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Frankenstein’s Monsters
The trial lawyers, who have adopted the Orwellian name American Association for Justice, have encouraged their members to donate to a legal defense fund for the dry cleaner who misplaced a pair of trousers. The infamous case which has made headlines around the country seems to have become an embarrassment to the trial lawyers who have nurtured and protected the civil "justice" system.

The case began two years ago when a cleaners temporarily lost a pair of pants belonging to an administrative law judge in Washington, DC. The judge ended up suing the cleaners for $65 million – after turning down a $12,000 settlement offer from the cleaners. According to press accounts, the “bulk of the $65 million demand comes from” the lawyer’s “strict interpretation of Washington consumer protection law, which imposes fines of $1,500 per violation, per day.” The judge “counted 12 violations over 1,200 days, then multiplied that by three defendants.”

The family that owns the cleaners is considering giving up their business and leaving the country. The Washington Post noted that even if the cleaners win the case, which goes to trial on June 11, “both sides generally must pay their own legal fees.” In other words, the family that owns the small business may be out a substantial sum of money even if they are found blameless.

While the case is extreme, it’s a reminder that frivolous lawsuits can destroy people’s lives and livelihoods. The solution is not occasional charity from trial lawyers when a given case receives ridicule. Instead, the civil justice system is in need of a fundamental overhaul to discourage lawyer-enriching litigation and ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.

See Washington Post story

See Associated Press story

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