Put a stop to the greed of trial lawyers Jonathan...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 13, 2002

Put a stop to the greed of trial lawyers

Jonathan Turley's column "Lawyers drooling over big fat awards" (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 1) was right on target. Greedy personal injury lawyers have found a new victim in their hunt for multimillion-dollar jackpots -- the fast-food industry.

It's no secret that greasy hamburgers and super-sized french fries are bad for our health. We have known that for years. And we must take responsibility for what we choose to put in our mouths. There is no one else to blame.

But some greedy personal injury lawyers know the fast-food chains have deep pockets, and will file lawsuit after lawsuit in the hope of fattening their own bank accounts.

Some personal injury lawyers and plaintiffs will continue to abuse our civil justice system to squeeze every penny out of their next victim. Until they are stopped, we will continue to read about such outrageous lawsuits.

It's time that we say enough is enough.

Nancy H. Hill

Annapolis

The writer is executive director of Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

Scoffing at lawsuits ignores their effect

While admitting that "fast-food businesses are vulnerable to allegations of misrepresentation, fraud and negligence," Jonathan Turley nevertheless makes light of efforts to use legal action against obesity in the same way my colleagues and I have so successfully used it against smoking ("Lawyers drooling over big fat awards," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 1).

But the experts scoffed as well when the first smokers' lawsuits were filed, and we are now routinely winning multimillion-dollar verdicts; when nonsmokers' lawsuits were filed, even though we've now won more than $300 million; and when states sued the tobacco industry, until we won more than $250 billion.

People made light of a lawsuit my law students helped bring against McDonald's for failing to disclose the fat content of its french fries, but a $12.5 million settlement seems to have quieted critics and encouraged at least three additional fat-fraud lawsuits, one of which is close to settlement.

The fast-food industry is responding with major attack ads -- and a campaign warning people not to eat too much fast food -- sure signs it is taking these lawsuits seriously.

So experts, pundits and commentators can scoff all they want; I've heard it many times before.

John F. Banzhaf III

Washington

The writer is a professor of public interest law at the George Washington University Law School.

Rebuilding Pimlico would renew hope

Drugs, crime and violence surround the Pimlico Race Course area and, for that matter, the whole city, and a lot of these problems stem from the high unemployment rate among African-American males and others in the city.

One of the things that is needed to help make Northwest Baltimore and all of the city a better place to live is to give its people hope, and hope comes in the form of employment.

Magna Entertainment Corp.'s idea of tearing down the race track and building a new one from scratch, while building a technical training center that will help provide jobs and skills for inner-city youths is definitely a step in the right direction ("Officials betting Pimlico project gives city a boost," Aug. 6).

Without some hope for city youths, we will only see more crime, violence and drug abuse because, unfortunately, some people perceive these behaviors as their only way out.

Murphy Edward Smith

Baltimore

Killing gives reason to flee Baltimore

Nothing I've read or heard in years about violent crime in Baltimore unsettled me more than The Sun's front-page article "Teens slip monitors, are held in killings" (July 31).

Where could urban flight be more justified than from the Baltimore communities on which the juvenile justice system unleashed these young alleged murderers?

Jacob W. Slagle

Baltimore

Some common sense on bullets and guns

It was delightfully refreshing to see The Sun make the common-sense statement in the editorial "Stray people" (Aug. 5) that we "must hold shooters responsible. Bullets don't stray. People do."

It would follow that, since people fire the guns that shoot the bullets, guns don't kill. People do.

It would behoove our legislators and our criminal justice system to make sure that anyone convicted of using a gun in a crime, even if the gun is not fired, is put away as long as possible.

No plea bargains, no parole.

Zev Griner

Reisterstown

Church's dishonesty fanned sex scandal

I couldn't agree more with Michael Olesker's column "Money and morality intersect, and outrage becomes palpable" (Aug. 6).

The Catholic Church has done a very poor job of damage control on the sex scandal. The church's inability to be honest and direct about the scandal has probably done more harm (except to those violated) than the scandal itself.

We are still waiting for the Vatican to assume the role it should, and issue a direct and definitive statement to its followers.

Jeanne Kloss

Whitehall

Cancel the tax cut to pay for drugs

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