Our Corporatist Party President and his team of cronies consistently blame “Trial Lawyers” for the ills of America. Yet the moment they are inconvenienced in any way, they run to the court system, hire a multi-office gigantic law firm and sue anyone in their way. Well I am sick of it. The time has come to call them on their own hypocrisy.
What am I rambling about? I am talking about the case Bork v. Yale Club, 07-cv-4826, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. A frivolous lawsuit that conservative jurist, failed Supreme Court Nominee, and author of the ultra-conservative, The Tempting of America, The Political Seduction of the Law, Robert Bork filed against the Yale Club for an amount in excess of $1,000,000.00. (Yes, I know Bork is not an official part of this administration, but he is a part of the Corporatist Party taking control of my Republican Party; I can't help but dislike him as well, and this lawsuit didn't help.)
What happened? Mr. Bork was asked to speak at the Yale Club. On his way up to the podium he tripped and bumped his leg. He proceeded to get up on stage and give the speech.
Mr. Bork felt that the Yale Club was obligated to create a small step and handrail for him to use when getting up on the podium. The injury was worth “in excess of” $1,000,000.00 to Mr. Bork, who I am sure feels any inconvenience in his life is worth more then $1,000,000.00.
Isn’t it amazing how many conservatives are willing to ditch their “principles” the minute they are inconvenienced. Not even injured, but merely inconvenienced. Somehow these people rationalize that they are exempt from their own philosophical views of life. Mr. Bork was a member of The American Enterprise Institute. This organization is engaged in the tort "reform" movement. They sit around and espouse how America is being terrorized by an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits. In fact I remember Mr. Bork comparing the Tort System and Plaintiff’s lawyers to pirates stealing from merchants on the high seas.
These tort “reform” organizations spend millions of dollars fighting for Tort Reform. I wonder if Mr. Bork had to resign so he could bring a lawsuit over a bruise that did not appear to require any hospitalization or long term recovery or permanent injury? I beg you to Google Bork’s name. If you do, you will find a number of interesting commentaries calling this claim “ridiculous”. I wonder if these conservative commentators will ban Bork from the Annual Corporatist Party Trial Lawyer Bashing Party?
To make matters worse. Mr. Bork’s Complaint asked for punitive damages! Why? What possible behavior on the part of the Yale Club would require them to be hit with a punishment like punitive damages. What Gross Negligence or Reckless behavior could there have been?
Let us for just a moment pretend that failing to put Mr. Bork on Cesar’s seat , lift him into the air and carry him to the podium with a servant fanning him and feeding him grapes was not negligence. Yes, let us pretend that making him actually walk, by himself no less, up to the podium and allowing him to step up onto the podium without a team of guards was actually negligent. The real question is; was it reckless?
Was it gross negligence? Was it intentional? Nothing in the factual pattern I know of would lead any reasonable person to believe this is even a regular negligence case, much less a punitive damage negligence case. Isn’t this guy part of the party that wants to do away with punitive damages? Could it be that he plead it but didn’t mean it? Nope again.
Why? Because typically the Plaintiff would please punitive damages as a part of their negligence claim. However, here Bork plead the Complaint with a whole separate claim for Punitive Damages. In other words, he feels that Yale Club was so Reckless that it was a separate action beyond just failing to help him to the podium. As an injury attorney I can only say… Wild.
Now, get this! On top of making a frivolous negligence claim and on top of making a completely punitive damage claim devoid of any facts that meet the standards for a punitive damage claim he also asks the court to award Attorney Fees. No, for those of you who know, you don’t get attorney fees for negligence cases. Why does Professor Bork, Lawyer Bork and Judge Bork get to ask for something in his case that no one else it entitled to get? Maybe he is asking for this award based on his contact with the Yale Club. But, I don’t think so. I think he just can’t believe that he has to live by the same rules as the rest of us.
On top of asking for all the other stuff Judge Bork decided he has the right to “Pre-Judgment Interest”. In other words, he not only wants $1,000,000.00 for his bruise, but he also wants interest on that money and he wants the interest to run from before he even gets a judgment. Wow! Pretty wild, since I don’t think one is entitled to pre-judgment interest in a personal injury lawsuit. I would love it if Plaintiff’s were entitled to pre-judgment interest. I feel like the insurance company gets the use of the money they owe my client and they get to make money on that money until the very day they turn over a settlement check or a check to cover a verdict. Until that time the Plaintiff does not have the rights to the money and therefore has no right to interest on the money. Thus, the rich insurance companies or rich corporations get to make money on the money instead of the Plaintiff. No wonder the insurance companies want to draw out the cases so long!
What is the truth about what Bork actually wanted to do? Who knows. What we do know is that Bork hired one of the most significant multi-office huge behemoth law firms. It is hard to imagine that with all their talent, knowledge and experience they did not mean every word of their very specific Complaint. It is also hard to imagine that a Federal Judge filing a Federal Complaint in Federal Court with experienced Federal Court Counsel doesn’t know exactly what he is doing. If he says otherwise, don’t believe it.
We can only hope, that if Mr. Bork’s lawsuit is as valueless as the pleadings appear to be and that the Judge will throw his case out on its ear. However, given the fact that the cronies all help each other, maybe Mr. Bork will be assigned to that Federal Judge who is suing for $45,000,000 for his pants.
Brian F. LaBovick
Stepping down off the soapbox and signing off
Click here to read more on the story from the New York Times and Bloomberg News