Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fraud Inquiry Looks At
Lawyers In Diet-Drug Case

by Adam Liptak - March 24th, 2007 - The New York Times

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W. L. Carter knew there was something fishy going on when he went to his lawyers’ office a few years ago to pick up his settlement check for the heart damage he had sustained from taking the diet drug combination fen-phen.

The check was, for starters, much smaller than he had expected. And his own lawyers threatened to retaliate against him if he ever told anyone, including his family, how much he had been paid. “You will be fined $100,000, you will go to jail and you will be sued,” Mr. Carter recalled them saying.

Mr. Carter was right to have been suspicious. The lawyers defrauded their clients, a state judge has ruled in a civil case, when they settled fen-phen lawsuits on behalf of 440 of them for $200 million but kept the bulk of the money for themselves. Legal experts said the fraud might be one of the biggest and most brazen in legal history.

Notice the disclaimer "might be". Even lawyers are not willing to say it is more brazen than is common. Actually it is hard to claim this is more brazen than standard practice by most lawyers. All you have to do is investigate almost any probate case to see massive fraud is the rule of the day. There is a reason the following is a well known joke: "A man asked his attorney how much it would cost to get 3 simple questions answered. The lawyer said '$150'. He asked 'Isn't that a little high?' The lawyer, answered 'No, what is your last question?'"

Greed is what our current court system is all about. The "rule of judges" has become common due to the arrogant belief by attorneys and judges that law is their domain and the people have no say. It is time to end this fraud, and I don't just mean the single example in the article above. It is time to end the standard practice of fraud in our courts.


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