Monday, November 24, 2008

Legal Abuse Syndrome

Answer "yes" to just one of the following questions and you will know why I wrote this book for you:

* Does being called to court strike fear in your heart?
* Are you struggling in the court system now?
* Have you been to court in the past and come away wounded?
* Is precious time and money needed for your profession being consumed just to protect you from the legal monster?
* Do you worry about someone you supervise or care about due to their involvement with the legal system?

Do you answer "yes" because the legal monster has eaten the heart out of trust, truth and justice? Has the loss of these social staples left you without inspiration?

In a recent survey of people like you who have been to court:

Average amount paid in legal fees was $127,900; The largest was $500,000 and the lowest was $6,000.

Average number of court appearances including appeals was 48.

The average case lasted eight years. The longest case is now going on 18 years, the shortest case was two years. Most were not satisfactorily completed. After great effort an expense, money ran out, lawyers would not take the case, and justice was not achieved. Regardless of cost, there was no closure for people using our justice system.

For you who have never been to court , the legal monster crouches in shadows. Fear of litigation costs millions of dollars each year in wasted time and money. Surgeons spend more time doing paperwork than surgery just to ensure that they meticulously minimize liability. Your doctor's malpractice premium gets passed on to you in higher fees. Drugs go undeveloped or are prolonged while pharmaceutical companies take extra steps to prevent litigation. School personnel avoid confronting disciplinary issues for fear of being sued by angry parents. Every dollar you spend is inflated to cover costs of litigation avoidance aka risk management. The innocent settle suits that deserve to be heard because the legal monster crowds out justice.

Who or what is this menace? It is the result of the abusive nature of our legal system and absence of consistent checks and balances. Therefore, warning about liability is the theme of this generation. Most of you don't easily trust institutions or each other. Fear of being vulnerable to exploitation or assault may prevent you from a new venture or idea. The very thought of being wiped out by litigation quells creativity and forces tension in all relationships. We live in times of prenuptial agreements and fine print asking us to give up rights before a conflict arising. This book will reach out to you and reintroduce the human side of justice seeking. Truth, trust, and access to justice are staples of a sound society. They must not be allowed to be chewed up and swallowed by the legal monster. This book will guide you.

If you are left damaged from a bad court experience, one thing is for sure. You do not deserve to live with the horror that there is nothing you can do about improving changes for a fair justice system. For you, this book will bring together research from the most active and brilliant legal critics. A complete list of readings and resources will guide you toward personal healing, reconnecting with others, risking judicious trust, and planning positive action. It is critical that you do not withdraw into isolation. You are needed. Your knowledge, expertise, and decency can make the difference.

NOTE: To participate in the on-going documentation of Legal Abuse Syndrome, and to share your case overview with Ms. Huffer for research purposes, please e-mail REDRESS2@redressinc .org , and note "Study Participant" in the subject line.

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