Posts Tagged ‘Montgomery’

Exxon Finally Pays (albeit not enough)

February 5, 2008

According to an Associated Press report, Exxon Mobil has finally paid its debt to the State of Alabama.  Exxon paid $121.5 million as a result of the lawsuit brought by the State of Alabama over natural gas royalties.  The case had been tried twice to two different juries and appealed twice to the Supreme Court of Alabama.  Both twelve member juries unanimously ruled in favor of Alabama, and the final judgment was for $3.6 billion dollars, but the Supreme Court of Alabama reduced the verdict to $51.9 million.

After the reduction, the Supreme Court of Alabama remanded the case back to the Montgomery Circuit Court for a determination of the interest accrued during the appeal.  Judge Tracy McCooey made the final determination as to the amount.  The attorney for the State, Jere Beasley, argued that the amount should be $20 million more, and that issue is reserved for appeal.


Public Misperception

December 1, 2007

Here’s an eye opener for you.  We tried a lemon law case in Montgomery, Alabama on Monday, November 26, 2007 and Tuesday, November 27, 2007.  During jury selection, we asked the jury panel their thoughts and feelings about tort reform and lawsuits in general.  Their response?  There are too many lawsuits and too many people trying to get millions of dollars – too many crazy verdicts.

After selecting the jury, one of the Judge’s clerks came to us and told us that during his tenure with the Judge, there have been four cases tried to verdict – ALL DEFENSE verdicts.  He further told us that during the Judge’s ten years on the bench there have only been TEN verdicts in favor of the plaintiff.  TEN PLAINTIFF VERDICTS IN TEN YEARS???  Are you kidding me??  Is that not unbelievable?

The public thinks the legal system is out of control and that juries are giving away money like there is no tomorrow.  Well, the system is out of control – AGAINST ANYONE BRINGING A LAWSUIT.  It is very difficult for individuals and consumers to get a fair trial in this day and age.  Most jurors are now biased against plaintiffs and lawsuits which is the result of years of advertising campaigns put forth by insurance companies and big business through the U S Chamber of Commerce.

The idea of our civil justice system was to right wrongs, compensate individuals, and hold people and corporations accountable for their actions.  Many insurance companies and big businesses don’t want to be held accountable, and they want to be able to budget their wrongdoings.  When they know the system is working for them, it doesn’t work.  It’s the fear of large verdicts which keeps them in check, and right now, there is rarely a check.