fbpx
News
July 31, 2013

Commercialization of the Law on Display in Gulf

“Big-time plaintiffs’ lawyers have a business model,” writes New York Times columnist Joe Nocera as he continues to hammer the tort bar.  “Theirs requires them to constantly seek out cases that can be blown up into giant mass torts, as they’re called, which can then be used to extract billions from companies.”

Dow Corning.  Toyota.  Silicosis.  And now, BP. 

Nocera continues:

I’ve seen mass torts where the actual plaintiffs get coupons while the lawyers reap millions. Mass torts where the connection between the product and the harm is illusory. Mass torts built on fraud (silicosis). Complex litigation settled for billions even when the government implies that consumers are responsible (Toyota sudden acceleration). I’ve also seen cases where some victims hit the jackpot with a giant jury verdict and other victims come up empty. Or where a corporation really has done harm but pays off the lawyers instead of the victims. Over the years, I’ve thought: There’s got to be a better way.

Nocera has set his sights on the gulf-oil spill settlement, which was established after the spill to compensate victims quickly without a lawsuit.  But the powerful tort bar wouldn’t let it go without litigation:

One of the things I find particularly offensive is that the settlement includes criteria that virtually ensure that businesses unharmed by the oil spill will get compensation. All over the Gulf, lawyers are advising clients to line up at the BP trough, and they are doing so.  But how is this righting a wrong? Why is it appropriate to transfer money from BP shareholders to people who were basically bystanders and now have their hands out?

Cookie Notice

By clicking “I Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

Cookie Notice

By clicking “I Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Review Settings