Lawsuit-happy society

Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2002

This appeared in an article in Tuesday's Empire:

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"It's only natural," said Harris. "My sister's dead. ... She (Johnnie) has insurance, so a lawsuit doesn't mean we will necessarily go after the girl. That's why she has insurance.

"I don't think she should be punished if the DA found that she did nothing criminally wrong. I'm sure it's bad enough she has to live with what she did for the rest of her life. But a civil suit is just part of the process of things."

I'm not sure if this is a cause or symptom of the problem with the legal system in the U.S. Here is someone who believes another person is not necessarily at fault and shouldn't be punished, but they sue anyway to get money. If they are not seeking punishment, the only reason for a suit is to profit from a tragic event. The idea that money from insurance companies is free does not take into account the cost to all of us of a lawsuit-happy society. I am very sorry for the loss of the family and do not know the circumstances of the cause of the death of Mrs. Harris, but if the family truly does not believe that Ms. Johnnie was at fault or should be punished, why should the rest of us be punished through higher insurance rates? I sincerely hope if this goes to trial that the jury will look at the statements made in the Empire and throw the case out and require the reimbursement of all legal costs, including the costs to the rest of us for holding a trial.

Mark Prussing

Underwood, Wash.

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