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Milking the golden cow

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The majority of individual lawyers are no doubt good ethical, honest and moral people.

They have, however, as much chance of convincing me to believe the same about their profession, as the remainder would have in successfully pushing a single pellet of sheep shit up Mount Kosciusko with the tips of their money-sniffing snouts.

Just to be on the safe side, let me say that the following background scenario is entirely hypothetical.

Imagine that the Australian court system has to deal with the accusation that the boss of a chain of up-market retail stores made some “unwelcome sexual advances and comments” to his female secretary.

Lawyers have lodged a claim on behalf of the woman seeking
$37 million in punitive damages.

THIRTY SEVEN FREAKING MILLION DOLLARS!!!

That’s enough money to cure all the impoverished people in Ethiopia who are presently suffering from cataract blindness, fund the young girl’s fistula hospital in Addis Ababa for a few years, and still leave some cash left over to supply clean water to all the rural dwellers who still have to drink out of muddy waterholes full of goat crap.

This is no longer a discussion about sexual harassment, which we all agree needs to be stamped out.

This is totally about lawyer’s obscene greed and lack of moral conscience in only targetting respondents with the capacity to pay.
How long will they be permitted to get away with this absurdity.
Other transgressions of the law and the criminal code do not attract penalties based upon “ability to pay”.

Medical doctors do not charge patients for treatment on some sliding scale according to client’s wealth, although they probably would if they thought they could get away with it.

This ludicrous litigious adventurism flies directly in the face of justice being done and being seen to be done.

Does the legal profession give a rat’s arse about the 17 year old check-out chick working in the corner store who gets touched-up by her 21 year old supervisor?

Of course not.
There’s no money in it for them.
The spotty faced dude with roaming hands has no capacity to pay.

So, all you good lawyers with a conscience, if you would like to restore a modicum of public faith in your profession you need to firstly weed out all the money-grubbing unethical and unprincipled high fliers within your ranks.

No doubt most of you entered this profession with the finest of intentions. You have the capacity to make this entire world a much better and equitable place if you choose to do so.

Just occasionally, look beyond the outrageous fees for service that you will receive, vacate your lofty thrones of superiority and privilege, and mingle once again with the common man.

Re-learn the simple stuff your parents taught you, before Law School and the wearing of wigs and gowns apparently clouded your common sense and morality.

When you were young and you mowed your neighbours lawn for pocket money, were you paid according to the area of lawn, or did you receive a percentage of his bank account?

When did your youthful symbiotic relationship with all of society turn into the stupifyingly voracious parasitism I see today?

It is not right.
It is not just, and
It is not Australian.

It is time for your profession to rediscover some social conscience.

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

29 responses »

  1. Oh no, that’s going on in Australia too? GAH!! Thanks for the charity links. I like hearing about good, legitimate .orgs and people in need, the biggest ones aren’t always the best.

    I have to wonder 2 things, GOF.

    A. WHERE are the penalties for the scumbag attorneys for bringing frivilous lawsuits? If someone sues someone else for something completely outrageous and dumb, or demands obscene amounts for something that should not be assigned value (respect, the right not to be molested, and common sense), the judge should immediately charge all involved with contempt of court. For wasting the taxpayer’s time and endangering people by putting off real sentences. That’s my 2 cents. Good thing I was not given a bench.

    B. Can’t we just bring back rough justice? An elbow to the face is my preferred deterrent. Women who are groped at work can just take care of it right then and there. Save everyone some time out of their busy day.

    Reply
  2. Do I sound angry today? Really, I’m not. I’m sweet as a lamb. 😉

    Reply
    • I feel better if you are also angry Emmi. I woke up at 3 o’clock this morning to write this, just totally disgusted with their greed and abuse of the justice system. Thank you for your support …it’s nice to know that it is not just me over-reacting.

      I know I’m being ultra supportive of you today….you additionally have my encouragement to dispense your own elbow justice to the face, or knee justice to lower anatomical regions.

      Now that I’ve got all this off my chest I’m going out to feed some parrots, then work all my disillusionment off with some physical exercise.

      Reply
      • And I’m glad to know I’m not the only one seething over this crap at 3 am.

        Exercise is good for anger, and more importantly, anger is important for exercise. I just can’t get movitated when everyone behaves properly (which happens like, never).

        **Groinal advice – LOL

        Reply
        • ‘I’m glad to know I’m not the only one seething over this crap at 3 am. ‘

          It’s one of the reasons, Emmi, that I had to take a break from blogging recently…..and when a topic like this one pops up, it angers me so much that I can’t sleep properly until I’ve vented my feelings onto a piece of paper,….. all of which eventually gets lumbered onto you, my long-suffering reader, here. 🙂

          I agree with your sentiments about strong female role models for girls as they grow up.
          From a very young age, girls should be taught that they do not have to put up with any crap from boys in any social or work environment, and shown what appropriate action should be taken when they are inevitably confronted by it. Occasionally (but hopefully never) that might require dishing out some groinal discipline. 🙂

          Reply
  3. Not the most loved of the professions, GOF. I read yesterday where it was not unusual to charge $300 an hour for the services of a legal secretary. Even some in the legal profession are getting embarrassed.

    Reply
  4. Excellent post. I say it often: Lawyers are ruining the world.
    Go Emmi!
    They all still wear wigs there in Oz?

    Reply
  5. There is an email joke floating around that goes

    “99% of Lawyers give the rest of the profession a bad name.”

    When this got covered on 7PM Project, only the girls did the jokes. I think Channel 10 is already spooked.

    The biggest tragedy is these things are promoted as “good for all women” but the reality is only the top end will see any effect. Sadly Women’s Lib did little for the sweat shop machinists much to my disappointment.

    Reply
  6. I’ve read this over several times, not entirely sure how to respond. $37 million is a steep judgment, indeed: but I’ve worked in “hostile work environments,” places where women, if not outright groped or propositioned, had to put up with ugly jokes and remarks about their “proper place” in society. (On their backs, legs spread, essentially.) It can be nightmarish to work at such companies, and if you’re just starting out in your career, are the sole support for your family, or have little prospects for a better job, you can’t just quit. Even if you manage to quit after so many weeks, months, years of such treatment by a co-worker or several co-workers, it can be very hard to undo the emotional damage. I knew a woman who had been sexually molested repeatedly, then finally raped by her supervisor here in California; but since she was from Korea, where such things were common then, she didn’t complain or protest until her husband discovered it and threatened to divorce her if she didn’t go to the police. The supervisor was tried and sent to prison, but this was of little comfort to this woman. She had to see a therapist to get some relief from the nightmares and suicidal feelings she had long afterwards. But again, it was her husband, an American, who pushed her to sue the college where she and her supervisor worked. She and her attorney didn’t get nearly the amount you mention, but it was enough to pay for her therapy and for her to stop working in the very place where she was attacked over and over again.

    I’m not saying attorneys should be able to win judgments of such high amounts: but it needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Sexual harassment is a serious matter, and it took whopping high lawsuits to scare companies into making sure it didn’t occur in their workplaces. Some people don’t learn unless you hit them where it hurts the most; and with businesses, it’s usually in the wallet.

    Reply
    • This is the kind of activity that our laws are supposed to control. But this poor woman probably felt she had no way out.
      I am glad her husband supported her and the supervisor was sent to prison.

      It’s one thing to make sexual jokes, but purely another to attack people and use your position over someone in the workplace as power over them.

      Reply
      • “It’s one thing to make sexual jokes,”……….I know you are not condoning even this low level of harassment Lauri, and I would take a dim view of this too unless that trend of conversation has been initiated by the woman.

        Men employing women should simply be more respectful and aware of how their words and behaviour will be interpreted.

        Reply
    • Thanks for sharing that truly awful story HG. Situations like that deserve swift intervention and the full force of the law. I hope I made it clear that my story did not apply to cases like that.

      The situation in my story, in comparison to yours, is trivial. It is probable that no complaint at all would have been made had the respondent not been rich. I make it clear that I do not condone any sort of sexual harassment….physical or verbal. It is unacceptable. Period. The man concerned has already lost his job as a result of his behaviour. Considering his previous position of authority over the staff member, I believe payment of punitive damages to the woman would also be appropriate. But also, considering the facts of this case, how could an amount of $36 million ever be justified? It cannot be. I understand that a conciliated offering of something less than one million was rejected by her.

      Only her lawyers can explain why. That explanation should include frequent use of the words “opportunistic greed”.

      Reply
  7. 37 million dollars? I’d be quite happy for people at work to make jokes about tits and shagging for less than half of that. In fact since I work in civil engineering I’ve heard virtually every dodgy joke out there. It’s one of the joys of working with men. While sexual harrassment is an appalling thing which should be stamped out, I can’t help thinking that some women (and I don’t know whether this girl is one of them) make a massive mountain out of a molehill because they know the greasy lawyers will rake them in a huge wodge of cash because someone made a few ill advised jokes about women. The women mentioned by the person above is different, she suffered actual sexual abuse and she rightly took action but ‘sexual banter’? Either ignore the ignorant pillocks or give it back. If you crumble and cry you’re proving their point.

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  8. I think all of these “punitive” civil lawsuits ought to be Pro bono publico. They do enough backroom dealings as it is.

    Reply
  9. Oh GOF – Daughter2 is a lawyer…. and they won’t really get that large amount of money they will settle for lots less, and I do think that shithead boss needs to be pulled off his male ego, and there is a lot of injustice in the world, and there is no easy answer to anything is there?

    Reply
    • “there is no easy answer to anything is there?”

      Indeed there is not FD, but if I was not to at least hypothetically look at this case through the eyes of a parent who might not be able to get his daughter into the Ethiopian fistula hospital for treatment because of a lack of funds, then I would not be doing my job in pointing out some of the disgraceful inequities in my world.

      Reply
  10. I’ve held off commenting about this case because in a small town like Perth, there are a lot from the sisterhood who will be going “you go girl!”.

    This isn’t in anyway condoning the ex-CEO of DJs for what he is alleged to have done, but I agree that the size of the claim is breathtaking to say the least.

    Personally, I hope if the bloke is found guilty, that he never works in Australia again. People like that spoil it for others who try to make a fair effort at being professional and decent in the workplace. But at the same time, you do also wonder at the equally audacious damages claim being put forward here.

    There are some workplaces where the reverse does happen – what would the blokes do then?

    Reply
    • Thanks Ninja……like you, I have nothing against the principle……it’s just the sheer outrageous SIZE of the claim that makes my blood boil.

      MT made the excellent point that these claims should all be handled pro bono to provide a rein on lawyer greed…….we already have an arbitration body in place to handle these matters.

      Reply
  11. Oooh a difficult one GOF … I’m on holidays so I’m not going to tax my brain with an intelligent answer but it does seem that some sort of balance needs to be put into place. My mother always told me to give a swift swing to something “delicate” and that that would solve the problem…..

    Reply
  12. Your mother’s advice is a good start….but you are right, it is a complex issue……so forget about it and continue to enjoy your holiday.

    Reply

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