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Paying Off Plaintiffs

August 13, 1987

Having just devoted six weeks of my life to "doing my civic duty" as a juror in Orange County's Superior Court in a long drawn-out trial, I find that I am unable to shed the outrage I feel towards the insurance companies of this country.

We jurors, as well as the three attorneys for the three defendants, labored long and arduously (often boringly) through expert witness after expert witness, many photos, codes, etc.--not to mention intermidable delays.

A week before we were able to deliberate, lo and behold, two of the insurance companies for two of the defendants capitulated and bestowed a combined total of $1.5 million on the plaintiff. Later we were told that the attorneys for these two parties learned of this when called by phone at the courthouse. I believe they were as shocked as we when they just "disappeared" from the courtroom scene.

We were then left with one remaining defendant. A few days thereafter we deliberated and held him not to be at fault (by an 11-1 verdict)--thus the plaintiff received nothing. We were furious that a similar verdict could not have also been rendered the other defendants.

We the consumers are again the ones who will pay the exorbitant award monies by ever higher premiums and product costs. It just was easier for the companies, with all their millions in trust accounts, to "pay off" the plaintiff rather than have faith in our democratic court system.

The attorney for the plaintiff was obviously much more effective out of the court (via the phone) than in it.

It was an experience I shall not soon forget.


Corona del Mar

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