Over the last many years, I have spent a great deal of personal time contemplating the meaning of the Civil Justice system when defined in terms of justice. The working conclusion that I have drawn is that the concept of “justice” is at best a largely unattainable ideal for which we all strive. Allow me to explain. Our civil justice system depends upon humans, with warts and all, to decide cases. Sometimes that human is a judge. We exault judges, and we should; but judges are human too and subject to the same process of trial and error as the rest of us. Sometimes that human is one of several jurors. Cases are decided from the human perspective.
The process of deciding cases from the human perspective is littered with all sorts of psycho-emotional impulses, prejudices, fear, loathing, compassion, hate, love and every other outside influence imaginable. But, from a plaintiff’s perspective, the end question becomes: can the human deciding my case relate to me in a postive way? Can all of the emotions and preconceived notions stand to benefit me? Often, the question boils down to one line of logic from the perspective of a juror: Is this the type of person I could have a coffee with? If the answer is yes, then you are well ahead of the game. Once you clear that hurdle, you then face all of the same convulated processes in determining how much money the juror will award for the circumstance you find yourself in. I will address this issue of damages in a separate blog forthcoming in a few days, including the effect of the Tort Reform Movement on our national psyche. In the meantime, I welcome your responses.
Thank you for taking this ride with me.