clip about the dry cleaners who were sued for millions for losing a set of pants?

Hmmm. Somehow I don't think we'll be hearing from Rudy on this one any time soon. And there's a couple reasons for that. After over 20 years of representing people in lawsuits, there are 2 fundamental truths that hold true every time. One is the true definition of a "frivolous lawsuit": One other than MINE. Frivolous lawsuits are ones that OTHER people file.

And the second fundamental truth I've come to learn is that, as a general rule, people look at "tort reform" the same way they look at prisons: sounds good as long as the prison is being built in someone else's back yard, or the legal "reforms" are applied to someone else's case. But when the prison is going in the middle of your town, or in this case the "tort reform" laws begin to directly affect you and your case, suddenly it doesn't look so good.

Care to respond Rudy? Anyone? Mr. Buehler?

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