Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More musings on the Self-Represented

Charliey Dyer wrote about aiding the self-represented in the latest issue of Spectrum. Courts take access to justice seriously and our court libraries are doing their best. An article in the November California Lawyer made me wonder if the non-representation problem is due more to the cost of court procedures than distrust of attorneys. Try to read the entire article; it's interesting.

“Roundtable – Product Liability,” page. 49
"Moderator: What role can the courts play in controlling the cost of product liability litigation generally and to preserve access?

"NEALEY: One issue we are concerned about is access to courts. In cases were somebody was clearly injured, but their medical bills are $50,000 or $100,000, the system is so expensive that it can affect their access to courts. From the defense side, what are your thoughts on cases where the damages are not particularly high?

"KELLY: Those cases have dropped out of the system. [emphasis mine] I grew up on cases like that, and nowadays, you either have catastrophic injury cases or wrongful death cases. But that midrange case—the plaintiffs bar doesn’t seem to be filing them. These are the cases that the younger attorneys need in order to develop their trial skills. It’s a mystery to us on the defense side as to why they aren’t being brought because the level of proof necessary to get a case to jury in a product liability case in California isn’t that high, although the defense will be mounted will probably be stiff, and most of those cases are lost by plaintiffs. But 10 years ago, that didn’t stop plaintiffs from filing them.

"BOSMAN: When those types of cases are filed, we generally contact the plaintiffs[sic] attorney and ask for documentation so we can evaluate the injuries and the damages prior to spending time defending the action. However, the response from plaintiffs is usually silence. So it’s interesting to hear Scott [Nealey] say that he is having a hard time with these cases because of the cost of taking them to court."

1 comment:

Robin said...

Thanks for posting the link to Charles Dyer's article in Spectrum. - RFW from http://scaccesstojustice.wordpress.com