Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Hypocritical Tort Reformers

The Bush Administration has predictably tried to attack Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards for being a personal injury lawyer. They accuse the profession of being the source of frivolous lawsuits. Perhaps they got that idea as a result of their own forays into the legal arena. Although there are many suits that have rightly restored the cost of injury to the injured party (and unfortunately, many injuries are not contested at all via an attorney, meaning the injured party must reap all of the cost), George W. Bush's lawsuit against Enterprise Rent-a-Car, for example, is not one of these suits.

Thomas Paine.org has supplied us with a nice, comprehensive list of all of the tort reform Republicans who have brought forward incredibly frivolous lawsuits of their own.

When they or family members are hurt and need compensation for their own injuries, often minor ones, these same individuals do not hesitate to use the courts to obtain compensation, to right a wrong, to hold a wrongdoer accountable or to obtain justice.

In 1999, [George W.] Bush sued Enterprise Rent-A-Car over a minor fender-bender involving one of his daughters in which no one was hurt. Although his insurance would have covered the repair costs, making a lawsuit unnecessary, Bush sought additional money from Enterprise, which had rented a car to someone with a suspended license. In this case, Bush seemed to understand one of the most important functions of civil lawsuits -- to deter further wrongdoing. The case settled for $2,000 to $2,500.

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