Today, the American Association for Justice, a lawyers’ group, launched a new website called Take Justice Back. The website seeks to inform everyday Americans about the civil justice system, and why they should care about protecting that system, and protecting the rights of individuals harmed by corporations.
The American Association for Justice describes the new website as follows:
|Take Justice Back will:• EDUCATE people on how their rights are being threatened;
• MOTIVATE Americans by sharing real stories of people denied justice;
• ENGAGE consumers through social media such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter; and
• EMPOWER activism by creating a portal where people can share information, send letters to members of Congress, sign petitions, and link through to their own blogs
For you employee rights attorneys out there who deal with federal summary judgment motions and common employer arguments, including those arguments that over-rely on the credibility of employer (interested) witnesses, this article is a must read:
“Preserving the Right to a Jury Trial by Preventing Adverse Credibility Inferences at Summary Judgment,” by attorney Matthew C. Koski, of The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy.
This article has a very good discussion of the legal authority, and includes case law and cites that every employee rights attorney could use to help their employee-clients in federal summary judgment practice.
These 7 tips describe very practical approaches and attitudes for life challenges. The quoted tip below reminds me of the Supreme Court, and all the confirmation-process talky-talk where Justices are described with labels like “activists” (bad label) or “umpires” (good label). Behind all the labels and analogies, as well as behind the intellectual rationalizations of complex legal decisions, there are concrete benchmarks– actions by the Justices– that are much more predictable and telling than what is said about and by the Justices. Is a Justice an “umpire,” as described, or do the Justice’s actions on occasion reflect idealism and contradict the umpire ideal? Not to pick on Justices. This is something we all struggle with, to make sure our actions constantly back up our stated intentions.
1. Andrew Carnegie on paying attention to the more important things.
“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
I have to agree, I pay less and less attention to what people say. Because in the end, what someone does is the most important thing. Talking is easy, but walking your talk is harder. And walking it consistently even though you fall, slip back into old habits and make mistakes is a huge part of success.
Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice, wrote at RollCall.com about the importance of trial lawyers as the last resource (and often, the only resource) to address corporate misconduct.
Reading this article made me think, as I often do, of a thought experiment.
Here it goes– think about your answers to the following questions:
(1) How many individuals, yourself and/or others, do you know of who filed a lawsuit against a corporation?
[I bet your answer is very few].
(2) How many of those individuals were found by the legal system to have a frivolous claim?
[I bet your answer is zero].
(3) How many individuals do you know who in effect “won the lottery” and walked away with a big payday as a result of their lawsuit? (This being individuals you KNOW FIRSTHAND won what you think– people routinely gossip, second hand about individuals supposedly winning far, far more than actually occurred).
[I bet your answer is zero, or very few].
(4) How many individuals do you know of who have lost $500 or more as a result of a corporation’s careless or intentional conduct?
[I bet your answer is far more people than your answers to 1-3 combined].
Ms. Lipsen writes:
It has been a daily occurrence to see the news dominated by the latest example of corporate misconduct. Each saga follows the same pattern: Tragedy occurs, followed by apologies tempered by denials and claims of innocence, and evidence that profits were knowingly put ahead of the safety and well-being of the American people.
At the same time, we have also seen how federal agencies lack the resources to adequately protect and safeguard the American people. Regulation is difficult when corporations brag about the millions of dollars saved by limiting their recalls or ignoring industry guidelines in spite of consumer safety.
Ultimately, Americans simply want safe products, fewer preventable injuries and a restoration of checks and balances that give people a fair chance to obtain recourse — before a company’s rampant negligence secures its position in the hot seat. But only after tragic accidents do we closely analyze the agencies and systems that failed, and what must be corrected.
Every time we do so, there is only one institution that consistently protects consumers and holds wrongdoers accountable: America’s civil justice system.
[O]nce these [corporate] scandals fade away, it will be telling to see whether some lawmakers continue with their fixation on “tort reform” — or handing out immunity to the very same corporations responsible for injuring consumers in the first place. Because today, such calls are not only illogical and tone-deaf, but contrary to the interests of all Americans.
Corporations, or their hired guns at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have dedicated millions of dollars to demonize trial attorneys. Yet each corporate scandal and dangerous product show that when the first lines of defense fail to protect the safety of consumers, only the civil justice system can hold negligent corporations accountable and restore justice. At the end of the day, it’s trial attorneys — not the corporations that put profits ahead of safety — that speak for the interests of these families and consumers.
This is an interesting article about conflict resolution by J. Kim Wright, posted on the American Bar Association website.
The article is geared toward lawyers. But its advice applies well for anyone involved in any type of conflict, including those of you involved in employment disputes.
The article describes five conflict-handling- personality traits: (1) the conflict avoider; (2) the accommodating style; (3) the competing style; (4) the compromising style; and (5) the collaborating style.
Each trait is discussed, as well as its pros and cons, and good and bad situations where each trait should be considered.
One described trait jumped out at me: the competing style, a type of communication I constantly see MISUSED in the employment context. As the article puts it:
The competing style is assertive and uncooperative—a competing individual pursues his or her own concerns at the other person’s expense. This is a power-oriented mode, in which one uses whatever power seems appropriate to win one’s own position: one’s ability to argue, one’s rank, economic sanctions. Competing might mean “standing up for your rights,” defending a position that you believe is correct, or simply trying to win.
For the employment attorneys out there– this is a great blog with up-to-date employment law case summaries from all Circuits.
The blog is authored by Paul Mollica of the Chicago employment law firm Meites, Mulder, Mollica & Glink. Paul is a great colleague for whom the term “lawyer’s lawyer” does not go far enough.