Loser pays (A.K.A The British system) the ultimate sham.

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Loser pays (A.K.A The British system) the ultimate sham.

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:05 am

One of the saddest things in McGruffs travels, are employees who have cases that merit litigation, however the cost to litigate against the employer,and the remedies provided, prohibit the cost of litigation. For example an employee who holds a minimum wage job for any number of reasons (Uneducated, foreign born, ex-felon, etc, etc) Is fired because he/she is old and can not say wash as many dishes or cars, flip hamburgers as fast, as a younger person or may not follow instructions as well because of limitations. The employee is fired for an illegal reason, two weeks later he/she is back to work doing the same thing for the same or even more money. The aggrieved employee is basically entitled to two weeks pay at minimum wage as a remedy. The employer has clearly broken the law, but the award does not justify the cost of even filing a pleading.

Supporters of legal "reform" (mostly ignorant) advocate adoption of the English rule, also known as "loser pays," on legal fees and costs. These ignoramuses argue that such a rule would deter frivolous lawsuits. However, such a system actually would further erode personal responsibility in America, because it would force injured citizens to back down from holding wrongdoers accountable.

1. The English rule would force injured Americans to shy away from holding wrongdoers accountable because a claim filed against a powerful corporation or government could wipe out these citizens financially if they have to pay the other side's legal fees and costs. Winning a trial is never guaranteed, and the injured party would be faced with this stark reality: You can try to right a wrong, but if all does not go exactly as planned your family gets a one-way ticket to financial ruin and dependency.

2. Even England does not strictly adhere to the English rule. Unlike the U.S over half of England's citizens qualify for government-run legal assistance. The English rule rarely applies when the "loser" is a recipient of legal aid.

3. The conservative English magazine The Economist in January called for abandonment of the English Rule and expansion of contingent fees. The magazine stated: "The worst aspect of this system [English Rule] is that it denies access to justice to huge numbers of people."

4. English trade unions provide legal representation to their members and pay the other side's costs if a case is lost. Most arbitration agreement in union contracts have this language as well in the U.S.

5. Without a government-run program to help injured consumers pay legal fees and costs, Americans could not afford to vindicate their rights and wrongdoers would not be held accountable. Has anyone seriously suggested that America needs to replace its system, in which private litigants pay their own expenses, with a government-run program?

Those that advocate the English rule in the U.S always stop of short of that aspect when the the English system is proposed. They want looser pay, but they don't want subsidized lawyers paid by the government. Attorneys in England are well paid compared to their American counterparts. Under the American System the attorneys that do the best trial work command the highest salaries. Do not fall for the loser pays sham, because it is just that a sham. England has socialized medicine,and they have socialized legal services, neither functions very well. The American proponents of tort reform want to gut the legal system. They see every case before the bench as frivolous until they require legal service.
JoeC (McGruff)
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JoeC (McGruff)
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