Is Our Right to Trial Under Attack?

Woman in courtroom facing judge.

What’s more damaging: an internal email at a plaintiff’s firm about not granting extensions, or an elected leader of a state publicly releasing a statement referring to trial lawyers as preying on “hardworking Floridians”?

If you are in the personal injury world, by now I’m sure you’ve heard of the infamous Morgan & Morgan internal email about not granting any extensions or continuances to defendants.

Many defense lawyers have expressed dismay and asserted it will encourage unprofessional behavior. I personally disagree with any type of firm policy against granting extensions. Aside from being the right thing to do, it’s a good strategy. If you unreasonably deny an extension, the court won’t be happy when it is constantly having to referee petty disputes. Also, there will be times you will need the favor returned when you need an extension.

That being said, that internal email is harmless compared to the broad assault on our right to trial by jury that many corporate interests and politicians are advancing. There have been numerous inflammatory statements from the Florida Governor and the big corporate interests that pushed the tort reform bill (and in other states, like Iowa). The Governor’s own website refers to plaintiff’s lawyers pursuing frivolous lawsuits and that the law was necessary because of “predatory practices of trial attorneys who prey on hardworking Floridians.”

Is a firm policy against granting extensions a good idea? Probably not. But is it going to do more harm than the slanderous lies that big corporations, insurance companies, and their political lackeys are pushing to try to advance their tort reform agenda in Florida, Iowa, and other states? Absolutely not.

Before anyone complains about a petty internal email regarding extensions, they should first look at the substantive assault on our constitutional rights that is going to harm regular people to enrich corporations and insurance companies and the inflammatory, slanderous statements used to pass these harmful laws. Those are going to do far more harm than the denial of an extension.

What do you think? Contribute to this discussion on my LinkedIn page, or contact me here to share your thoughts.

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.