PDA

View Full Version : Article on Lawsuits Against Disney


jcb
06-05-2012, 11:25 AM
Last Friday, there was an interesting article in the OC Register (http://www.ocregister.com/news/disney-356898-knott-court.html) on the lawsuits filed against Disney (primarily Disneyland) and Knott's Berry Farms.

What made it more interesting is that a legal publication (http://blogs.findlaw.com/injured/2012/06/disneyland-sued-in-140-injury-cases-in-5-years.html) republished the article and then added the infamous tagline: "If your visit to a theme park results in injury, an experienced personal injury attorney can help investigate your case and make sure you're not taken for a ride."

"taken for a ride," really?

Cherinva
06-05-2012, 11:38 AM
Ugg

chirurgeon
06-05-2012, 11:59 AM
Sometimes, lawyers can be a real pain in the backside. Present company excluded (most of the time :lmao:)

Kim

OKW Lover
06-05-2012, 12:29 PM
Agree on some lawyers giving the profession a bad name.

We're currently on our way home from New Orleans. On our last day in town we rented a car and drove over to Gulfport Mississippi to visit Val's cousin (who was responsible for us ever meeting in the first place). Along the way I noticed a billboard saying something along the lines of; "Hit by 18 wheeler or company truck? Call 800-xxx-xxxx" In other words, this guy wanted the cases with a possibility of really big payoffs by going after the "deep pockets".

k5jmh
06-05-2012, 12:34 PM
:rolleyes1

ĽA woman who says her muscular dystrophy makes it hard for her to walk has fought Disney for nearly five years for the right to ride a Segway in the park.

tallen429
06-05-2012, 12:50 PM
I had quite a slip and fall at Beach Club near one of the entrance ways that was VERY slippery and not attended to. It hurt. A lot. Umm...I got up from the floor, went to the desk, said "You might want to do something about that" and proceeded on my merry way. Yes, I was sore, yes it was their fault. At no point did it cross my mind to ask for a lawyer!! :scared1:

ETA: there were even two witnesses who saw me go down (one grabbed for me and missed but at least he tried!)

Cheshire Figment
06-05-2012, 02:37 PM
According to the latest report, as well as trends, it appears that the two Disney Parks in Anaheim have about 22 Million visitors per year. This means that in five years there are about 110 Million visitors. For 140 lawsuits in five years, this is an average of 28 per year. This computes out to 0.00012 of 1% of the visits. Not a very significant number. It also can work out to 1 out of every 785,714 visits.

Sorry for the math, but...

tjevans
06-06-2012, 07:22 AM
As a lawyer, I would hardly call FindLaw a legal publication. It's only purpose is advertisement and marketing for lawyers.

tjevans
06-06-2012, 07:33 AM
Agree on some lawyers giving the profession a bad name.

Along the way I noticed a billboard saying something along the lines of; "Hit by 18 wheeler or company truck? Call 800-xxx-xxxx" In other words, this guy wanted the cases with a possibility of really big payoffs by going after the "deep pockets".


Can someone explain why this gives the profession a bad name? Maybe it's because I'm a lawyer, but I don't see anything "bad" about this.

A lawsuit, especially against a large corporation, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. In the U.S., personal injury lawsuits are typically handled on the plaintiff's side on a contingency basis, which means the lawyer gets a percentage of the total recovery.

While I will admit there are plenty of lawyers out there who will take almost any case, a reputable plaintiff's lawyer will not take a personal injury case unless it's a good case. That means that the plaintiff was actually hurt (and the injury was significant enough) and there's a good chance of recovery. The latter usually means you aren't interested in suing a mom and pop operation that may just file bankruptcy to get out of the liability (especially if punitive damages are involved since in MS they're capped based on the income of the defendant).

(As a disclaimer, I do not work in the personal injury area).

OKW Lover
06-06-2012, 07:50 AM
Can someone explain why this gives the profession a bad name? Maybe it's because I'm a lawyer, but I don't see anything "bad" about this.

Sure. Or at least I'll give you the reason it gives me that impression.

First a disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. In my work experience I've worked extensively with lawyers (regulated business) and found the ones I worked with to be really nice people with good insights.

Now, on to the question at hand. This particular lawyer was clearly looking for big cases - those with potential big payouts. No mention was made of fee arrangements on the billboard, but my assumption is that they are on a contingency basis and will take some large portion of any damages. A lawyers work in a case should be based on actual work performed, not on severity of injury/damage. So, it looks to me like this lawyer just wants to take cases with a greater possibility of a large payout.

As to complexity of cases. Yes, I know that large corporations will put up a vigorous defense. Perhaps I see a world a bit differently though especially in the case of auto accidents where there fault is a bit more clear. In those cases where the company driver was at fault, the large corporation will also give be willing to make a settlement offer that is reasonable in their opinion. No doubt there will be a difference of opinion as to the $$ involved, but this is more about negotiation tactics. Here again, the lawyer should be working for the benefit of his client, not for his own benefit.

Wow - where did that soap box come from? :mic:

jcb
06-06-2012, 07:54 AM
Can someone explain why this gives the profession a bad name? Maybe it's because I'm a lawyer, but I don't see anything "bad" about this.

A lawsuit, especially against a large corporation, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. In the U.S., personal injury lawsuits are typically handled on the plaintiff's side on a contingency basis, which means the lawyer gets a percentage of the total recovery.

While I will admit there are plenty of lawyers out there who will take almost any case, a reputable plaintiff's lawyer will not take a personal injury case unless it's a good case. That means that the plaintiff was actually hurt (and the injury was significant enough) and there's a good chance of recovery. The latter usually means you aren't interested in suing a mom and pop operation that may just file bankruptcy to get out of the liability (especially if punitive damages are involved since in MS they're capped based on the income of the defendant).

(As a disclaimer, I do not work in the personal injury area).

While I agree with Jeff's observations, I have a slightly different concern.

I'm almost old enough to remember when this was a profession and not so much of a business. To me, this kind of advertising (and many of the lawyer ads on TV) put attorneys, who by tradition and law, are in a position of trust with their clients, on the same rung of the ladder with any other business relationship.

My biggest asset with my clients isn't my legal knowledge, it is their trust in my judgment. This add, however, treats clients as a commodity, or, as Jeff rightly points out, simply a means to a lavish, perhaps undeservedly so, lifestyle. I find that offensive (recognizing that I too am not in the personal injury field) and ultimately destructive to the profession.

tjevans
06-06-2012, 10:12 AM
My biggest asset with my clients isn't my legal knowledge, it is their trust in my judgment. This add, however, treats clients as a commodity, or, as Jeff rightly points out, simply a means to a lavish, perhaps undeservedly so, lifestyle. I find that offensive (recognizing that I too am not in the personal injury field) and ultimately destructive to the profession.

I can understand this since the commoditization of lawyers is one of my pet peeves, and it's a two-way street in my book.

I guess I just see the billboard through a slightly different lens since I am in the same state as the billboard. I used to be a defense lawyer for insurance companies. I left that field shortly after tort reform here was enacted. My friends who are still defense lawyers have told me that cases that should be, in their opinions, settled because of legitimate injuries caused by the insured are not being settled because the insurance companies are now highly favored in the court system.

I see the billboard as a way of pre-qualifying potential clients since--again, based purely on anecdotal information--only the most severe cases seem to be prevailing. (By that, I'm counting withstanding an appeal).

tjevans
06-06-2012, 10:20 AM
A lawyers work in a case should be based on actual work performed, not on severity of injury/damage.

You know, I've never given any thought to that aspect of the contingency system--getting much more for payment than the work put in. I guess that's just because it was "the system" and I had no interest in plaintiff's work.

I know the "reason" for that is that if the case is unsuccessful, the lawyer doesn't get reimbursed from the client for expenses or time worked; so the successful cases wind up financing the unsuccessful ones as well.

There's a growing movement for attorney's fees to not be based on time worked but rather on the value to the client. After all, if I work 1 hour and am able to save you from a $1 million verdict, isn't that more valuable than working 10 hours and saving you $50,000? But value billing is a topic of another conversation.

jrtoastyman
06-06-2012, 11:15 AM
I actually am a plaintiff's lawyer, and while I primarily do class action work, I do handle personal injury cases from time to time. I can tell you that I probably refuse 20 cases for every PI case I take and, yes, the cases I do take tend to be death cases or those involving serious injury where the amount in controversy is significant.

It's not really about greed, however, which seems to be the suggestion here, it's a simple matter of economic feasibility. There are costs incurred in working up a case, significant costs, at times, and if the potential recovery isn't going to be substantial enough to cover those costs and still provide a significant recovery for the client, it's not good for anyone. The last thing I would want would be to litigate a case and at the end of the day, the costs and fees eat up the recovery and the client gets nothing. The client's not happy, and we're put in a position of either having a ticked off client or take a cut on our fees, it's just a bad situation -- and it's not good for the profession. Also, since we advance those costs, our money is effectively at stake. Again, from a purely economic standpoint, we're not going to do that unless there we feel like there's going to be a sufficient return on investment.

It's just the realities of modern litigation. It's unfortunate, I think, but it's reality.