Malpractice verdict shows how wrong the courthouse crowd has really been

mapleleaf's picture

For years the courthouse crowd has been saying that Fayette county juries are a tight-fisted bunch who award next to nothing to plaintiffs. The idea, of course, was to convince plaintiffs to settle for a pittance out of fear they’d get even less from our miserly juries.

The courthouse crowd (judges included) has been wrong. There’s nothing wrong with using our justice system to make it do justice. And that’s what seems to have happened this past week, as a Fayette county jury reportedly returned a verdict of $363,000 in State Court against a local lawyer found to have committed malpractice.

The story itself is simple. A woman injured in a car accident hires the lawyer to recover her damages, including medical expenses of about $36,000. Instead of suing the responsible driver on a timely basis, the lawyer sues an insurance company. That’s improper. By the time the insurance company gets the case thrown out of court it’s too late to sue the driver. (You only have two years to do it.) The lawyer keeps mum, but the woman manages to find out, hires another lawyer, and goes after the lawyer who screwed up her case.

It seems our Fayette county jury didn’t like that. So last Wednesday (Oct. 17) they slapped the lawyer with $250,000 in punitive damages, plus her fees for the new attorney, plus the damages she should have recovered in the accident. $363,000 in all.

Would a Fayette county jury slam a bad insurance company, or a bad big company, like they slammed this attorney? Or is it just attorneys that the local crowd hates? I happen to trust the local people will do the right thing, when they are given the opportunity to learn and understand the facts. This jury did. Our judges, attorneys and others should not discourage people from going to court and presenting their cases. This constant pressure to “settle, settle, settle” is corrosive, and possibly a reflection of their laziness.

Go to work, judges and lawyers, and try your cases. Our local people can do justice!

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