Taking questions from the media following the signing of the tort reform bill during a press conference on July 26, Gov. Nikki Haley says she’d like the next step to be the institution of a loser-pays system.
Haley is referring to a system which requires the loser of a civil suit to compensate the winner for his or her attorney’s fees.
Loser pays is a horrible idea. How about – Losing lawyer pays! When a person hires an attorney they don’t have a clue as it is what happens in motions, trials and appeals. It’s always “Plaintiff” or “Defendant” failed to do this or that, not the lawyer who failed to do whatever. Now you are going to further erode a person’s quest for justice. Get a large law firm with 200 lawyers representing the insurance company and see what happens. A lawyer who convinces his client he can get a recovery is now going to put his client at risk if the case is lost. So what do you have then? Well, the lawyer walks away free to look for other clients while the crippled client gets billed for the insurance companies lawyers. Bad, Bad, Bad idea. That’s why I represent myself. One lawyer already cost me $250,000 because he forgot to do a couple minor things. Loser pays should be losing lawyer pays.
We desparately need a loser pays system. Under the current system, lawyers encourage people to sue others for any reason. Extreme examples are the lady who sued McDonalds because she spilled hot coffee on herself, or the judge who sued the owner of a dry cleaners for thousands of dollars because of a reportedly lost suit. The lawyers get paid regardless of who wins, so they encourage any and all kinds of rediculous lawsuits, and innocent people around the country must pay millions of dollars to defend themselves, regardless of how rediculous the lawsuit is. A loser pays system (whether the losing lawyer and/or individual or company) whould put a stop to a lot of this kind of abuse. We get abused, and the lawyers make money. It needs to stop!
Lawyers are already a dying breed. Just like VHS tapes, CRT Monitors & TVs, and the United States Constitution which is almost meaningless now thanks to “case law” interpretations by literally tens of thousands of judges. Look at the Bankruptcy laws reform in 2005. The financial institutions saw the meltdown coming so they lobbied hard for changes to protect themselves. The lawsuit abuse is NOT by plaintiff’s lawyers. It is by insurance company lawyers and foreclosure attorneys. In SC foreclosure attorneys charge around $7000 for an uncontested foreclosure. They sign false affidavits that they worked 35 hours on the case and their deserved rate is $200 per hour. In reality, the lawyer briefly reviews documents prepared by the lender’s staff, the law firm’s paralegals and even entry level staff – all using foreclosure software to streamline the process. The law firm pays an abstractor to research the title for the firm for about $250 and then calls the Master in Equity (judge) to set up a 3 hour time slot to dispose of 40 cases. How do they do it so fast? Oh, yeah – I forgot to mention that the foreclosure law firm prepares the judge’s order to sign in advance. So after all this, why not make the loser (the person losing their home) pay the foreclosure law firm $7000 for $1500 (Max) work? There is already a frivolous lawsuit remedy on the books Governor Haley. There is also Rule 407 defining lawyer ethics – what a joke! Read it America. Then when you’re done, read Rule 501 which defines judicial ethics. Now that one works because I used it to unseat the foreclosure judge in my case. At the beginning of my comment I mentioned that lawyers are a dying breed. Here’s why –
I had a predatory loan and tried to find a lawyer to represent me. I couldn’t find one so I answered the foreclosure lawsuit and countersued the lender. Then I let the judge throw me in the briar patch – he denied me a jury trial and I appealed. I hate getting laughed at so I researched everything I could find. The lender says I am due for the June 1, 2007 payment. The lender sued me for foreclosure in March 2008. I am still in my house and expect to be for another 3-4 years, if I lose. I won my appeal for a jury trial. The judge was forced to resign over issues in my case. I expect to win my lawsuit and walk away with no mortgage. I realize now that if I had found a lawyer, I probably would have lost my case. All the information you need to represent yourself is free online. A few trips to the Clerk of Court’s office reviewing case files and then some time sitting through some trials will prepare you. Everything moves at a slow pace, so you can learn as you go. Fight back America! Loser pays won’t work.
I’m sorry – I wasn’t quite done yet but had to stop because I was almost out of characters, so here I go some more. Loser pays. Let’s see. I lost a really big case because my lawyer forgot to list the 3 most important witnesses on the witness list, so the judge wouldn’t let them testify. Then my lawyer, all frazzled because his law firm was in flux and his law partner lawyer suddenly couldn’t make trial, made a number of other errors. I was a whistleblower in a BIG federal case and turned down an offer of $225,000 because my lawyer said we would do better at trial. The Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) was demanding several millions of dollars to settle the government’s case (I was entitled to 24% of the USA recovery). My lawyer, his law partner and the AUSA were prepared to go to trial against 6 defendant’s lawyers (multiple defendants). Exactly 1 week before trial the AUSA decided to settle the USA part of the case for $75,000 because he was worried that incompetent federal employees knew or should have known what was going on in the fraud. So the millions of dollars dwindled suddenly to $75,000. What the heck – I got 24% of that – a whopping $18,000 for risking my life to do the right thing. Oh, but wait – my lawyer took his third – $6000 so I got a check for $12,000. No problem, I still had the trial coming up in a week for my personal damage claims. Ok. Here comes the trial. It started off badly. During jury selection a woman identified herself as the best friend and co-worker of one of the defendants. No problem says the judge – you can be on the jury. This was in the mid-90s. My lawyer walks into the courtroom ready for trial with boxes and boxes of evidence and his laptop which had all his trial strategy and everything organized for an easy flow. No, no, no – the federal judge was old-fashioned – no laptops in HIS courtroom. The trial proceeds, my lawyer gets all confused, etc… A series of audio tapes are played by my lawyer and he has me comment on what is occuring. Ooops, my lawyer forgot to ask me some important questions – like were these tapes recorded by me for the FBI as I was working for them as a cooperating witness. And did I go to the FBI before any fraud occured and did I commit fraud, etc… as part of the ongoing case to catch the crooks?
All the judge heard was tapes of me and the bad guys talking about committing fraud. The judge directed the verdict after my lawyer rested. Then I had to listed to the judge as he chewed me out calling me a fraud. OK, I was the loser in that case. Should I pay the defendant’s lawyers over $200,000 in attorneys fees?