What I didn’t learn in law school….
Mona Charen, who, for some reason gets paid to write columns, takes on John Edwards:
John Edwards, the handsome, and comely and attractive senator from North Carolina (well, those are his chief assets) has announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination for president. A relative newcomer to politics, Mr. Edwards has caught the eye of party elders due to his, well, his looks.
Mr. Edwards does start with one big disadvantage, though. He’s a trial lawyer, and while this allows him ready access to the deep pockets of his fellow trial lawyers, it causes many Americans to wrinkle their noses. Clearly, Mr. Edwards has been working on how to spin the trial lawyer handicap, and he’s decided to frame it this way: His multimillion-dollar business mau-mauing companies out of large settlements is really being “a champion for regular people.”….. (my emphasis)
The law school-educated Charen makes the assertion that Senator Edwards was “mau-mauing” companies . for big settlements. She doesn’t explain the term ‘mau-mauing’ and I assume it’s not a legal term. I do know that the expression is a favorite of Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, so I guess it involves some feminine, right-wing Mandingo fantasy that must keep Trent Lott up at night, dampening his sheets. Anyway, since she brought it up, what kind of settlements did he manage to ‘mau-mau’?
According to The Washington Monthly:
The defining case in Edwards’ legal career wrapped up that same year. In 1993, a five-year-old girl named Valerie Lakey had been playing in a Wake County, N.C., wading pool when she became caught in an uncovered drain so forcefully that the suction pulled out most of her intestines. She survived but for the rest of her life will need to be hooked up to feeding tubes for 12 hours each night. Edwards filed suit on the Lakeys’ behalf against Sta-Rite Industries, the Wisconsin corporation that manufactured the drain. Attorneys describe his handling of the case as a virtuoso example of a trial layer bringing a negligent corporation to heel. Sta-Rite offered the Lakeys $100,000 to settle the case. Edwards passed. Before trial, he discovered that 12 other children had suffered similar injuries from Sta-Rite drains. The company raised its offer to $1.25 million. Two weeks into the trial, they upped the figure to $8.5 million. Edwards declined the offer and asked for their insurance policy limit of $22.5 million. The day before the trial resumed from Christmas break, Sta-Rite countered with $17.5 million. Again, Edwards said no. On January 10, 1997, lawyers from across the state packed the courtroom to hear Edwards’ closing argument, “the most impressive legal performance I have ever seen,” recalls Dayton. Three days later, the jury found Sta-Rite guilty and liable for $25 million in economic damages (by state law, punitive damages could have tripled that amount). The company immediately settled for $25 million, the largest verdict in state history. For their part, Edwards and Kirby earned the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s national award for public service
I can see how a case like that would offend all right-thinking Americans.
Maybe this is why Charen writes bad columns instead practicing law before a jury.