opinions, everybody's got one...
Tuesday, November 20, 2001
In preparing for this article, I was unable to find any internet hits for the phrase "Delaware tort reform". I guess that's because there isn't any. The Pennsylvania Civil Justice Coalition states that every state except Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Arkansas, and West Virginia have taken some action in the furtherance of tort reform. Is that because our civil justice system in Delaware is running perfectly? For whom?
Our court system is not working smoothly, it is swamped. And like many swamps, there are murky waters and reptiles. The courts do the best that they can to process the cases before them in a proper manner, but they are continually understaffed. This is the murky waters. Where is the effort to keep frivolous cases from getting into the system in the first place? Where is the effort to give parties incentives to settle in a timely fashion?
All of the taxpayers of the State of Delaware pay for this inefficient process. We pay in dollars and we pay by having a slow and overburdened process for our legitimate grievances. I ask myself then, if we are paying, who is cashing in on the current state of affairs? Someone politically powerful must be benefitting, or we would surely have done something to fix the problems. Right?
The following suggested partial cure to this ailment might help you to identify the reptiles. If Delaware instituted a ?loser-pay? law, allowing judges to make some law-suit losers pay the legal fees of the prevailing party on clear cut cases, there would be an economic incentive to:
avoid filing frivolous cases;
honor our contracts and obligations; and,
to settle cases reasonably before the legal fees have a chance to get too high. (Yes, here is a lawyer arguing for lower attorney fees)
This would relieve some of the pressure on our legal system and on us. Delaware is a business oriented State. We give businesses, including insurance companies, guidance and suggestions by structuring financial costs for activities that we find harmful to the public. When we have a system that allows unscrupulous contractors to bilk honest citizens of thousands of dollars without a penalty, or one that permits insurance companies to make more money by investing settlement funds while they delay litigation, we have a system that gives an economic incentive to snarl up the system and rip off our citizenry.
Let?s work to reverse that incentive by making it financially advantageous to stay out of court. Contact your state legislators to discuss these ideas.
Monday, November 19, 2001
This Thursday is the second day of Thanksgiving of 2001. Thanksgiving day in the United States is not like other national holidays, such as Veterans? Day, or Presidents? Day. Those are days that have been recognized as national holidays by the power of Congress. Thanksgiving becomes a holiday each year by proclamation of the President.
The first recorded Thanksgiving proclamation known was made in Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 20, 1667. The first Thanksgiving was actually years earlier, when in 1621 the pilgrims at Plymouth celebrated a feast of thanks with Indians who provided food that allowed the Pilgrims to survive through their first winter in the new land.
Thanksgiving proclamations began to become part of the tradition of our country when George Washington made a proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving in his first year as President. It wasn?t uncommon for different states to have their own days of Thanksgiving in the 1800?s, and the idea of Thanksgiving as a national day was revived with Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
It has become a bit of a custom to have our President make a proclamation each year declaring a day of Thanksgiving. This year is a little unusual in that we had our first such proclamation in January, naming January 21, 2001 a day of Prayer and Thanksgiving. Why January, and why a day of Thanksgiving?
Shortly after our new President was officially entered into office, he declared a day of prayer and thanksgiving to recognize the bicentennial of the first transfer of the power of the presidency from one political party to another. That day, almost 200 years earlier on March 4, 1801 was an important day in the history of the United States. It showed the citizens, and the world, that the new nation and its largely untried political system could survive a transfer of power to a party influenced by a different political philosophy than the one that had guided it through its first decade.
Our second Thanksgiving Proclamation this year called forth images of Eisenhower, Lincoln, and Washington ? three presidents who had brought our nation through times of strife.
Thanksgiving is a little special because it is a time when our nation?s leader asks us to reflect upon the past, and hope for the future, through a proclamation. Another tradition, brought to us from the days of Lincoln is the pardoning of the turkey. The annual pardoning of the thanksgiving turkey took place in the Rose Garden this afternoon.
May we all have plenty to be thankful for.
- William Slawski
Delaware is the established leader in corporate law. It is the primary site for the incorporation of businesses for a variety of reasons , both financial and legal in nature. It is important to obtain professional advice as to the type of structure that a particular business should utilize, but it is almost always a safe bet to build that structure in Delaware.