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Tucson Weekly Litigation Frustration

Just How Low Will A Lawyer Go?

By Tom Danehy

JUNE 1, 1999:  QUESTIONS FOR THE Millennium...

Did you hear what the idiot Allan Iverson said after he went 7-for-28 from the field in a playoff game his team lost?

He said, "We played like girls."

I've been around girls basketball for more than 20 years, and I don't think I ever saw a girl go 7-28. Generally a coach will yank a kid who has missed 15 or 20 shots. Of course, not a whole lot of girls have their drug-addled, gun-toting posse sitting behind the bench to help guarantee playing time.

Just how low will a lawyer go?

This is a rhetorical question. A lawyer friend of mine once told me: If there is one lawyer in a town, he'll starve. If there are two or more, they'll thrive.

Lawyers go out and scrounge for cases and the extra-low ones take pride in finding new people, places or things to sue. To a lawyer, there is no such thing as bad luck, no such thing as personal responsibility.

No, it's always somebody else's fault, and we're going to sue the snot out of them and any other deep-pocketed person or organization whom I can stretch the facts to include in the case. I don't care if it's right or fair; I got me some suits to buy.

Just this past week, I have seen articles about these lawyer-related absurdities:

• The United States Forest Service had to pay some girl seven figures because she got mauled by a bear. I remember when it happened and I felt horrible for her. I hope she makes a full recovery and the nightmares end.

But, excuse me, how is that the Forest Service's fault? You're in the damn woods! There might be a bear. Me, I have never once worried about being attacked by a bear. That's mostly because I don't sleep out in the woods. See how that works?

And if I did go into the woods and a bear chewed on me, I wouldn't sue anybody. I'd say, "Dang, I knew there was a reason why I shouldn't go into the woods." Not, "Hey, there should have been a Forest Service guy walking alongside me to warn me that there might be a bear in the woods. Where's my lawyer?"

• A woman sued a golf course because she got bit by a rattlesnake.

She was in the damn desert! There are snakes. Snakes bite. How is it the greenskeeper's fault?

• In a tragic case, the parents of a Salpointe student who died in a one-car accident last winter are suing the City of Tucson, claiming that the City dumped anti-freeze on a road for de-icing purposes.

I remember reading about it when it happened; it was sad. I have a teenage daughter and my heart went out to those parents. It must be terrible losing a loved one like that, and human nature tries to get you to place blame elsewhere. It's probably a bit easier to go on with life if you can say, "It wasn't just a horrible accident. It was somebody else's fault!"

The City will probably settle out of court, because the lawyer that family got never loses. So, we'll probably never know for sure whether the City did dump that stuff on the road, and if they did, whether it was actually dangerous. And, if they did dump it and it was dangerous, why was she the only one who had an accident on that stretch of road that day?

• Probably the worst one involves another fatality. This is extra sad, because a man lost his wife, and kids lost their mother. According to the reports, this woman ran a stop sign and cut in front of oncoming cross-traffic, where she was broad-sided by a sheriff's car. She died as a result of the collision.

The guy driving the sheriff's car was new on the job. He was demoted by the department, but was cleared of any wrongdoing in court. Lawyers are arguing as to whether she ran the stop sign, but admit that she did pull out in front of the other car. If she had had a fender-bender, she would have been cited for failure to yield. But since she died, her family gets to sue? How does that work, exactly?

Which is worth more: One-half of a yen or a Sabino High School diploma?

See, we thought only college athletes got credit for classes they didn't attend. Sabino's a progressive place, I guess. But the diploma isn't worth a whole lot. About the only place it'll get a kid into these days is ASU. I wonder what those no-need-to-show-up classes were like. I guess the final exam was to see if you could say "Paper or plastic?" 10 times without feeling the urge to run to the nearest recruiter's office to enlist in the Army.

What are we going to do with cell-phone people?

They get bolder, and therefore more annoying and dangerous, every day. Last week, I went to the movies with my son. Three times during the movie the cell phone belonging to the anus seated directly behind us rang. And this butt-hair would just answer it and start talking like he was in the whorehouse that his mama brought him up in.

After the first couple times, I thought he'd turn it off, but he didn't. On the third call, I turned around and asked him if he'd like his phone in suppository form. He thought about it for a second, probably figuring that it'd be akin to a mechanical gerbil.

Gee, how did we ever used to go to the grocery store without talking on the phone as we strolled the aisles? And how did we ever get in our vehicles and drive for a couple miles without using one hand to hold the phone to our ear and the other to steer wildly down the street because we're not focusing on what we're doing?

I swear I wish that every single person who talks on the phone while driving would get in an accident. With each other. No serious injuries or anything, just damage to each individual vehicle in the amount of one dollar less than the amount of the deductible.

And while they're waiting there for the tow-truck to come, they could use their cell phones to call their lawyers. Hey, maybe they could get up a class action and sue Alexander Graham Bell.

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