Right vs. Right
(In response to "Sisyphus Shrugged," in the March 25-31 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
I enjoyed your editorial, and it's not like I haven't heard it before. After 30 years of claims adjusting, it was an old story. So, I have some questions for you, if you don't mind.
According to your article these evil trial lawyers talked this innocent woman into suing your honorable publication. How did these evil trial lawyers come to know of this woman, was it E.S.P? Did you publish her name along with her picture? Or is the more likely scenario that she was upset and called an attorney seeking her legal rights?
Your editorial indicated that there was a second evil trial lawyer that threatened to sue your honorable and noble publication, how dare him. I have always hated those people who attempt to secure their legal rights in America and force Oklahoma to acknowledge its association with the Nation and the Constitution.
What you failed to mention was whether or not your honorable and noble publication did due diligence to publishing the picture. Did you request the standard release form signed by the alleged model? Or did you just take the word of this alleged photographer that he had one? You did ask for one, didn't you?
You also spoke to your good faith actions, but you did not advise if you published an apology to this woman and her family after you became aware that the picture upset them?
You went on to advise that this second evil trial lawyer asked if you had reported this loss to your insurance company and suggested that said question indicated his greed. One has to question your good business practices. Yes, personal injury for advertising is generally a covered loss under an insurance policy, if you have one. Why wouldn't a business wish to use the insurance policy it pays a premium for to protect its interest and pay legal expenses for any possible litigation? Just don't want to bother your insurance company? You never indicated if you called your insurance company or not, a smart publication like yours wouldn't choose to pay legal costs that are covered by its insurance policy, would it? That's like not wanting to bother your medical insurance coverage for your needed operation, why have the policy if you are not going to require it to provide the service?
Then, you advised that you paid a settlement, therefore, you didn't trust a jury to make a determination if you had or had not acted in a wrongful manner. You should have.
Tulsa is notorious for giving nothing to the injured party and letting the business off scot-free, and anyone in the legal community knows this fact. The joke is, if you are injured in an accident in Tulsa County, drag your bloody body up and pull your car across the county line because the effort will be worth it, even if it kills you. Why if this woman's case was so frivolous would you pay a settlement? Why not have your attorney file a motion for summary judgment and get her case dismissed? Tulsa judges grant such motions all the time. Your attorney did know about such filing for frivolous cases, didn't he?
Your opinions on frivolous lawsuits was not supported by any real studies, nor did you bother to mention any of the real facts related to the now famous McDonald's coffee case, which would make even a cold hearted person's hair stand on end. That's okay, no need to let the facts muddle up your alleged innocence, not to mention your failure to do due diligence prior to publishing a picture.
Yes, I have heard your story a million times. I didn't do anything wrong, why would you pay that claim? That guy wasn't really injured, he's faking it. The fact is a lawsuit will tell if he is faking it or not. The fact is juries are not generous, not in Tulsa, this ain't New York. Further, the fact is that tort reform was invented by the insurance industry in the late '80, so that it wouldn't have to pay as much out in claims. It's a good deal if you can get it, sell insurance for coverage for more and more money, for exposure you're not going to pay. Tort reform smells like profit to me. If grandma isn't paid by the insurance industry for her injury, who does pay? Could it be the tax payer?
What does tort reform actually tell the general public, not here in Oklahoma, but in the real world? It is saying that you, yes you, are not smart enough to judge my actions. So, you are asking Oklahomans to agree with you that they are stupid. Not that I am disagreeing with you on that accusation, nor do the National numbers, that put Oklahoma population as one of the lesser educated in the nation, but I do find it arrogant of you to directly say so in a editorial that they are supposed to read, "Hey, idiots feel sorry for me because I didn't do my job correctly and injured someone, after all, you, my readers are not to be trusted in judging me. You the average person in Oklahoma, might not see my acts as selfless and in good spirit as I do, I don't trust you, now please pick up another copy of my paper, so I can sell more ads and make more money. Thanks for being who you are, stupid."
It is not that I expect you to publish this letter or even read it. Not that it would matter, because you can't cure stupid, but it felt good to say, not all of us out here are as dumb as you think. I enjoy your publication, it reinforces my belief that Oklahoma will never be successful at anything. It is simply too dumb to succeed. Thank you for another entertaining editorial.
- CJ McMahon
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