“Woman chasing ex-husband loses slip-and-fall lawsuit”

by Walter Olson on June 23, 2012

Jonesboro, Ga.: the defense lawyer called it “a fun fact pattern” involving “quite a cast of characters,” while the plaintiff’s lawyer acknowledged taking the case to trial even while knowing “that there was a less than 10 percent chance of winning on liability. … I never turn down the chance to take a case to trial when there is a real injury involved, no matter how tough the liability picture.” Does that imply that he represents other clients whose injury isn’t as “real”? [Fulton County Daily Report]

{ 8 comments }

1 Ted Frank 06.23.12 at 8:37 am

A remarkable admission about the perverse effects of jackpot justice. Given that he asked for $1.4M, but was willing to settle for $50k, it seems like “less than 10%” should read “a lot less than 10%.”

2 doug 06.23.12 at 9:32 am

plaintiff’s should be sanctioned for bringing this claim.

3 boblipton 06.23.12 at 9:41 am

It is ambulance chasing, but wouldn’t the settlement — even without admission of guilt — be prima facie evidence that the claim had validity?

Bob

4 William Nuesslein 06.23.12 at 10:25 am

I was amazed by the overt demonstration of resentment against Indians (not native American Indians.) Holy Cow!

5 Jane 06.23.12 at 11:52 am

The idiots who confess animosity towards Indians haven’t tried their food.

6 David Schwartz 06.24.12 at 3:04 am

If you figure he asked for $1.4 million and believed he had a 10% chance of winning, he should value a judgment at $140,000. If he expected to have to spend $90,000 to get the judgment, then offering to settle for $50,000 makes sense. This assumes he places no value on certainty versus uncertainty.

Of course, bringing a suit you believe you have at best a 10% chance of winning (barring exceptional circumstances such as trying in good faith to obtain a precedent that might make other cases practical) is an admission of abusing the legal process to obtain a nuisance settlement.

7 Ron Miller 06.25.12 at 5:36 pm

David, I don’t agree with what this lawyer said. But how you view the potential success of a lawsuit is not related to the merits of that case. Plessy v. Fergerson was a long shot but I’m glad someone brought it anyway.

You should bring cases where you believe justice would be served by a verdict in your client’s favor, not some calculation of the likelihood of success. I think just about everyone agrees with this.

8 David Schwartz 06.25.12 at 7:08 pm

Ron: I mentioned that there are exceptions, such as trying in good faith to obtain a change in the law. However, I disagree with your rule that you should bring cases if you believe justice would be served by a verdict in your client’s favor. You should act base on what the law *is*, not what it should be. Otherwise, you are burdening random, innocent people.

If you know a case has no chance of success under current law, barring narrow exceptions, bringing the case will only harass someone into a nuisance settlement. People don’t have to obey what you think the law should be, only what the law is.

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