One obstacle to the “potential windfall of litigation” in New Orleans – finding a jury:

More than four months after Katrina wrecked much of the city, Bruno & Bruno has filed dozens of lawsuits that reflect the rising frustration and anger among thousands of residents and business owners who lost homes, jobs and relatives in the flooding. The lawsuits’ targets include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local government boards that oversaw New Orleans’ failed levees, as well as an oil company, a nursing home and insurers . . .

. . . Under Louisiana law, either side in a legal dispute is entitled to a jury trial if the claim exceeds $50,000. The Trial Lawyers Association has asked state lawmakers to raise the financial threshold on jury trials to perhaps as high as $250,000 so that judges alone can resolve more claims and eliminate the need for a jury to hear the case.

PointofLaw.com says what is on everyone’s mind:

. . . how quick the Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association is to abandon typical plaintiffs-bar rhetoric about the critical importance of the jury system when that system is an obstacle to a payday.

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  • mchebert

    I lost my medical practice and everything I had in Katrina. My home was probably affected by an oil spill caused by the storm.

    AND I AM NOT SUING ANYBODY! Why? Because I bought enough insurance. I was insured to the max, and had very little financial loss. Much inconvenience and personal loss, but no monetary. Unfortunately, the people who are suing are the ones who didn’t set aside money for flood insurance when they had a chance. Sad to say, but if everyone had been properly insured, rebuilding would be much easier. Still difficult, but easier than now, and all these suits would not be necessary.

    I talked about the issue of insurance and the hurricane in my blog a few weeks back.

  • Dr Dork

    Perhaps it’s just my skewed perspective. I’m sure some cases have merit. But it seems like plaintiff lawyers in the US would sue the clouds if the sun stopped shining at their annual picnic. :)

  • Anonymous

    McHebert,

    If you’ve been paid by your insurer, why would you sue? Maybe these people are just like Trent Lott – getting jerked around by their insurer. What would you suggest they do, call the adjuster’s house every 30 minutes and hang up when he answers?

    I realize Point of Law is many physicians source of news for all things legal, but does it surprise anyone that a site run by people who represent insurers would criticize cases to come to trial any sooner? Funny how Point of Law is all for jury trials when it suits their clients as well.

  • jhubbard

    The Seventh Amendment of the US Constitution protects the right to a jury trial in civil cases, those deciding disputes between private parties over noncriminal matters, such as personal injuries or contracts. However, this protection has never been extended to the states. Louisiana, unlike other states, has a significant basis of Civil law as opposed to English common law. I am not versed in Louisiana law but I wonder if there is more leeway regarding judge based trials in Louisiana.

  • Ted

    I wish anonymous would stop lying about me and the websites I write for. As anyone reading the site can read, Point of Law is not “run by people who represent insurers.” In my legal career, I’ve represented more clients adverse to insurers than I’ve defended.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry Ted, let me remove insurers and put major corporations, the other beneficiaries of tort reform.

    However, the firms that paid you to spread your propoaganda and the think tanks that employ you do have insurer clients.

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