Yellow journalists have known for a century how to con people into voting against their interests.
The Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial in a civil action. But by continually bonding the word, "frivolous" with any reference to "lawsuits," the yellow journalists have succeeded in convincing some that their fundamental constitutional rights are "unAmerican."
What's unAmerican is the special interests who pay to plant "crazy lawsuit" stories.
Around New Years, some rags reprinted lists of the year's "most frivolous lawsuits." Such as: The man who sued Budweiser for false advertising when commercials showed hot babes imbibing with ordinary folks; a judge who sued his dry cleaner for $67 million over a lost pair of pants; the woman who sued a store for $5 million when she was disappointed with her 80-cent coupon refund.
These stories, they claim, prove something's wrong with our court system which allows people to sue over such nonsense.
There's just one problem with such editorials: They are untrue. Do you know what our civil justice system does with such foolhardy claims? It dismisses them. Such claims are so clearly without merit they do not last longer than a catfish swimming in a bourbon barrel.
Yet, the yellow journalists paint false pictures of madmen forcing trials before spineless judges and idiot juries who would award the plaintiffs anything more than an eyeroll. No competent lawyer would take such a case. Plaintiffs' counsel work on a contingency basis, and taking such cases would result only in bankruptcy.
The corporate interests who plaint these articles want one thing only: to create an unfounded antagonism against all plaintiffs. This will cause legislatures to limit their rights, and jurors to harden their hearts. Who wins? The insurance companies, corporations and government agencies, who value revenues over humans.
Mitchell Kessler is a seasoned plaintiffs' personal injury lawyer. He works at Levine and Grossman in Mineola. He can be reached at 212-268-2677, or on this blog.