Would be get sue or be arrest if you hurt your opponent??

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by tyu1314, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    I have been practicing law for over 30 years.
    I have done some defense, civil and criminal (up to and including murder of a police officer)
    Some plaintiff's work, some products liability (golf cart),
    LOTS of domestic, some property.
    I have been blessed with a truly general practice over the years.

    I have NEVER, NOT ONCE, seen or heard of someone coming up with a "ridiculous" threat of a lawsuit and the company settled with them for a significant sum of money. (over $500.00) and even offering $500 or thereabouts is rare.

    The "Loser Pays" for frivilous lawsuit Rule is Rule 11 and it punishes the LAWYER who brings the suit.

    LAWYERS do not purposely bring "frivilous" law suits because they are almost always (99.99%) on contingent fee and have to advance even the costs (experts, filing fees, court reporters, etc.) IF the case has little or no chance of winning at trial, why in the world would you put all that effort and money into it? The simple answer is that they dont. The big lie put out by the astroturfing big business groups is just that, a big lie.

    sorry for the rant, but, grassroots experience trumps hypotheticals every time
     
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  2. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    Thanks for posting this. I have a 1L friend who is weary of traditional firms and is always curious about grassroots experience. If you don’t mind him asking, have you been in solo practice all these years? Also, how did you happen to land the policeman case? It sounds like a very serious matter calling for an experienced criminal defense specialist.
     
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  3. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    I hung out my own shingle from day one.
    In my town (less than 75,000) the lawyers were prety collegial (unlike today virtually everywhere I am sad to say).
    One guy down the street even gave me a key to his office so I could go in at night and read his law books, etc.)

    The murder of a police officer case was assigned to me by the Judge. IF I recall correctly, I got about $3000.00 gross from the State for the whole shooting match. Multiple eyewitnesses, etc., he even sort of confessed, but was claiming that he was not the triggerman and didn't know the guy with the loaded shotgun next to him was actually going to shot the policeman, even tho he admitted the guy had said so. Got him mercy tho', at least that was something.

    AS far as me though, I brought my younger brother into the firm about 5 years in, his son is a 3L and will propbably join the firm. Of course, like all law students, he thinks it would be cool to live and work in manhatten or miami or LA and get a $350,000 a year starting salary advising sports, movie, and rock stars about their image and the legal ramifications. We've got 3 lawyers and 7 support staff now.

    Goign solo is tough. You eat what you kill. December is a stone B*TCH. Everybody wants to come in and ask you to do stuff, but nobody wants to pay a dime b/c they are spending every dime they have and maxing out their credit cards on Chirstmas gifts.

    BUT if you LOVE the pressure and stress, are soemwhat gladatorial in nature, and can handle losing cases you didn't think you could lose (and getting wins you ddin't think you could get) there is no life like it.
     
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  4. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Thank you for the citation. I actually read the majority opinion and dissent. Very interesting.

    Bottom line: I think the case is wrongly decided and the dissent is correct. I also note that the case, decided in 1999, hasn't been cited even once. Which suggests to me that it is possibly not especially persuasive authority.

    For the few people still reading who might give a flying fig about this discussion, here is the part of the dissent that I think nails the issue:

    ***********************

    " . . . .

    First, the majority asserts that Solano and Abrenica were not coparticipants in the sport at the time of the injury because, although Abrenica was still practicing, Solano was no longer participating in the sport because she had concluded the practice session, picked up some balls, and was intending to leave the court unaware that her former partner was about to serve a ball in her direction. Therefore, the reasoning goes, the duty is that owed by a participant in the sport to a nonparticipant.

    I believe that this analysis of the respective parties'"participation" in the sport is flawed since its result is to put Solano in the category of a spectator rather than a participant. Participation in the sense we are discussing here does not end when the practice or playing of the game ends, but rather when Solano leaves the playing area. Since Solano was not only in the playing area but still on the practice court, I cannot accept the conclusion that she is no longer "participating" on the basis that it was her intent to leave the court area and that she was unaware of the intent of another player to continue the practice. Until the intent to leave manifests itself with her departure from the zone of danger, she remains a participant.

    . . . ."
     
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  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The dissent shows a lack of understanding of the game. They seem to differentiate between playing area and the court. In tennis, the court is almost the playing area, and the space to the fences are not that significant, unlike say a baseball field where someone could be considered close to the batter and someone else far away. When finishing a session/match, players also exit from near the net, unlike other sports where they may exit from the nearest sideline. In such a situation, someone who starts a practice serve clearly knows that the game is over.

    It is the same situation if someone hits the opponent with a ball at changeover. It is clear that the game has ended and the opponent cannot be reasonably expected to be on the lookout for aggressive shots.

    Majority is correct and the dissenters should learn more about tennis and preferably quit the judicial profession since they are clearly incompetent.
     
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  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is a myth put out by a certain political party to convince the gullible public that they are being screwed by frivolous lawsuits. The idea is to make the corporations who fund the party immune to any violations. The common man is stupid enough to get his ego stoked by made-up stories about such lawsuits, and does not understand that it is he who will suffer the next time. His ego is more important to him than his own self-preservation, and the political party milks it.
     
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  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    In general, these lessons don't achieve anything. People run around stupidly and never improve.
     
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  8. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Interesting that companies have legal counsel on staff or retainers over a bunch of myths.

    I bet you think it's a myth as well that doctors are quitting because they can't afford to pay malpractice premiums.
     
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  9. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    sureshs, you sound like a John Edwards fan. Whatever happened to him, the vp candidate from 2004.


     
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  10. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    Thanks for sharing this. “You eat what you kill” sounds like a sound principle, unless the practice is getting paid with someone else’s money, such as taxpayers or shareholders.

    I only have a theoretical notion of how things work in a small town, but your explanation makes sense. You had registered with the court as potentially available for public defense and when a high-profile case got assigned, you had some time on your calendar and agreed to take it because of its high profile?

    It sounds like your nephew does not quite appreciate his unique position. True, many students here in the city are eyeing the generous starting packages with the top firms. In their defense, it seems that for those who graduate burdened with loans, it can be a rational choice – they do get to kill the debt very quickly and then they are free to do whatever they want. Foregoing an opportunity to join an established practice of a trustworthy relative to compete in urban jungles does sound rather adventurous though.

    I have a question about your collegial experienced friend and your decision to go solo from day one. As an experienced solo practitioner nears retirement, he would typically have substantial practical experience/knowledge, a vast/growing book of business, and an ever-improving reputation/publicity, on the one hand, and decreasing availability (time with family, deteriorating health, etc.), on the other hand. A guy who just got his license, on the contrary, has all the time and energy in the world, while lacking things like a client base or practical experience. Would it not make sense for these two to seek each other out and join forces to avoid waste? Easier said than done?
     
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  11. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    As you are a small town lawyer (assuming that your sub 75K pop city is not a suburb of a major metro area), I can imagine that this post may be completely truthful yet somewhat misleading.

    As a professional Trial Lawyer your definition of "frivolous" lawsuit is likely different than what a lot of the posters on this thread are using.

    To counter the first two paragraphs, how many times in your career have you personally been subject to US rules for frivolous suits? Zero times, of course. How many times has someone you know been found in violation of them? Again zero times. How about anyone in your local Bar Assn? I'm still guessing zero. As I posted earlier, yes the US rules exist but it is essentially never enforced so it might as well not exist. Their function is basically to be a smoke screen to hide behind any time the UK's Loser Pays is brought up.

    As to the unheard of issue (in your posted experience) of baseless lawsuits to try to bluff deep pockets into settling, you have heard of the whole area of law called "slip and fall" haven't you?
     
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  12. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    No problem... I'm not a lawyer but did spend some time working for an appellate judge so I appreciate the kind of reasoning that goes on here (and how tricky it can be to establish principles which govern the wide variety of possible situations).

    Or possibly that it's an unusual case and few applicable cases have followed it.

    As far as the defense's argument goes, I think it's a little reductive to say that anyone physically on the playing surface is automatically in the "zone of danger" and has thus assumed all risk. Think about the handshake example-- match is over, and I'm walking to the net to shake, opponent decides to take a practice shot and hits me. Doesn't seem like he should automatically be immune from civil liability just because we were both on a tennis court.

    You originally said that people leaving the court should walk along the back curtain instead of at the net if they don't want to assume the risk of getting hit. But according to the dissent, those people would seemingly also be in the zone of danger.
    Also, the majority notes:
    Sounds like another good reason to avoid summary judgment.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
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  13. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    Despite the snide, small town, demeaning comments, yes, I HAVE heard of slip and fall lawsuits. I have tried them. It is difficult and expensive because the first thing you have to do is get an expert and these are not cheap (at least$1000.00 just for an initial report) No insurance company in their right minds will settle with you for more than $500.00 (of which the lawyer gets 1/3) until you have this. 99% of all client will not pay this and expect you to advance it against their settlement. You do the math. Typically, the settlemetns are in the neighborhood of proven specials (medical bills and lost wages) times 2 or 3, unless there is MD proof of permanent damage, in which case it can go up. Most companies will gamble in the bigger cases (serious and permanent injury) becasue they have been "educating" the jury pool for about 25 years now, and they realize that it is VERY rare for a jury to return an award that would seriously "whack" them, and human nature tends to say, "Well, look where you're going, you get nothing". Even on the "manhole cover that flips up when you step on it" case.....


    I took the murder case for the publicity? Ummm, no. I took it becasue it was assigned. I didn't have a choice. Back in the day, there was no public defender, the Judge just assinged you, and you had a choice, take it or resign form that county's bar and dont practice in that county anymore.


    Most big to medium companies have attorneys on staff to deal with regulatory matters, not to defend lawsuits full time. That is almost always the job of "defense firms" which are often usually picked by the insurance companies.

    Not even the N&W railway, they usually use Huddelston, Bolen, in my area.

    PS - malpractice rates going up quickly due to prior competitive cost cutting by the insurance industry and later underperformance by the stock market, is not the same thing as evil plaintiff lawyers manipulating boob juries into returning multimillion dollar verdicts. IT just saves the insurance executive's bacon with the stockholders to pretend so. But that is an argument for another day. And no, I dont do med malpractice cases
     
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  14. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    I bet my malpractice rates are higher than yours, despite having no claims. But, I am a patent attorney! :twisted:

     
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  15. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    You're probably right. I do this all the time to my friends, even to my wife. I never hit them, and its always good for a laugh from all parties... until someone gets hurt I'm sure. Then again, I have the mentallity of a 10 year old... so sometimes its still funny even if a buddy does get hurt. Does that mean I won't get any good gifts this year??
     
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  16. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    Can we let this thread die so we don't have to keep looking at the horribly illiterate title? Thanks. :)
     
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  17. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I try to be as immature as is possible. It keeps me young.
     
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  18. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I apologize for being confusing. I don't assign a perjoritive to rural and smaller cities, I was noting that you chose to preface your commentary with the info of the size of your city, which in my experience is uncommon. In other words I thought (I guess incorrectly) you were trying to make a point of the size of your city.

    I think your experience with litigating "slip and falls" is likely the norm just as you decribe it. Though there is a subset of these cases where the known cost of litigation (not multimillion windfalls that make the news) is undercut by the damages (real or imaginary). The correct fiscal decision is to settle for a sum less than the cost of litigation. I guess the nomenclature of this would not be "frivolous" (though it would meet the dictionary definition) but rather: "nuisance" lawsuits.
     
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  19. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    Well, apology accepted, I had had a fairly rough week.
    My apologies back for seeming a little quick on the trigger with playing the "victim card".

    My experience with these may be a little jaundiced. "Nuisance" settlement may not really be the right word, tho'. The cases I have seen over these many years usually fall into these catagories.

    A. Solid liability, small injury, therefore not economically feasable for the attorney or client. Insurance comapny will usually offer anywhere from specials plus $500 to specials plus $3000.00. Very demeaning for the attorney to do, b/c the ins. co., "knows" you probabaly wont litigate, and therefore really lowballs you right up to the point where they have to bring in counsel and their costs start goign up.

    B. Weak liability, strong damages. Depending on the defendant, you might get a denial letter and they refuse to offer anyhting at all prior to suit. OR you might get a small offer of $3-5000.00, regardless of the specials. THIS is what I personally define as a "nuisance" settlement. (Medical bills of $5000 and lost wages of $7000 = $5000 settlement offer)

    C. Weak liability, weak damages - Why did you even take this suit, counselor? Quit at least 6 months before the statute of limitations runs! (Depending on the degree of chance of a jury actually finding in your favor, this is where one could find "frivilous" lawsuits)

    Most of the "frivilous" lawsuits the astroturfed anti-plainitff's lawyer groups scream about fall into one of these catagories:

    a. inmate lawsuits - esp w/"jailhouse lawyer" (fellow prisoner w/good penmanship) ghostwriting it. Usually dismissed with less than 2 hours total judicial time involved and less than 5 hours opposing lawyer time. Only significant when the number of these gettign filed begins to pile up. (Giving word processers and access to online legal resources to inmantes is a bad idea for this reason alone)

    b. pro se (self represented) civil litigant - usually a nutjob. However, even a blind squirrel finds an occaisional acorn, so they are a necessary evil. If for no other reason than to make TV shows seem plausible. (The "Big Bang Theory" episode where Sheldon goes to traffic court comes to mind)

    c. Young lawyer who hung out his or her shingle from day one is a.) inexperienced (less than one year before the bar), and b.) desperate for work, takes and files a case that he or she never should have taken and/or filed. Sometimes, they even know it when they file it, but the statute of limitations has snuck up on them and they are in a box. (This is usually not a big burden on the system as it is relatively rare)
     
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  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think what really bugs anti-plaintiff people are the suits where the person was using something inherently dangerous (e.g. chain saw) or made a mistake and was injured. After all, the chain saw doesn't jump off the table and attack the fleeing construction worker. The construction worker takes a shortcut or has a moment of inattention. And then they sue the chainsaw manufacturer. This sort of thing seems frivolous.

    But is it?

    Look around. The products we use every day are loaded with features that are designed to protect people from themselves. Just today, a few product safety features have saved me from making a mistake and hurting myself. My espresso machine has a guide so I can't undertighten it and have it explode. And my shower has an anti-scald shower head.
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I am all for more notices and warnings. I am not a macho man who makes fun of these warnings. A macho man in a cast in a hospital is not a macho man at all.

    I noticed yesterday that a grocery store had posted a warning that "floors may be wet due to the rain." That is, people were walking in from the rain, making the place slippery. I have only seen signs like this after the floor has been mopped. But if it alerts people, I am all for it. I am not going to sneer and say "Hey this is for the fools who don't know that people can walk in with wet shoes hehehe," before falling and being carried to the hospital.

    Having a philosophical view of accidents and attributing everything to destiny or a "test of faith" is not up my alley. With each safety precaution we take, it seems that destiny has indeed been changed and "tests of faith" are being handed out less and less, leading me to believe only in probabilities which should be minimized.
     
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