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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Trial Lawyers Don't Deserve the Criticism

September 17, 2004

Re two Sept. 13 stories, "A Trial Lawyer on Ticket Has Corporate U.S. Seeing Red" and "Pepperdine Law School Adds Some Starr Power," and the commentary, "Schwarzenegger Is Fair Game": President Bush attacks trial attorneys, including vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards, who have built their reputations representing many individuals who have been injured by big business and corporate entities, but he seems to have no problem hiring attorneys who practice the kind of law that can manipulate presidential elections.

Kenneth Starr, who spent 70-plus-million taxpayer dollars on his questionably unhealthy personal need to bring down President Clinton, and as an attorney built his reputation in large part by representing tobacco companies against the likes of trial attorneys like Edwards, appears to defend his legal decisions by quoting Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird" when he says, "You take on responsibilities that may not necessarily meet with universal approval."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, if he supports the Republican platform, is also against trial attorneys, but has no problem hiring attorneys who practice the kind of law that defended him against allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior or who try to stop the production of Schwarzenegger bobblehead dolls, which he finds offensive.

I can only conclude that the Republicans' position is that the only legitimate justice is the one that serves you well.

Sarah Shand Amato

Santa Monica

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My husband and son were killed in a Ford Explorer rollover accident involving a Firestone tire in 1992.

When the House subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection held hearings concerning the problems with the Ford Explorer and Firestone tires about eight years after the accident, I wrote to Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.), who chaired the subcommittee.

Tauzin never responded to my letter.

My trial lawyer was of more help to me than either Ford Motor Co., Firestone or the U.S. government.

Corporate America is afraid of seeing red on their ledgers, but there are families who have seen far too much red.

Trial lawyers are easy targets. At this point in history, they seem to be the only ones fighting for the rights of ordinary consumers.

Trial lawyers must be somewhat effective or companies wouldn't be "seeing red."

Carrie Ann Blackaller

Los Angeles

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