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Killer's Widow Sues McDonald's

July 31, 1986

I am an attorney. I spend most of my time representing victims in a variety of accident-related lawsuits and claims. I was against Proposition 51; I think most insurance companies are up to no good, etc., etc.

But I am also human and I hope this is not totally inconsistent with being a lawyer. I could not help but share their outrage regarding such a seemingly groundless and far-fetched lawsuit. Admittedly, we know relatively little about this case, other than what has been reported. We do not know if Mrs. Huberty and her children obtained an attorney to file the lawsuit. If she did, my initial reaction is one of embarrassment and a renewed sense of why the public thinks so little of lawyers.

Unfortunately, anyone can file a civil lawsuit, whether on their own or through a lawyer. The court clerks are not authorized to separate the trash from those suits with merit. But those of us who believe we act responsibly when filing lawsuits share the belief that the court system should not be abused.

With all of my biases in favor of victim's rights, I still cannot see where there would be any merit in a claim by the family of this mass murderer that somehow McDonald's was responsible for triggering his murderous binge.

Yes, we have many legal doctrines that have enjoyed expansion in recent years, allowing thousands of people to recover compensation for injuries that would never have seen such compensation even a decade ago. But this is going too far, and serves to tarnish all of us who represent real victims of real negligent or culpable conduct.

GARY N. STERN

Los Angeles

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