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Posts Tagged ‘justice system’

Today’s Flickr Photo

From the 10/10/10 rally in front of the White House. Flickr photo by 350.Org

If you read one thing today . . .

It seems the civil court system in this country is a lot like our health care system. It might seem like the best in the world until you start examining important details, such as access and affordability. Then it’s a different matter entirely. Dan Froomkin’s piece in the Huffington Post cites a new survey that ranks the U.S. “lowest among 11 developed nations when it comes to providing access to justice to its citizens — and lower than some third-world nations in some categories.” Froomkin writes:

Why haven’t more Americans successfully sued the banks that lured them into fraudulent mortgages, then foreclosed on them without the required paperwork?

It could be because the civil justice system in this country is essentially inaccessible to many Americans — and when it does get accessed, is tilted toward the wealthy and moneyed interests.

Overheard

David Corn at Mother Jones wonders why Team Obama would have opened up about their failings to New York Times Magazine writer Peter Baker so close to the election. The NYT magazine piece was posted Wednesday and includes choice tidbits, including this from trusted presidential confidant David Axelord:

“Perhaps we were naive,” White House adviser David Axelrod remarked to Baker. “First, [the president’s] always had good relations across party lines. And secondly, I think he believed that in the midst of a crisis you could find partners on the other side of the aisle to help deal with it. I don’t think anyone here expected the degree of partisanship that we confronted.”

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We got a special preview of Susan Saladoff’s excellent new documentary, Hot Coffee, Monday at Public Citizen. The movie opens with a look at the case of Stella Liebeck, who famously sued McDonald’s after she was seriously burned by a 49-cent cup of the fast food chain’s hot coffee. Of course, Liebeck, who was 79 at the time of the accident, became the butt of jokes and her case became a cause célèbre as exhibit #1 of a justice system overrun with frivolous lawsuits.

If a woman could sue McDonald’s for spilling coffee on herself, was there any limit to what the courts might be forced to rule upon? But as Saladoff shows, the punchlines and misinformation put forward by so-called tort “reformers” didn’t begin to tell the story of Stella Liebeck. The facts are that McDonald’s brewed its coffee at 180 degrees, a temperature hot enough to seriously burn anyone who might spill it on themselves. In fact, Liebeck’s injuries were so serious she required skin grafts. And she wasn’t the first person burned by McDonald’s hot coffee — at least 700 others had reported (more…)

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