Wednesday, April 18, 2012

the Seventh Amendment: This Is How They Sue Your Ass

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

-the Seventh Amendment

Well right off the bat $20 in today's terms is barely enough to take a gal to the movies.  I can't imagine what a person might possibly want to bring suit against another for $20 whole smackers, so I'm sure that this is adjusted for inflation, but if its not the piratical aspect is that every civil case  of any significant amount will probably be tried by a Jury.  The irony is that most cases today never reach the court.  They are often settled out of court, in what some might call an extortion racket.  In today's Civil system unless you're a major corporate entity going to court is a losing proposition and win or lose you'll pay big time.  Many ambulance chasers have latched onto this fact and every year hundreds of millions of dollars are payed to frivolous lawsuits that never see the light of a courtroom. 

The first part is pretty much self explanatory, I think it should be painfully obvious why.  But what about the second part?  What does that mean.  Well, that's mostly for the appeals process and that has a lot to do with Local, State and Federal law.  It would make no sense for the facts in evidence to be picked apart by people that are not equipped by proper law to handle the information.  Think of it as a way of ensuring that things that are important to the case are not thrown out for simplistic or idiotic reasons. 

My take on this amendment:  Well actually it's pretty sound the major problem is that because of how its set up its a pain in the ass to go to trail.  Because of that there are out of court settlements.  It is a system rife with corruption, and there need to be Tort laws, or laws reforming the damages awarding, and also there need to be laws seeking to quash frivolous suites.  A woman getting into a car accident and waiting 4 days to claim neck pain, really isn't worthy of $20 let alone multiple tens of thousands of dollars.  Likewise if you are in the commission of a crime and happened to be injured by say the legitimate owners of a house you're robbing, you shouldn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to a civil suit, and nay lawyer that attempts to do so should be disbarred. 

As an aside one of the reasons health care costs so damn much is because not of evil drug firms, or greedy doctors but because of Lawyers.  In some states its not economically practical to practice certain types of medicine, OB/GYN being the most commonly sued.  In some states up to 60% of a doctors' base pay may go to malpractice insurance.  It is painfully obvious to me that the protections an individual has in criminal proceedings are working quite well (if slowly), but the citizen is woefully under protected in the civil arena. 

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