The Lawsuit Myth

Letters published February 25, 2004

The Statement Shaker Square Cinemas
The Lawsuit Myth
Going after BigCorp. whacks us all in the end: We need to stop the myth that lawsuits against the government, doctors, or big corporations are "kicking the ass" of these corporations and "teaching them a lesson" [First Punch, February 4]. This is what all the lawyers who specialize in personal injury want us to think. In reality, you and I actually pay for these outcomes in the cost of the product or service that the government, medical community, or corporation provides. This is simple Accounting 101. These lawsuits all eventually fall under the cost of doing business and therefore become part of the increased price we pay.

So why do corporations and the medical community scream so loudly about the need for tort reform? Because they have to continually increase their prices. You may think these lawsuits "teach them a lesson," but it makes it harder for them to compete with foreign companies. In the end, you and I once again pay, when the U.S. companies close their doors and we lose the jobs, taxes, and benefits they offered.

First Punch can start busting the myth that these lawsuits teach big, bad corporations and rich doctors a lesson. The only ones paying for these lawsuits are you and I. Guess who's getting rich from them?

Mark Schmitz

Billable Years
Try hard time for overzealous prosecutors:
In a hideous scandal, prosecutors willfully violated rules regarding discovery at the Georgekopoulos trial [First Punch, January 21]. I am incensed. Imagine how many low-profile trials go this way, how many people are serving long sentences for a lawyer's blind ambition, how many death-penalty cases prosecute the innocent. This calls for media and public outrage, at the level of the "lottery ticket scam." She was some "poor, stupid, greedy bitch" filing frivolous charges, and she will be serving time for merely inconveniencing the system. These criminals were highly educated "trusted protectors of the public good."

Discovery means that prosecution must reveal to the defense all known evidence --not just that which bolsters their case. They stole years of Georgekopoulos's life for the crass ambition of winning a conviction.

Most likely, the wrongly convicted man will sue the State of Ohio for a cash sum -- money charged to innocent taxpayers, not the criminals. They may suffer a reprimand for being "a tad overzealous." Humph. The guilty prosecutors should serve hard time. Rather than having them serve time equal to what Georgekopoulos serves, the court should set an example by doubling the sentence. Maybe this would restore a margin of confidence in the justice system.

Gary Goodman

The Case for Winning
Yeoman performance has its upside:
It's both exciting and scary to think that Oberlin -- my alma mater -- is trying to build up its athletic program ["Revenge of the Jocks," February 4]. When I was a student there, the most popular sport was Frisbee. I think it's a good step for the school -- as long as it doesn't trample Oberlin's academic reputation. And while they're at it, they could consider buying some exercise equipment that was manufactured after 1985. The '70s-era exercise bikes are a little out of date.

Stephen Gross
Cleveland Heights

Whither Mushroomhead
The boys can't kick it old-school anymore:
There is all this talk about how great Mushroomhead's new album is [Around Hear, January 28]. I am not saying it's bad, but many fans like the older stuff. I was upset when I went to a show that was supposed to be "old-school" and all they did was perform from their XX CD.

Mushroomhead is losing its diehard fans. I understand that they were signed to a label and that ticket prices must be raised, but I am not paying $28 to see another show that is exactly the same as the last six I saw. My friends and I have discussed this many a time, and we have all come to the same conclusion. We want the old 'Shroom back, and fast. Yes, they have a larger fan base and some of the new music is good, but where are the old-school guys? They say that they love playing for their hometown. Well, play some old-school, and hype it up a bit. I promise that the fans will be happier!

Sarah Schrenk

Clay Gets a Pass
A teen reveals her Aiken heart:
What Jason Bracelin wrote about Clay Aiken was entirely inappropriate [Soundbites, January 28]. I am only 14 years old, and I know that it is wrong to make such assumptions about a man you don't know personally.

The song is about someone who is in love, but can't get their attention. He is not a stalker. He is saying that if he was invincible, he could tell her the way he feels, because he knows he cannot be hurt. Clearly you have not listened to the song properly.

With all due respect,
Haley Riggsbee
Alamo, TN

Autistic license: Where do you get the nerve to insult someone as gracious and talented as Clay Aiken? Before American Idol, he worked with an autistic child, and he is very passionate about that cause. He shows it by founding the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. With respect to his physical "flaws," as you call them, you may have noticed that a huge part of his fan base is made up of women, most of whom do not see any such flaws.

This article is poorly written and poorly researched, and has only one clear point: to put down Clay Aiken.

Kirsten Ruud
Plymouth, MN

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