Come on - the guy is grieving. We all do stupid shit when we’re grieving. And if he legitimately has convinced himself that the restaurant is to fault for his son’s death, why shouldn’t he sue them? If there’s no merit, it will go away quickly. I don’t see the point in calling him an asshole and suggesting that he’s just trying to capitalize on his son’s death.
As for having to hire lawyers? Restaurant? Insured. Restaurant Manager? Insured. Towing company and driver? Insured. The only guy who might have to shell out a few bucks is the driver of the stalled car, but even he should be able to get out of this case pre-trial.
Moreover, what if there is some merit to this case? Why weren’t flares put out or cones or something? Did the tow company have procedural safeguards that would have required the driver to put them out? Did the restaurant have a set policy against serving visibly intoxicated patrons? Did they follow it? These things could be worth asking at least.
I’m not saying he’s right to sue. In fact, I think he’s looking for a scapegoat to foist blame on for his son’s own stupidity. But that doesn’t make him an asshole. It seems pitiful, rather than scornworthy.
Drinking and driving didn’t kill him; drinking, driving, not wearing a seatbelt, talking on the cell phone and smoking weed killed him.
So this poor guy’s car stalls on the highway, he calls a tow truck which comes out to pick him up, your boozing and drugging son smashes his SUV into them and they are at fault? What fucking planet do you live on you?
Jebus, I’m glad I live nowhere near there. He might sue me for witnessing the whole thing go down and not trying to stop his precious little angel from putting others in danger from his binge of drugs and alcohol.
Ha! My point was that it’s silly to complain about this suit because these people have to spend money to hire lawyers. It’s a sunk cost in the form of their premium. They’ve already spent money to get insurance to cover themselves in the case of a lawsuit (with or without merit). Might as well get a little lawyering out of it. It’s a pretty standard deal.
A bigger question for you to grapple with is this: Is this case truly without merit? Because if so, I’m not really sure why your panties are in a wad. If there is truly no merit to Mr. Hancock’s claims (as everyone seems convinced) then it should be childs play for the defendants to recover their costs and attorneys’ fees.
Not to step in the way of a budding flame exchange, but Princhesters point is that for the individuals being sued in this instance, sure they are (hopefully) covered by insurance. But the costs associated with the hiring of lawyers etc, still has to be borne even if the case is thrown out for being friviolus. And who bears the cost of that? The insurance company of course, and where does the insurance company get it’s money from? by increasing everyone’s premium.
And for a slight highjack -
I’m ashamed to say Australia is rapidly following the US down the road of the abrogation of an individual’s repsonsibility, If something bad happens it must be someone else’s fault! This has seen premium’s for public liability skyrocket. There was a huge uproar at the time when numerous events, for local clubs, charities, etc had to be cancelled because they could no longer afford the public liability insurance.
The sooner everyone starts taking responsability for their own actions the better IMO.
**Doctor Who ** I made one point and one point only. My point is that your implication, namely that even if the suit is unmeritorious it doesn’t matter because everyone’s insured is nonsense. Insurance just spreads the cost, it doesn’t negate it. Leaving it at the level of premiums paid by particular individuals is shallow.
As for the father having to pay the legal costs of the defendants when he loses, my understanding of US law is that costs don’t usually follow the merits except in exceptional cases. And though I don’t practice in the US, I’d be very surprised if the situation isn’t the same as here, namely that even when there is an order that one party pay the other’s legal costs, that doesn’t usually amount to a complete indemnity. Further, the idea that one can get unmeritorious cases “thrown out of court” is a glib plot device beloved of movies and books, and a concept much thrown around by laypeople. In reality fobbing off even totally unmeritorious cases is a difficult and costly exercise.
Ah, see let’s start there: That’s the implication you took from my post. My point, and maybe I formed it badly, is that I don’t think that the fact that the defendants have to hire lawyers makes Mr. Hancock an asshole (as stated in the OP). I was specifically addressing the OP’s irritation that Mr. Hancock was going to “Make everyone named hire a lawyer to fight your frivolous lawsuit.” Never did I state that it doesn’t matter, only that it doesn’t reflect on Mr. Hancock’s value as a person. And that it’s not as big a hassle as some people might consider it to be.
Yes, that’s true, I’ll give you that. I have indeed exaggerated the ease with which they can recover attorney’s fees. Of course they could countersue for something along the lines of abuse of process, but I do apologize for making it sound like you can just waltz in and get your attorney’s fees. Not entirely the case.
I’m sorry, I missed the part where I said “thrown out of court” a la John Grisham. I said the driver should be able to get out this case pre-trial. There are multiple motions you can file pre-trial, most notable a motion for summary judgment to get that bad boy kicked. ETA: In fact, I’m sure that you (just as I did) snorted to yourself derisively when you heard that Mr. Hancock was suing the guy who broke down. I just can’t see what facts or documents he can cobble together that would keep the driver involved in the case.
I do understand the underlying economics of the situation. My original argument was not intended to say that there won’t be any impact on the people sued - just that it’s not as bad as the OP made it. It’s not a scenario where all the defendants are scrambling around to find a lawyer in the phone book and begging on the street to pay their lawyers. They pay insurance premiums and their insurance company hires them a lawyer. Simple as that. Sure there can be an impact on their premiums. It’s the same problem we have in malpractice cases and doctor premiums.
And indulge me and let me make another point, which I briefly touched on. There might actually be a claim here. Sure Hancock was at fault - he was drunk, he was probably high, he was talking on a cell phone, and he was driving. But did the towing company driver fuck up and not follow procedure? Did the restaurant violate internal policies regarding serving intoxicated people? Hell, did the driver have opportunities to get his car out of the road and choose not to do so? Just because Hancock is at fault doesn’t mean that somebody else didn’t contribute as well. My point being, that if there is a claim, then do we still worry about the impact on the defendant’s premiums?
ETA: Oh, and** GreedySmurf**, I’d hardly call this a flame exchange. One doofus? If that’s all it took to upset the two of us and get us at each other’s throats, then I weep for this board.
I can say with complete certainty that what killed him was his sudden and violent acquaintance with the rear end of a tow truck. Being drunk, high, and distracted merely assisted him in making that acquaintance.
If an employee of the restaurant held him down and poured drinks down his throat then the father has a case. Otherwise, I think he’s a wanker to blame anyone but his son. However it doesn’t surprise me.
This seems as close to a concession as I’m going to get.
As the balance of your post argues, weak case this may be, abuse of process it ain’t, right?
You didn’t say that the case could be thrown out of court. But as you’ve just said, you did understate the ease with which the defendants could recover attorney’s fees, and now you’ve just admitted at best it’s going to take the defendant’s laywers real work to dispose of this thing.
It wasn’t so much a concession as a clarification of my point and how your dogged arguments were against a point I never made. But, ok, whatever helps you sleep soundly. I have no problem admitting if I made a mistake or an exaggeration. I also have no problem admitting if I’m deliberately misstating or misinterpreting (or misquoting) a fellow poster in order to argue a particular point of view. You? :dubious:
Absolutely, I do argue that. But following the lead of most lawyers I know, I also argued alternative theories. IF this case is as damn flimsy and reprehensibly frivolous as most people seem to feel, then the defendants have a good chance of recovering fees/costs through some legal avenue. On the other hand, it is my esteemed opinion that this case might not be as clear cut and frivolous as other people seem to feel. In which case, their scorn is misdirected at Mr. Hancock.
Whatever the end result - my original point stands: I don’t feel anger or scorn towards Mr. Hancock. I feel pity. I think he is operating out of grief.
Wait, since we’re merely trying to score “concessions” here, I missed the part where you apologized for misquoting me. And real work? As opposed to what? Did I ever suggest that the driver would merely have to hire a lawyer and the thing would magically disappear? Of course they’ll have to do something - but I suspect (and you do as well) that, based on the facts we have, it shouldn’t be a very involved something.
I wonder if a life insurance policy on the son would not be paid if he was at fault for his own death. Maybe the father is trying to prove anyone else is at fault so the family can collect? I mean, their meal ticket is dead! But, I’m probably talking out my ass…