Jesus Rode A Donkey: THE JFP Interview With John Arthur Eaves | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Jesus Rode A Donkey: THE JFP Interview With John Arthur Eaves

Photos by Roy Adkins

Attorney John Arthur Eaves, 40, is the polar opposite of his Republican opponent, Gov. Haley Barbour. Barbour is a faithful follower of smaller-government philosophy, isn't afraid to boot Mississippians off state Medicaid and has been willing to short-change the so-called "artificial" Mississippi Adequate Education Program in the name of budget austerity. Eaves, on the other hand, thinks the state is failing to provide for the health of thousands and is shooting itself in the foot by short-funding education. Barbour has lobbied for tobacco companies for years, while Eaves, a Jackson trial lawyer, has vociferously attacked those same companies in the courtroom. Barbour is a happy comrade of President George Bush, who has stumped for Barbour on the campaign and vice versa, while Eaves criticizes the Bush administration for all its malfunctions and corruption.

Above all, Eaves is the symbolic trial lawyer Barbour made war on for years. When Barbour refers to "jackpot justice," he might well have in mind an image of someone like Eaves, standing in a courtroom with his fist in the air.

Eaves, though, says he is proud of the characterization.

Tell me a little about your childhood.
I have two sisters. One is three years younger, Page. She was born on the same day (as me), Sept. 6. The other is Tiffany Eaves. She's very creative. Tiffany is now in the music business. She lives in L.A. right down the street from Halle Berry. She's got a Web site.

You grew up in Clinton?
I did, and it was good for me because my high school was top rated, and it was there that I honed my skills in debate. When I was growing up, I was the kid with the coke-bottle glasses. The Lord gave me some talents, but the field of physical sports wasn't one of them. My coordination is a mess. I have a distinctive gallop.

You were a wedgie target in school.
Ha. So when I was growing up, when all the other kids were playing football and baseball, I was the kid with the thick glasses on the debate team going to youth congress. It was all those things that have since convinced me that we all could use some active learning in our schools.

What's your family life like these days?
I've made a point to spend more time with my kids. I'm still on the job 24-7, but I have managed, in the last several years, to tone down. I had a heart attack eight years ago, when I was 32.

Kind of young to be having those, aren't you?
Yeah, but it was kind of a blessing. I was traveling around the world on these cases. I was taking on many Goliaths, but I realized that what really counted was the time I spent with my family and friends and the brief contribution I made while I'm here. I've tried to spend my time wisely, and I make a point to spend time with my children. I see my children every day, unless it's a vacation, and I work real hard to try to protect that. I don't work on Sundays. I try to spend as much time on Saturdays with them as possible. I've grown to the point where I realize that that's what really matters.

Do you have a history of heart problems?
My grandfather had six heart attacks.

Good grief!
Thankfully now, with better eating habits and certain medications, I've never had the slightest recurrence. At the time, though, I was traveling around the world, not eating properly. I was not exercising. It's genetics, too. We're talking bad cholesterol/good cholesterol ratios. Now that I've brought them back up, it's not an issue. Thankfully, there was no permanent damage to my heart.

Tell me about what you've done in Jackson.
I've spent my entire career helping the people of Mississippi. I consider myself a people's lawyer—done a lot of asbestos work, done a lot of work where people were sick from contamination, I've represented people who had taken a drug that resulted in heart problems, and represented people killed in shipping accidents and airplane crashes. All my cases have been about people who have been taken advantage of.

You ran for the 3rd District of the U.S. House and for governor in the last election. Why do you want to go into politics?
I've been given much in my life. I've got a beautiful wife, four wonderful boys. It's a soul conviction is what it is. Because I've been given much, I want to be part of the solution for Mississippi. Mississippi, throughout my entire life, has been considered last in most of the economic and education indicators. I've dreamed of what we could be like if we actually had a vision for this state, if we could move forward in this state. What drives me is this desire to do something significant. I believe to whom much is given, much is expected.

Why are you running as a Democrat? What defines you as a Democrat?
I'm a Democrat because I'm a Christian, and I believe in the true calling of Christ. When he came here, what did he do? He did three things: He healed the sick—today we call that health care. He told us the truth, and to understand the truth you need to have an education. And he came to help the poor—we call that economic development. Mississippi is a good place to start for that. We're the poorest in the nation.

I believe in the Good Samaritan. A lot of people do not realize that their responsibility is to be their brother's keeper, but I believe the greatest form of serving is to serve your neighbor.

I've heard a few preachers say that Christians don't vote Democrat.
I think the problem has been that the Republican Party has used Christian evangelicals for a long time, but I think that the evangelicals are waking up to this. I noticed that in the last round of national elections.

Your father was a Democrat, right?
Yes.

Did he ever tell you what kept him from switching over to the Republican Party like many other white southern Democrats at the time?
My daddy, also named John Arthur Eaves, grew up working real hard to take care of his own father, who was a disabled veteran. He was working hard at the age of 8. By the time he was 14, he owned a skating rink and a restaurant.

You're kidding.
No. This was in Louisville. He had to work to support the family. He worked hard his whole life. He's always been about trying to help people. He's always loved people, and I've always loved people, too. We've always stayed with the Democratic Party because it seemed to be for the common good of everybody.

Your dad's a trial lawyer as well, right?
Absolutely. We practice together. He started in 1964 in Louisville. That's where our roots go to. I started practicing with him. We've been on some very big cases around the world. He was involved in some very big cases with me. It's demanding, but it's time with your dad, you know.

My dad was a personal influence. He is the one who talk me to dream, and he would encourage me when I couldn't make the football team, or didn't get on the baseball team. He would say, 'Son, you have other gifts, and some day you'll get to use your gifts.'

Who are some of the political figures in history who most inspire you? Cheesy question, but sometimes it says a lot about a personality.
(Former President Jimmy) Carter is a good man. He was one of my favorite presidents. Martin Luther King is a great inspiration. He's an example of what one man walking in faith can accomplish.

Your opponent has big money behind him. You know what you're up against. A lot of people say these are pretty tough odds you're working with.
Thankfully, people still vote in this state. It's not all about money. The fact that (Gov. Barbour) will soon have $13 million before it's all over with, the fact that he has so many people from out of the state contributing to his campaign, is exactly the reason people in Mississippi shouldn't vote for him. Because we don't need that interest served in Mississippi. They're not giving him that money because they believe in good government. They're giving him that money because they want something from him, and he's good for delivering it.

Right now we have a two-year-old insurance crisis on the Coast. And this governor, when asked about it, said his hands were tied. And you know what? He's telling the truth. His hands are tied, because he's represented a lot of those big insurance companies. That's why he can't move forward. The insurance companies pull their coverage to manipulate public opinion. They've done it before, in 2001, but my attitude is: if they're not willing to pay the people on the Coast, then we don't need them.

I have no divided loyalty. I have always represented people in Mississippi, and I will always represent the people of Mississippi. Misplaced loyalties are the kinds of things that have held us back for too long.

You're saying you have no out-of-state money behind you?
No. I have no divided loyalty.

Who's backing your campaign this early on?
I believe in this, and I'm willing to take all that the Lord has given me and invest it in this campaign because I feel so strongly about it.

What could you do about the insurance situation on the Coast? Barbour's just a governor, right?
No. There's a lot the governor can do to help with the insurance crisis. First of all, the governor could favor a strategy like the one proposed by (Attorney General) Jim Hood, where new state laws can demand that insurance companies have to sell home insurance if they expect to sell auto insurance in the state. I'm in favor of something even more progressive than that. I'd like to expand that windpool to provide coverage regardless of wind or water damage. If the insurance companies are not willing to write policies, then the state has a perfect reason to step in and provide a fund to write those policies.

If Barbour has cornered the market on campaign finance, what have you got going for you?
I'm all about policy, but I think the main issue in this race comes down to motives. You have two very capable candidates. Barbour has been successful and has shown his capability. I have been blessed as a success in representing Mississippi and people across the world. Both of us have been a success, but it's a matter of who you're going to be loyal to. My hands will never be tied by a conflict of conscience because I've always represented the people. I'd love to talk about policy and the civic (initiatives) that other states are doing that we need to be doing, but at the end of the day, if your heart is right you can develop the laws in a practical way to accomplish your goals for Mississippians.

Are there any particular state laws outside Mississippi that have piqued your interest?
Oh, certainly. Let's talk about education. I'm extremely excited about the changing curriculum in other states, specifically Michigan. That's an example of where the curriculum is changing to increase children's success, in developing job creation and preparing for 20th century jobs.

We need to be developing a set of skills for active learning, rather than just focusing on memorization. For example, I took a seminary class last year, and in that class we didn't have a test. We had a blog where we would read a passage in the Bible, read a commentary, and then give our personal insight on the blog. Jobs of the future will need active learning where people can self-teach through the Internet. They're going to need the ability to work in teams, and they're going to need creative thinking. We need to change our curriculum more to develop those skills.

I think the reason we have such a high statewide drop-out rate—some say 26 percent, some say 40 percent—is because children instinctively are getting the picture that all this memorization is not going to help them in their daily lives. We have to have a curriculum that teaches success, which has everything from business etiquette to "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," to a way to afford laptops in every classroom.

Laptops, eh?
I've found a think-tank on how to afford laptops, $250 laptops for students. When you figure the cost of books, paper, pencils and other items, the cost of the laptop is much more cost effective, especially if you've got those books on the laptop.

Is your think-tank considering how we're going to insure these computers?
You know, you have destruction of books, too. We can work those safe-guards out.

Let's get back to helping the Coast. What is your plan?
Getting back to the insurance crisis that this governor has refused to deal with. The reason I think he hasn't dealt with it is because, as you see, the grant money has been held up, the insurance money has been held up, and the casinos and the out-of-state real estate interests have been buying up all the prime property.

I don't know exactly what is holding up the grants. There doesn't seem to be a problem when this governor's former clients like AshBritt are getting paid instantly. There's no problem with the contractors getting paid their money. They're getting their money—you can be assured of that. But when it comes to the people getting their money, all of the sudden the discussion is about fraud and abuse. That's troubling to me. I think it's a purposeful design so that his friends can buy up the big financial opportunities over the backs of the people who really suffered in this disaster.

If the contractors are getting their money, it should stand to reason then that the work they're charged to do is getting done, right?
No, that's not happening—not on the Coast. It's not moving near the speed it should be. I mean, here we are two Christmases after Katrina and people are still in trailers and still suffering, still unable to even give up and move. Even if they could get the insurance companies to pay them, they still can't buy the insurance at the current rate.

I've heard Louisiana residents complain that Gov. Barbour was able to pull money down from the federal government quicker because of his status as a well-connected Republican.
Actually, you can verify that we did not get a better deal than Louisiana. Per population, you'll see that Louisiana did better, even though it is widely perceived that Mississippi did better. The money came down from a federal level, but then it got sent to all these contractors. The Department of Homeland Security is already saying there's a lot of waste and a lot of abuse there. It came to Mississippi, it slept here overnight, and then it went to a lot of self-interested parties, like Haley Barbour's own niece and Sen. Tommy Robertson, who killed the recent tobacco tax bill in his committee at Barbour's request. Robertson supported the tobacco tax last year, but he didn't this year. It just happens this year that Barbour's exclusive club, the Mississippi Development Authority, gave Robertson a $1.2 million contract to help with the grant program. That is definitely related to his loyalty to the governor. That's pretty obvious.

What other gripes do you have?
This administration cut Medicaid and left a lot of people in between the tax brackets without coverage, then it turned around and increased the tax on hospital beds and nursing home beds. I think that's the wrong direction we need to be going in this state. A lot of people who end up in a hospital can't afford it. That's just Mississippi. We have a lot of people who don't make adequate wages. That's one of the reasons we need to find a way for everyone to have some kind of health coverage.

That seems to be a popular argument among national Democrats as well. What are you going to do about it?
I have a plan to make that affordable, but right now, it's in the hands of some economists. We're working on the details.

No hints this early, eh?
Not yet. We have to make sure we've got our facts straight.

Sounds like a tax-and-spend plan you got coming there, Democrat.
Under this plan I can guarantee you that people will have more money in their pockets than they do right now.

Why have you adopted such a vocal stance regarding the tobacco tax? Some might accuse you of hopping onto a popular bandwagon.
There's more to it than that. I lost my grandfather to tobacco. He started smoking at a very young age, back when they were rolling their own cigarettes. Through the course of my career, I sued the tobacco companies.

A trial lawyer move if there ever was one.
Ha. When I sued the tobacco companies, I got access to all that research showing that they knew their product was dangerous back in the 1930s.

What year did you sue tobacco?
I don't remember what year exactly, but I'm suing on behalf of the nation of Ukraine. I filed it right after the success of (former Attorney General) Mike Moore in recovering money for the state. My suit has been held up in the appeals process for years. The tobacco companies have the kind of money to keep the appeals going on and on. The same case has been filed by the U.S. government. That, too, is held up in the appeals process.

That's interesting. The Ukraine called you for this? You truly must have billboards everywhere.
Yeah, they called me. I had represented an international shipping accident over there, about a hundred miles from where the Titanic sank. A lot of Ukrainian sailors were on that boat.

What're your thoughts on fully funding the Mississippi Adequate Education Program?
We need a four-year commitment to MAEP. I'm not satisfied with the education just being adequate. We need excellent education. We need to quit striving for just adequacy. It's time to expect more from the government. A new generation of leadership is dawning in which we're willing to take on those powerful interests that have held us back. We're willing to step out and take a visionary course for the state.

Why the favoritism toward public schools? Are your kids in a public school?
No, they go to private school. They go private because of my faith issues, the reinforcement of prayer. I would like to see an opportunity for kids to talk more about their faith in schools. But I'm very pro-public education. I'm a product of public education, as are my parents. Much of the state depends on public education, and if we want to move ahead, we're going to have to improve it.

What makes you think the state is moving in a more progressive direction? There may have been a centrist trend in the national elections, but why do you think that trend extends to Mississippi?
I believe Mississippi, like the rest of the nation, is waking up to the culture of corruption that has gone on in Washington. They want to see fresh ideas. You saw that in the enormous turnover in the legislative elections, and you saw an increase in Democratic governors elected in state elections nationwide. You saw Democratic governors elected in Montana, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee. I think people are waking up and expecting something more, and they believe that Democrats have the authenticity and won't be playing games with their lives.

Well, yeah, lots of turnovers everywhere else, but not here. Sen. Lott, Rep. Pickering and other Republicans are doing just fine.
I think, to a large extent, we have been held back by the fear of our neighbor. You've had people who have been afraid, or made afraid. You've had issues that Republicans have used to divide people, but people are getting tired of that same old divisive rhetoric. I really believe that this time, we'll be able to declare an end to the (Republican) Southern Strategy. It has run its course. It has divided us, and there are more people in this state willing to work for a common cause for good than those that are interested in dividing.

What's your response to opponents who say that public schools already gobble up a majority of the state's resources?
They obviously don't understand that we are our brother's keeper, and that we should look out for our neighbor. We're all connected here. Even if we go to a private school, we need a trained, educated workforce in order to have the kinds of jobs that move the state ahead. It's important for the whole community, whether you personally choose to put your kid in a public school or not. We'll all do better if we invest in each other.

Has the Legislature become more partisan over the last few years?
Partisanship was a growing problem in the state but then Barbour came along with his Washington-style politics and took it to a whole new level. We see this best stated in the Democrat ad talking about the two faces of Barbour. He's played games with education. First, he's not for fully funding education, then suddenly, he is. His position evolves on different issues, but his lobbying firm never helped, supported or worked with Democrats. He talks publicly about working with Democrats, but his actions say something different.

What's the condition of the middle class in Mississippi? Has it eroded?
Absolutely. The middle class is under attack from many sides. They're not making as much. Their job security is not as great. There's an increase in insurance payments, and the price of gasoline. Heck, I've even sued the oil companies for price gouging in a class action in Mississippi.

You've been busy. When was that?
Earlier this year—it's still in litigation. You've seen all these price increases, yet the middle-class income stays stagnant. The cost of college has gone up and the cost of student loans. Then you've got an increase in local taxes to support schools because the state is falling behind on funding. Everything's gone up, but middle class income is just sitting there.

What can a state governor do to preserve the kind of jobs that the middle class depends on? You're up against a national trend of good jobs running off to other countries. What can you do about it?
That brings us back to the educational system. We need one that can help our homegrown businesses in Mississippi. We need more specialized training so people can develop their own businesses. The second thing we need is leadership. If we could have more affordable health care for everyone, then that would be less of a burden on business and it would encourage businesses to move or stay here. The third thing we need is an increase in opportunity to move forward in the development of bio-fuels in our state. We're a state that's still largely agricultural, and we have tremendous opportunities to capitalize on this new movement. Our agricultural system, combined with our river systems, and the potential for technological advancement at our universities and colleges, like Mississippi State University, can help us really utilize bio-fuel technology.

Are you looking at any particular kinds of bio-fuel?
Ethanol could be huge, and soybean derivatives. You can develop it through corn, sweet potatoes and timber. I think we're only at one-tenth our capacity for growing corn, for instance. Investments in these fields could revitalize our entire economy and serve the nation in the interests of getting us out of this economic dependence that has taken us into a very expensive war.

Are there any bills, besides the tobacco tax, that stuck in your craw?
Yes. I was very supportive of the minimum-wage increase bill that died. I know Barbour had said he didn't support it, but I thought it would have been great.
What about the opinion of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, which said Mississippi companies couldn't afford it?

Their philosophy is wrong. We have got to have a philosophy of a common good. The truth is—and people seem to keep forgetting this—that if you make more, you'll spend more, and the money re-circulates into the economy. I think MMA had a false understanding. The individual bottom line may be impacted at first, but when the lower middle class and lower income brackets make more money, they tend to spend everything they make, so you see a recycling into the economy, in the buying of more automobiles, building better houses and construction work, as people make the purchases they've always needed or wanted but could never afford. You'll see more electronic purchases. That money jumps right back into the system.

As a small businessman myself, I still stand by this belief. I pay more than minimum wage to my employees, knowing that paying more means paying increases in other things as well, but it's all for the better.

What's your take on environmental issues in the state? There was a bill that almost made it out of the Senate Parks Committee this session that would've allowed strip mining for gravel or lignite in our state parks. Nobody seemed to notice how close it came to passing.
I've represented people harmed by environmental disasters, so I know—probably more than most—how closely tied we are to the environment around us. I saw the damage that a chemical plant in Columbia, Miss., did to nearby residents. I also represent 8,500 people on an island in Puerto Rico who are dying of cancer at an enormous rate because of contamination. The idea of strip mining in our own parks is the worst waste of God's resources that I can see.

What's the future of the Democratic Party in Mississippi? Do you think it will continue to become more polarized by race?
I think people are letting go of those old fears of the past and (seeing) that we have more of a common interest with our neighbor. I think the party will expand more in the state as it is doing in the nation. Furthermore, I'm thankful that (National Democratic Party) Chairman Howard Dean has thought to invest in Mississippi. The state, in the past, did not have an identity with the national party and as a result we're written off for presidential elections. I think when people get to hear our messages, they will understand that their interest lies more with the Democratic philosophy of investing in people.

I think they've seen a lot of wastefulness in the Republican administration, in the state and nationally. I'm talking about money that has not gone into helping people but is ending up in companies' pocketbooks. They don't like that kind of waste. They want to see that money helping their families, their kids, their parents. They want to see it helping with health care and with education and the many other things that touch their lives. They don't like to see us losing money on a war that's not going anywhere. They're troubled by that, and I think they see Democrats as the fiscally responsible party.

How do you feel about the Democratic loyalty oath? Do Democrats who vote Republican really undermine the party?
Absolutely. I think it shows that they're not really committed to the Democratic philosophy.

What was your opinion on the Iraq War?
From the onset, I was troubled about it. My conscience didn't feel good about it because I had not seen enough or heard enough evidence that the Iraqis were doing anything to us. The Bible says we should not kill, so it was troubling to me to go to war without sufficient cause that they were a threat.

What's your stance on the pro-abortion rights/anti-abortion?
I'm pro-life. I'm very pro-life, but, unlike some others, my pro-life views extend after the birth of the infant as well. We need better health care and education to make the value of life worth more. I want to do that in policy. As a trial lawyer, I've worked to impose a higher of value of life inside the company boardroom, too. If a company produces faulty products like a chicken cage that tends to fall off a chicken truck and smash the driver behind him. I represented a victim in that case.

A chicken cage victim? Well, I imagine the issue is more serious at 60 miles an hour.
Yeah. Now the big trucks that ride down the highways in rural Mississippi have better made chicken cages on them. There have been changes in certain products that I've had a part to play in and they all work to make life more valuable, so board members are more conscious of the kind of products they provide.

Getting back to Roe v. Wade, if an anti-Roe bill like the one we saw this legislative session wound up on your desk, would you have signed it?
I didn't read that particular bill, but I most likely would have signed it. I would like to encourage people to keep their children, but—again—I also want to allow people the luxury of not having to give up their child. If people have better education and a better quality of life the temptation to give up your child isn't so pressing.

Barbour was pushing for major tax cuts hours after he and Tommy Robertson killed that tobacco tax bill.
I don't think that promise of his was very genuine. I think it's smoke and mirrors and pie in the sky. I think he's finally developed an excuse for not giving people the real tax relief that they need right now, and he's trying to wriggle off the hook. I don't see a reason to let him off the hook.

I bet you've got an opinion on tort reform. Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
I think it was a waste of time. We were promised lower insurance costs. Mine hasn't dropped at all; has yours? We were told that it would increase business. I don't think it has. We've continued to lose a tremendous number of jobs in the state, more so because of these international treaties, which allow our companies to go over the border to China or Mexico. We've actually given companies an incentive to leave. There are more urgent things that need to be dealt with than the issue of tort reform.

Yeah, but didn't the other side have a valid argument? Weren't there abnormally high jury awards in the state?
I don't believe so. They weren't running off businesses. Businesses were more interested in the education of the work force, more interested in the cost of health care. Health care is what made Ford and GM do a lot of layoffs. It's hard competing with Chinese labor that has a health care system financed by the state. Those are the bigger priorities of business. The truth is, there were a lot of big legal awards reported in the press, but when they actually went to the Supreme Court, they were reduced to a very small amount or sent back for another trial. The perception is there was a lot of something for nothing. I think that there were more people who were denied justice than who actually received it.

American experience has shown us that when the court system doesn't address justice, then the legislative branch often has to make up for it by increasing the bureaucracy over different agencies. It spends a lot of taxpayer money building up bureaucracies to handle injustice. So when you cut down on the tort side, you actually see a very burdensome increase in bureaucracy.

Your opponent will likely try to call attention to your background as a trial lawyer, saying you'll be looking to reverse tort reform. What would your reply be?
I have no plans to reverse tort reform. No plans at all. There are far too many more urgent things to be done. You see, the difference between me and Barbour is that his argument was all about tort reform, and that's because the interests he represents don't want to take responsibility for causing people harm. It's all about personal responsibility: I will agree with him on that, but he tries to enforce laws or redirect laws that absolve personal responsibility.

For more information on Eaves, visit http://www.eaves2007.com

Previous Comments

ID
81078
Comment

"Become a prayer warrior..." - from eaves2007.com Hmmph.

Author
kaust
Date
2007-04-04T16:25:18-06:00
ID
81079
Comment

Best. Title. Ever.

Author
emilyb
Date
2007-04-04T16:38:53-06:00
ID
81080
Comment

You won't know it without looking at the print edition, but it's the title of a book on Eaves' desk. Thus, the reference. He's got quite the office. Pick up the print edition. You'll see where the inspiration for Darren's cover came from. We had fun with it. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-04T16:41:38-06:00
ID
81081
Comment

But the dragon looks nothing like Haley Barbour... I'm also almost disappointed that JAE Jr. isn't depicted with the holy hand grenade.

Author
Ex
Date
2007-04-04T19:38:06-06:00
ID
81082
Comment

I cannot, in good conscience, support this candidate. Good interview though. lc

Author
LawClerk
Date
2007-04-04T19:44:01-06:00
ID
81083
Comment

Go to Madison and check out the castle in which he resides paid for by the deaths and injuries and complete lack of sense of many. I wonder if all the victims he represented live in castles also. Trial lawyers, pitiful. Example: Car wreck- jury reward is $10,000.00. Mr. Trial Lawyer takes 45% of that. So now you have $5,500.00. Oh wait, but you also have $3,000.00 in medical bills because the trail attorney isn't paying YOUR bills out of his fee. Now you are left with $2,500.00. Used to be a claims adjuster with a major insurer in Mississippi and I saw it all the time, most of which were beyond frivolous and entered the realm of complete ridiculousness. Attorney's solicit business whether the victim is hurt or not, convince the person they should go the doctor and then encourage them to get therapy. It's all about racking up the bills for a settlement. I can't tell you how many medical bills I would have to thumb through to find that the doctor couldn't find anything wrong. Of course, the attorney will send you 100 pages of medical reports thinking it's looks better and that you won't review anything but the final bill. They also pay policemen and offshore workers to refer them, it's sickening. Sure, some people deserved compensation for other's complete lack of safety of which I have no problem if you deserve it, but more often than not they were lying and the attorney's encourage it because there's no way to disprove if someone is feeling pain or not. Also, it never goes to court, only on the rare occasion. It's up to the adjuster to actually settle the case with the attorney. Not until I got that job, did I see just how out of control it was. It got so bad I had to leave. The average lifespan of a claims adjuster is about 3 to 4 years, at least with my company. It makes you completely lose faith in the human soul. People honestly believe stealing from an insurance company isn't stealing. Having said that, I have mixed feelings about the coast. I have lots of friends down there, it's horrible and some insurance carriers will get what they deserve if something was done wrong. But in the defense of the insurance companies, there is no justice for them. Judgements are ruled on pity, not policy. Take the raping of FEMA for example. People are finally being called out for fraud. This will not happen with insurance companies. You underpay somebody, you'll certainly hear from them. If you overpay, you'll never hear from them, and YES, believe it or not we sometimes overpayed, usually we wouldn't find out until the back end when the claim was closed. Bottom line, the guy sounds nice enough and I even share some of his opinions, but there's just no way in hell I'll ever vote for a trial attorney, not Edwards either. I honestly don't know how they sleep at night. Oh yes I do, with a big fluffy pillow filled with cash, an 8 car garage filled with ATV's, boats, and vehicles worth more than my home and with a second home usually on a lake or in florida, hmmm, maybe I chose the wrong profession.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-04T19:45:33-06:00
ID
81084
Comment

I just do not understand JFP’s love affair with this guy. He is the epitome of the unscrupulous southern politician. Representing the citizens of the Ukraine against the Tobacco companies? Give me a break.

Author
Nick22
Date
2007-04-05T08:57:16-06:00
ID
81085
Comment

Actually there is no love affair with him. We presented him in his words, and used imagery in his office to create the art around it. You can take that several different ways. We haven't decided who we think the best candidate is. We haven't interviewed Renick, yet.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T09:11:40-06:00
ID
81086
Comment

great interview adam. great interview john arthur. i am confident that JAE's message will become more refined and incisive as he continues campaigning. the november election has the potential of being closer than appears to be the case today. isn't it refreshing to have a progressive populist candidate running for governor? remember finch's lunchbox in 75 and allain kicking MP&L in 83?

Author
chimneyville
Date
2007-04-05T09:12:49-06:00
ID
81087
Comment

nick22 give me a man who represents the people anywhere,whether it be ukriane or mississippi, against big tobacco over a man who represented RJ Reynolds against the people. i looked up "unscrupulous" in the encyclopedia of southern politics and it said "see Barbour,Haley"

Author
chimneyville
Date
2007-04-05T09:19:06-06:00
ID
81088
Comment

"isn't it refreshing to have a progressive populist candidate running for governor?" I don't know that I'd use the word progressive... Something about the religious pandering and few-to-no real issues discuss and the willingness to strip a woman's right to choose doesn't really say progressive to me. Some of his thoughts are but I trust a politician about as much as I trust leaving my car running at a gas station in Jackson. ;-) Adam, you know how JAE feels about LGBT equality under the law?

Author
kaust
Date
2007-04-05T09:37:00-06:00
ID
81089
Comment

I have no particular feeling toward JAE, and I think Knol's question cuts to the heart of some of my concerns. However, (and this question is directed at Eagle in particular), do you think it's wrong to sue the tobacco companies? They clearly lied about their product--and if you don't believe that, go educate yourself rather than arguing about how everyone knows that smoking is bad, which isn't the point. It's really easy to talk about trial lawyers as if they are evil incarnate, but who is more evil? The trial lawyer, or Haley Barbour? Barbour uses his power to keep cigarettes as cheap as possible. He uses his power to destroy one of the most successful smoking cessation programs in the nation. So the trial lawyer (in the abstract) may be unsavory, but how can he possibly compare to someone as corrupt and loathsome as Haley Barbour?

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2007-04-05T10:09:09-06:00
ID
81090
Comment

Let me refine my question, Eagle. Don't you think companies that knowingly do harm to innocent people deserve to be punished?

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2007-04-05T10:31:34-06:00
ID
81091
Comment

... a question akin to ... Don't you think people that knowingly do harm to innocent people deserve to be punished? Why are people held to higher standards than companies?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T10:45:38-06:00
ID
81092
Comment

Brian, I don't disagree over the tobacco issue. I can still see all the tobacco execs holding up their right hand swearing under oath that it's not addictive. Pathetic. I'm sure you've seen "the Insider" a great Russell Crowe movie dealing with it, quite unbelievable. But have you seen the figures that Mike Moore and his chosen law firm earned (not sure earned is the right word). They're literally wiping their butts with cash. These attorney's made milllions off this case. MILLIONS! Yes, somebody had to call them out, but the attorney's fees are way off the chart. Why do you think this guy went to the Ukraine after we won our case here in MS? TO MAKE MILLIONS. Do you honestly believe this guy has some stake in the Ukraine, would he do it for free?? NO, it's about a multimillion dollar lawsuit of which he will get filthy rich, richer. Holding people or corporations accountable is one thing, but getting rich off the victims is deplorable and that is precisely what trial attorneys do. I don't share your same negative feelings of Barbour, but that is totally different subject. Again, there are people who deserve compensation for being wronged, but the overwhelming majority of injury law suits are frivolous.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-05T10:51:01-06:00
ID
81093
Comment

Why do you think this guy went to the Ukraine after we won our case here in MS? I'm rather curious why you think there is something wrong with that. Are you a capitalist? Sometimes it seems as if the only people who aren't supposed to make money are attorneys. I've never understand that logic.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T10:55:21-06:00
ID
81094
Comment

I'd also like to know how purposely putting out dangerous products is not "getting rich off the victims." Interesting moral relativism.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T10:59:42-06:00
ID
81095
Comment

If you think JAE represents the people I have a great deal on some land over in the Ukraine to sell you. Someone who “cares” about the people does not use them to make hundreds of Millions of dollars by exploiting their misfortunes. He is the classic example of an Old Southern Politician exploiting the people for his on personal gain by evoking god’s name in every issue and promising all the hands out he can without ever offering solutions for people to actually better themselves. Pumping more money in to a broken Health Care system and into an even more disastrous Educational system just so he can tell “the people” he is on their side does not mean you care about the people. Granted Barbour has some ethical questions as well but at least he seems to be making an effort to actually come up with solutions to fix the problems and not just giving the people just enough to keep them happy but still poor and dependent on the government.

Author
Nick22
Date
2007-04-05T11:55:22-06:00
ID
81096
Comment

I'm not sure what the answer is because I obviously wouldn't want it regulated, god knows there's enough of that. I simply find it disingenuous for someone to take on a human cause simply for the money. There's no law against it and I suppose someone must do the work. But attorneys fees at 1.4 billion in Mississippi alone? Come on, what's that, like $10,000 an hour. Who charges that? "I'd also like to know how purposely putting out dangerous products is not "getting rich off the victims." Who said it wasn't? Of course, my main issue is frivolous law suits, not legitimate ones. I've been there, and tons of claims are worthless but get settled every day because it's cheaper to have an adjuster settle it and get rid of it. And if you don't think it drives up rates, you simply have no clue or experience to understand what is going on. I thought I did, but boy was I wrong.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-05T12:23:50-06:00
ID
81097
Comment

I'm actually not talking directly about JAE. I haven't formed an opinion about him one way or the other. I'm talking about the issue raised and the hypocrisy of criticizing attorneys for making money by bringing cases on behalf of victims. You are completely insecure, and hypocritical, if you do not put the same level of scrutiny of the companies that make money by causing them to be victims, or the lobbyists who work to protect the companies from liability for the damage they cause in order to make money. You can criticize them all for making money if you want (a rather surprising stance from folks who purport to believe in free enterprise), but it's plain weird to criticize the one more who is actually making money by HELPING the victim, rather than those who are making money by HURTING the victim. That's just bizarre.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T12:50:53-06:00
ID
81098
Comment

Alo, eagle, it makes no logical sense to say there's "enough" regulation. Obviously, we have to have regulation to protect consumers, not to mention the business climate and the like. What matters is the type of regulation, what/who it's protecting and how it's administered. Most people have a problem with truly frivolous lawsuits—and they usually don't withstand judicial scrutiny over the long haul, and ridiculous pay-outs are nearly always reduced before it's over (even though the U.S. Chamber doesn't want you to know that.) It's a very, very sad truth that the only way to force most big industry to be safer to consumers is with the threat of huge pay-outs. That says more about them, and their apologists and lobbyists, than it does about everyone else. It' reallys unfortunate that what industry wants is protection from far more than frivolous lawsuits. And they'll lie, cheat, fool the media and buy judges to get what they want. We've seen it all right here in Mississippi, and it's a travesty.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T12:56:12-06:00
ID
81099
Comment

I think the distinction you make between frivolous and legitimate law suits is important, Eagle, but the problem is that most folks throw out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to "tort reform". Nobody likes the idea of "ambulance chasers," but that kind of rhetoric so quickly becomes a cliche that swallows up all civil suits, including those that are legitimate. I also think people have very exaggerated notions of how many frivolous law suits there really are. To me, "tort reform" has a nasty subtext, which is "Why can't anybody stop these damned, lazy n!ggers from taking money from hard-working white folks?" I am not saying that this is what anyone here has said, but I think that feeling, whether consciously or not, supplies a lot of the emotional energy on this issue. And I have actually heard that comment made before. But let's put that very hot tamale aside for a second. Why, Nick and Eagle, are you so sure that JAE does it "only" for the money, as you keep asserting?

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2007-04-05T12:57:44-06:00
ID
81100
Comment

As to the corporations-are-so-evil line (exaggerated distortion of what's said here, I know! BUT it's a convenient line to remember - and so is good as long as you don't take it too literally)... There are a number of dimensions to this problem *To me, the biggest one is to "maximize shareholder wealth" as it's currently practiced. This paragraph is a little off topic, but I find it responsible to bring up because it's such an oft-repeated phrase in business courses. Making money itself is, of course, not evil -- it's the way the money is made that matters - not the money itself. If you ask me, I'd amend that sacred maxim of corporate operations to say "maximize long-term shareholder wealth in a socially responsible manner" (empty phrase as it stands, I know, but even so..). So what is the way to maximize long-term shareholder wealth in a socially responsible manner? The same idea applies to non-corporations when you get right down to it. Are the tobacco companies doing any of the above? Is JAE maximizing his client's wealth in teh long term, all other factors in a household's finances considered MINUS the claims payments (e.g. money spent on addiction and the health consequenses of that addiction vs that money being spent on truly beneficial things). Is JAE's payment excessive or not? Ditto for the corp execs and their shareholders, and even private entrepreneurs? (We can talk for weeks about this one!) *The regulations in and of themselves - Donna's right - it's not a matter of regulations per se, it's a matter of hamstringing vs beneficial regulations. Besides, just because these days we have plenty of regulations that are good in principle does not mean we have all the good regulations we need. Indeed, several states have introduced bills forbidding workplace bullying (though all were defeated so far). Is an anti-bullying bill for the workplace beneficial to society or not? *Lawyers vs Noncorporate Entrepreneurs - How much money is too much money? Is the owner of Jackson's most popular high-end restaurant making too much money? Ought he/she pay more to their servers and bussers? Or offer a lower price for their meals so that practically anyone with a job can afford their meals? Another seemingly eternal argument of "how much is too much for someone to make". Seems to me one of the real issues is "Does the entity (person or group of people) do something that is societally redeeming in some way?"

Author
Philip
Date
2007-04-05T13:46:43-06:00
ID
81101
Comment

Ladd, who says I don't criticize lobbyists or corporate greed? Whose says I don't criticize the "bad" corporations more than the lawyers taking aim at them. This discussion is about the candidate in this article, not about RJ Reynolds. And when I talk about too much regulation, I wasn't necessarily referring to corporate regulation as I was referring to regulations in general. Sorry, I take the John Stossel approach to that. If you think you are going to get me defending corporations you are sadly mistaken It's not making money that bothers me it's the level of the money. Several years ago the CEO of (I think it was) United Way was criticized and I believe let go after he was found to fly every where in a private jet and had this incredible lavish lifestyle. He was the CEO afterall, but for a charity organization. Did he deserve a huge paycheck, hell yeah, but how large? It just sounds disingenuous. Brian, I really don't think race plays a part. It's poverty and education. Poor blacks and whites alike are looking for that easy payday, as seen on tv - "one call that's all", "he got me 100,000". I'd have people tell me straight up, "i ain't hurt, but you know if I got an attorney, you'd pay." Guess what, they are right, and guess what, I'd pay 'em something. That's why I couldn't do it anymore. Look, I can only speak from my experience and I'm reluctant to bring up "tort reform." But I'm telling you, however bad you may think it is, it's 100 times worse. As for JAE doing it only for the money, that's just a judgement call. I could be totally wrong, but I've dealt with these attorneys on a daily basis and with my experience, I don't know to many of them that are genuine, he could be. But do me a favor and drive by his castle in Madison and then try to reason in your head if he does it for the "victim." Frankly, he can do it all day for the money and tell me to my face it's for the money, it's a free country after all, but he's not getting my vote.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-05T13:57:52-06:00
ID
81102
Comment

. This discussion is about the candidate in this article, not about RJ Reynolds. Actually, eagle, you started your first post on this thread with this: Trial lawyers, pitiful. That's not about the candidate. That's a stereotype about a whole group of people for doing something that the "other side" does, and in a worse way—make money off victims. I was addressing *your* stereotype. The sad truth is that many victims would not get good representation, or a shot at damages, if trial attorneys were not willing to do it in order to make money. Again, it's a nasty game all around, but they wouldn't be making money if there weren't problems to begin with. And the folks making money by creating the problems are bringing those big payouts later. They just don't want to take personal responsibility about it. Also, I've researched deeply the myth behind "tort reform." I don't have time to go far into it now, but suffice it to say that it is hype to state that a bunch of poor blacks and poor whites are making easy payoffs left and right. There is abuse, and it should be dealt with. But you don't do that with extreme forms of tort reform passed in this state. Citizens should be outraged. You can read a past story I did on this topic here: Hoodwinked: Did the U.S. Chamber pull a fast one on Mississippi? And another Todd and I did together back during the "tort reform" madness: Face-Off: The Battle for 'Tort Reform' Should Tort Awards Be Capped?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T14:11:46-06:00
ID
81103
Comment

I also wonder what you think of defense lawyers? Are they the same level of scum as trial lawyers?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T14:13:01-06:00
ID
81104
Comment

Not a fan of JAE but not one of Barbour either. Again, I feel that MS politics provides me with no real option. But three thoughts -- 1. I think, to some degree, we all work "for the money." If our vocation is also an avocation, that makes us lucky. That plaintiffs' attorneys *sometimes* make a ridiculous per hour figure is (supposedly) justified because the same lawyers may take a case and make little to nothing. 2. JAE being in support of "the Democratic loyalty oath" is a bit concerning. I want the Democratic party to be as big tent as it can be and appeal to fiscal conservatives that are socially liberal (and all other permutations of politics that make the Republican party less appealing than the Democratic party). But a "loyalty oath"!?!?! That just really *bugs* me. 3. Eagle1 wrote: "People honestly believe stealing from an insurance company isn't stealing." It isn't just people (and certainly not all people) that believe this. Movies and TV shows tell us the same thing. Think about Ocean's Eleven: that was a movie where the "heroes" were thieves but it was "okay" to cheer for them because the money they were stealing was insured (a point made very clearly and very early in the movie). Think of the Rainmaker (Grisham's take on the evil insurance companies). In a recent episode of Veronica Mars, the title character helped someone commit insurance fraud but that was okay because we were supposed to feel sorry for him. Those are just off the top of my head. In the face of this, is it so hard to believe that people will inflate their medical bills? Is it so hard to believe that people who lost their $200,000 homes to Hurricane Katrina think they should recover $200,000 in flood insurance AND $200,000 in wind insurance? Are insurance companies perfect? Absolutely not. But they sure aren't evil, either. Newt

Author
Newt
Date
2007-04-05T14:29:10-06:00
ID
81105
Comment

Ladd: I also wonder what you think of defense lawyers? Are they the same level of scum as trial lawyers? Philip: Claimant's attorney in a civil case...defense attorney in a criminal case. Both are unpopular, and yes, at times both are mere mouthpieces. It's a permanent dilemma. But they are necessary for a a society to carry out its duties to its members. Oh, btw, State's Attornies in criminal cases and Defense Attorney's in civil cases can be just as scummy as well. How does that fit into your paradigm? Oh, I get it! (metaphorically speaking) "Kill All The Lawyers" (some Shakespeare play. I forgot the name of it). So this is nothing new.

Author
Philip
Date
2007-04-05T14:35:13-06:00
ID
81106
Comment

I feel you on the limited options we get in this state, Newt. Otherwise, all interesting points. The truth is, there are slimy trial attorneys. And slimy lobbyists. And slimy governors. And slimy corporate executives. And slimy defense attorneys. And slimy doctors. And, and ... But there are also good in all those categories. And they all want to make money in one way or another. The wholesale demonization of any category is sheer ignorance. Worse, it is buying into dangerous hype. It always tickles me that some people support any and all kinds of free enterprise—except the type that helps the victims of corporate and other types of victimization. I don't mean tickles in a ha-ha way, either. It's tragic what people will buy into.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T14:36:48-06:00
ID
81107
Comment

btw, in my last post, I accidentally conflated an agreement with Donna with a response to Eagle; one making it look like I was arguing with Donna. That's NOT the case. It was screw-up on my part. My apologies, Donna

Author
Philip
Date
2007-04-05T14:37:27-06:00
ID
81108
Comment

I know you weren't, Philip. But thanks for clarifying. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T14:39:12-06:00
ID
81109
Comment

There's some discussion on this interview over on Matt Friedeman's blog right now.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T14:43:30-06:00
ID
81110
Comment

Newt, agreed about the "loyalty oath", especially hypocritical in light of Democrats being a "big tent" party. Sounds like the Dems are learning the wrong lessons from the Republicans about how to obtain a majority. And I agree with Hollywood's role in semi-legitimizing theft from "the big guy". Theft is WRONG. I guess scripts about stealing from the "fat cat" has more mass appeal than a "boring but necessary" discussion about how to coax insurers and their regulators into adjusting the law, regulations, and company policies so that justice truly is served. Then again, Hollywood's strategy to make money is to entertain, not inform. Alas, if it's information you want, go to the library (or internet, or write your insurance commisioner) and read the boring technical details - which would kill the whole purpose of entertainment (groans)

Author
Philip
Date
2007-04-05T14:46:48-06:00
ID
81111
Comment

The wholesale demonization of any category is sheer ignorance. That is one of the truest things I have ever read -- and is what we need to remember every time a decision is made based on a stereotype.

Author
Newt
Date
2007-04-05T14:49:46-06:00
ID
81112
Comment

Philip, I agree Hollywood is there to entertain, but many people pick up their attitudes from the entertainment industry.

Author
Newt
Date
2007-04-05T14:57:51-06:00
ID
81113
Comment

You can call it hype if you want. Again, I'm speaking from my personal experience. More times than not, the people that I dealt with (again, we're talking car accidents, home accidents) were usually on the lower end of the economic totem pole, education and financial. Maybe that is a result of living in Mississippi, it may not be a national trend, just my experience. I'm just stating what I saw, not making some judgement on this group of people. We only hear about the BIG lawsuits (tobacco, asbestos), mainly the ones that are justified. What you don't hear about are the thousands upon thousands of small claims, the $2,000 to $100,000 claims. They don't make the news or the courts. They are settled between attorney and adjuster. And yes, some cases were justified, but the majority were borderline comical. Again, my experience tells me not to trust these attorneys, the "one call that's all" crowd. They may be a necessary evil, but they'll never get my vote. And Ladd, I'm not buying into hype nor is my writing here based on "sheer ignorance." It's based on experience. I'm not going to lie to you and say that I didn't have some lean to the right on tort reform to begin with, but until I took that job, I had no idea how out of control it was. I had to leave, it made my home life miserable. I was beginning to despise people in general because my first reaction when approaching a claim was: "so, how's this person going to lie to me today." It's terrible to pre-judge someone like that and a terrible way to live. I've always been a gullible guy when it comes to giving people the benefit of the doubt, been burned many a time. I know, ironically, I'm pre-judging this guy, but it's a result of that horrible job.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-05T15:22:31-06:00
ID
81114
Comment

Eagle, you yourownself said: Trial lawyers, pitiful. That is an ignorant stereotype, whether or not you have an excuse for it. If you didn't mean it, take it back. Otherwise, stop whining about people calling you on on what you actually write. That gets old fast. the majority were borderline comical. I would ask you to prove your claim, but I fear you'll come up with a source like you did on the other thread. So, never mind. The truth is, the unbiased research does not support your claim that "most" payouts are "borderline comical." That's hype.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-05T15:33:03-06:00
ID
81115
Comment

I enjoyed reading the interview and getting to know Mr. Eaves. However, he lost me with the fact that his children attend private school. I feel that shows a lack of support for public education. I believe that his support for education has to start in his own home. He attended public schools and turned out fine. His Christian beliefs were probably tested, but he obviously stayed true to his faith. I just think that maybe he should have a little more faith in the public school system.

Author
Melishia
Date
2007-04-05T16:35:35-06:00
ID
81116
Comment

Considering his kids would go to Madison County, I can't see why he prefers a private school. I doubt seriously those kids are doing anything differently than in a public school. After this, it still looks like I'll be voting Cthulhu/Hastur this year.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2007-04-05T17:08:25-06:00
ID
81117
Comment

"I would ask you to prove your claim, but I fear you'll come up with a source like you did on the other thread. So, never mind." Nice, that's real mature. I admitted that was a mistake, but I guess you'll never let me live it down. Of course it's a good tool for you to use whenever you disagree with me, just pull it out and call me a racist, oldest trick in the book. Just looking for some quick numbers, mistake, get over it and grow up. Not sure why you think I'm whining. But enough of the infantile behavior. Again, just speaking from MY EXPERIENCE. Should I not share my experience because it contradicts what YOUR SOURCES are telling you. I don't believe I brought up tort reform first, was reluctant to even mention given the site I'm posting on. Frankly, while I am for some tort reform, not sure that will solve anything. But, the reference to Trial Attorneys is wrong, I suppose what I meant to say is Plaintiffs Attorneys, because Trial Attorneys do encompass a wide range of people. Of course so do Plaintiffs Attorneys, but ask anyone in the legal profession and they'll know what you're referring to when you say that. I have made that mistake in the past. And Ladd, do the numbers you quote in your stories refer to actual law suits filed, or any claim made and paid out. My point is, of the 2 or 3 hundred injury claims I dealt with, only two were actually filed. You are talking medical malpractice, I am talking car and home injuries. I don't have any experience in medical malpractice. Most injury claims are never filed, they are settled before that happens, do your numbers account for those? because it's cheaper for an insurance company to settle before it ever gets to that point, court and attorneys fees. Yes, unfortunately, because jurys rule on pity not policy, insurance companies find it cheaper to settle the claim (whether legit or not) rather than confront it. I ask, 1.4 billion to attorney's in MS for tobacco, what's your thoughts Ladd? http://www.cnn.com/US/9907/30/tobacco.fees.01/

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-06T07:53:29-06:00
ID
81118
Comment

what burned me up about that is that it was just handed out to whoever the AG felt like awarding the contract for representation to. WHere were the good government types screaming about the fact that there was no public bidding by law firms for the tobacco lawuits. Funny how they scream about Katrina no bid contracts but are silent on tobacco lawsuits.

Author
Kingfish
Date
2007-04-06T08:02:15-06:00
ID
81119
Comment

Yes, eagle, you can live that down. Live it down. That responsibility is on you. (And you do recall that you wouldn't go find the source for us, that I had to do it for you, right? It kind of seems like you apologized for using a racist source because you got caught.) eagle, I believe in free enterprise, and I believe in it used for the public good. That is, if it took (or takes) a huge band of attorneys getting a cut of a huge settlement to to get these companies' attention, I have no problem whatsoever with that. Why in the world would I have problem with attorneys, or anyone, making money off of cases that help keep people alive? This isn't a communist country, dude. Get with the program. Yes, I know a lot of injury claims are settled, and there is a reason they are settled. If a company decides to settle a claim that is frivolous, then I would say that's bad business. And the research applies to all sorts of lawsuits. "Jackpot justice" is simply not the booger-bear it's been made into. Yes, you can point examples of abuse. There is abuse in everything, but that is no reason to trash-talk every trial attorney, just like the malpractice out there is no reason to trash-talk every doctor. An intelligent would not do that. Also, many, many high jury awards are lowered before they're paid out. That's the part that gets left out of the "runaway jury" hype.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-06T08:54:42-06:00
ID
81120
Comment

Ladd, you obviously think I'm an idiot. It was a trap of my own making. The guy calling me out had already found the site, obviously the same way I did and new he had me and also new you'd find it with ease, the same way I did. Come on, I wasn't going to play into that. He scrutinized the site, I didn't, I was in a hurry and thumbed through several sites, my mistake, and still paying the price. The numbers should have been scrutinized, not the site and ultimately they were. That was the issue. So be it, I'm racist, you win, I lose. You'll now play that card every chance you get for an edge. What's the point.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-06T09:17:52-06:00
ID
81121
Comment

"knew" , see, I also have typos all over the place when I'm in a hurry. Geez.....

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-06T09:43:04-06:00
ID
81122
Comment

The "guy" calling you out was a chick, for the record. ;-) I don't know whether you're an idiot or not. Your posts are all I've got, and they don't represent a best foot forward, so to speak. But I've seen folks come on here like you did—like they were calling into the Hannity show or such—and end up great bloggers because they take the factual challenges and learn from them. Go to it. Earn my respect if you want it. If not, stop harping about what I think about you.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-06T09:46:20-06:00
ID
81123
Comment

"If a company decides to settle a claim that is frivolous, then I would say that's bad business" You would be wrong. It is the correct Business decision. However it might not be the decision you want to make or the best decision for society. But it is clearly not bad business.

Author
Nick22
Date
2007-04-06T09:53:00-06:00
ID
81124
Comment

Actually, Nick22, it may *well* be bad business. It might feel like the easiest, or cheapest thing, to do in the short term, but settling frivolous suits without challenging them is contributing to the bigger problem—if it is a problem that is as bad as people make out. However, it does make it damn easy for a company to claim that it's settling "frivolous" suits all the time, rather than taking responsibility for the reasons that they're brought in the first place. Of course, that is the price the consumer pays for settling as well. A member of my family had to sue a major, major corporation that falsely accused him of writing bad checks. The videotapes were screwed up, and they identified the wrong license plate. He was arrested, out on bail, put in the newspaper, etc. They took years on the lawsuit and could afford to just keep it going, and finally settled. He got something out of it (not enough for the pain they caused), and they never had to admit publicly what they did. The truth is, that most lawsuit that go forward, and are settled, are not frivolous. That is a false meme that is spread by those being sued the most.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-06T10:17:48-06:00
ID
81125
Comment

And, Nick22, don't tell me I'm "wrong" without the ability to prove it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-06T10:18:58-06:00
ID
81126
Comment

Coming form someone who is “never wrong” to someone who appears to never be wrong also, I don’t think anything I could say or show you would prove to you that sadly in today’s litigious society it makes better Business sense to settle even the most frivolous lawsuits rather than fight them. We will just have to agree to disagree and hope no one sues JFP over a paper cut they get from reading your paper. Hope you have a good weekend. I think you do a great job with the paper, keep up the good fight. "The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane." Mark Twin

Author
Nick22
Date
2007-04-06T11:41:06-06:00
ID
81127
Comment

Ladd, I'll end with this. I don't need your respect nor am I looking for it, especially with the views you have. What I want is fairness(I'm sure you'll have some great response for that). So what now, everytime I have an opinion on something, you'll somehow find a way to incorporate that ridiculous website? Playing the "race" card is just old, that's all. And to Nick 22 comment: He (or she) is right. It unfortunately is good business. Like I keep saying, jury decisions are based on pity not policy or law for that matter. Thanks to media "hype" and hollywood, insurance companies don't have a chance in the court room. My first, and only experience in serving jury duty came when I was in and out of college for a period. occurrance: A woman was running along a walkway from her sister's apartment at night and in the rain carrying her 2 year old. It T'd into a sidewalk along the road. Because she was in a hurry to get to her car for obvious reasons, she cut the corner of the sidewalk instead of remaining on it. What she didn't see was a large(about 2 feet tall) flower pot in the grass, with a matching one on the opposite side. She tripped over it dropping her child. The child was unhurt but she sustained a broken arm and didn't have insurance. The entire case was based on the fact that the pot was a hazard and shouldn't have been in that spot. This, of course, would call into question virtually anybody's yard and what you put in it. What if it was a tree she would have ran into? Regardless, to my utter astonishment while I was arguing against any compensation in deliberation(because she is responsible for her own actions) there were jurors saying things to me like, "why do you care so much," or "you don't know these people, just give her some money." Only one juror was actually trying to make the argument that the pot was a hazard, the rest could have cared less. She won and I lost virtually all faith in our judicial system. It was unbelievable which was probably the start of my opinion on this issue. Sure, I felt sorry for her, but it wasn't right for someone else to have to pay for her cutting a corner on a sidewalk. She assumed a risk when she did that. ain' this nice: http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=5464540

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-06T12:21:56-06:00
ID
81128
Comment

"... isn’t afraid to boot Mississippians off state Medicaid and has been willing to short-change the so-called “artificial” Mississippi Adequate Education Program in the name of budget austerity." ...while Eaves criticizes the Bush administration for all its malfunctions and corruption." Nice objective introduction, Mr. Lynch --- Eagle1, do you refer to attorneys who devote 95% of their practice to representing defendants in court as "trial lawyers" - It seems like they spend as much time in court as do plaintiffs' attorneys "...jury decisions are based on pity not policy or law for that matter" - This coming from someone who (1) never graduated law school (2) never passed the bar exam (3) never tried a case before a jury (4) and used to be an employee of an insurance company - Pathetic

Author
jdmd
Date
2007-04-06T13:40:51-06:00
ID
81129
Comment

Guys, I've been wrong many times, and I've said I've been wrong many times when someone has shown me evidence to the contrary. It might not sell well with you, but when you post so-called "facts" on this Web site, I am going to ask you to back it up. And if I know you're wrong, factually (not ideologically), I am going to call you out on it. If you cannot then provide information that you are correct, then that's your own problem. But it doesn't go a long way toward proving that you're not just passing along rhetoric and hype. And you should know that one specific example does not prove a general all-encompassing statement. We can all find an example that supposedly "proves" anything we believe. Actually, being willing to do the homework and find the truth is not something that just everyone is willing to do. The problem is the rhetoric people put out there without being able, or willing, to try to back it up. I've done my homework on the "tort reform" issue. I don't just believe what any side tells me without further questioning. I'm sorry if that chaps your butt so. I'm a fact-based kinda gal, and I don't care where that falls on some partisan scale. Eagle, I'm not the one complaining about not getting respect. You are creating a situation—by posting stereotypes and unfactual race rhetoric—and then complaining about it. Let's put it this way: I. don't. care. And if you don't appreciate intelligent and honest discussion of race, go away. Shoo. Scoot. Skedaddle. It's not up to you. Quit your whining, and discuss issues without all the innuendo and generalizations about "liberals" and "trial attorneys" or any other group, or get lost. It's your choice. Take personal responsibility.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-06T13:54:09-06:00
ID
81130
Comment

"...jury decisions are based on pity not policy or law for that matter" - This coming from someone who (1) never graduated law school (2) never passed the bar exam (3) never tried a case before a jury (4) and used to be an employee of an insurance company - Pathetic jdmd, would it be a stretch to say that most people in this country haven't graduated law school, tried a case and never passed the bar exam? Why is that relevant to posting an opinion. And because I HAVE worked for an insurance company is the VERY REASON I commented on this to begin with. Just to give another side based on MY EXPERIENCE. Have you worked for an insurance company? If so, what was your experience, good or bad. Because I worked for one doesn't mean I tote the corporate koolaid, I just happened to work for a good company. Didn't like the job at all, but it was a great company. Do you have no respect for anyone who works for an insurance company or corporation for that matter. I have news for ya, most people I've worked with on the corporate level are GOOD people, despite all the "hype." To criticize insurance companies or corporations in general for greed, is no different than me criticizing plaintiffs attorneys on a whole. There are bad apples in both. IN MY EXPERIENCE with these type attorneys that I dealt with, I wouldn't trust my grandmother with any of them.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-09T08:43:15-06:00
ID
81131
Comment

Should read, "I wouldn't trust them with my grandmother." Obviously I trust my grandmother.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-09T09:56:10-06:00
ID
81132
Comment

I guess your grandmother isn't a trial attorney. Because, if she was, folks who think like you would assume that she is scum.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-09T09:59:32-06:00
ID
81133
Comment

No, but her late husband, my incredible grandfather, did work for a corportation, a blue collar job no less, but a corporation still. I suppose people who think like you would think he is scum.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-09T12:12:14-06:00
ID
81134
Comment

I suppose people who think like you would think he is scum. - Eagle1 Why are you so obsessed with generalizing your statements with stuff like "people who think like you" blah blah blah. It's so generic. Seriously. I love to read the debates on the blogs, and as a conservative liberal married to a liberal conservative, believe me, I don't have my mind already made up. I like to hear the debate but not bland, rude generalities like "people who think like you." Do you think all people who agree on an issue think alike on every other issue?

Author
Izzy
Date
2007-04-09T12:52:53-06:00
ID
81135
Comment

Laurel, that was my statement in case it's not clear. My point is that Eagle is stereotyping all trial lawyers above. Someone who thinks like Eagle on this issue would assume his grandmother is scrum if she is a trial lawyer. I'm being very specific, not general in the least.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-04-09T12:58:03-06:00
ID
81136
Comment

what do you call 100 parachuting lawyers? skeet. ;-)

Author
Kingfish
Date
2007-04-09T13:08:33-06:00
ID
81137
Comment

eagle1 - No, never worked for an ins. co., of course, I'm not posting remarks on this site about how their decisions are based on greed and not the language contained in the policy - I can appreciate your opinion about the attorneys you came into contact with, one can only relate to what he/she has experience with - Therein lies my point, though, you have no experience with juries and/or their verdicts - For that reason, it is necessary to illustrate your lack of legal training - Again, nothing wrong with one's personal opinion, just don't offer them as if you're an expert in the field "Do you have no respect for anyone who works for an insurance company or corporation for that matter" - Never said that, in fact my older brother is a claims adjuster - Re-read my post

Author
jdmd
Date
2007-04-09T13:12:02-06:00
ID
81138
Comment

Actually, not sure how much experience you refer to, but I have served jury duty and I've referred to that. Never said I was an expert, not sure why you assume that.

Author
eagle1
Date
2007-04-10T07:07:17-06:00
ID
81139
Comment

One thing I like about JAE is that he articulated how a Christian can see himself being a Democrat. He hit the nail on the head. For far too long Democrats have let Republicans paint them in a very unflattering way where Chrisitianity is concerned. As far as him being a trial lawyer, there would be no other way for an individual to combat the resourses of a major company without one. I do not look at all lawyers as being evil. I do not think a trial lawyer took our tax dollars and gave them to Exxon Mobil as tax breaks while they were simultaneously making the largest profits ever recorded in history. I hope JAE gives Barbour a good showing.

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-04-10T10:18:43-06:00
ID
81140
Comment

Then you understand my point - Perhaps your comment could've read: "I served as a juror once, and in my opinion, juries tend to make judgments based on emotion rather than evidence and witness testimony" Nonetheless, we fleshed out the meaning of your comments - No harm done Take care

Author
jdmd
Date
2007-04-10T13:45:08-06:00
ID
81141
Comment

There are a host of things i disagree with JAE on (the nature of the heavenly host not being the least of these)... Lately though, i've come to realize the importance of compromise in achieving steady progress. If faced with a choice between Haley Barbour and JAE, there is no choice. JAE is the only candidate of the two that seems to have any real empathy for the general populace. He has stated a profound solidarity with the people of MS and with consumers over corporations. There were quite a few goals he has that i would like to hold him to...and there would be quite a few issues i would do my level best to prevent him from accomplishing. My point here is to draw attention to the fact that we are in Mississippi and have a limited pool of choices for Governor. If Knol would run i would certainly give him my vote... heck, half the people on this list would get my vote before either of these two....but none of you are running. If we are going to move forward we are going to have to work on issues that we agree on when there seems to be an opportunity to do so. i just like to see this type of corporation-cautiousness rhetoric coming from a political candidate. We NEED someone to stand up to corporations which seek to feed at our trough at our expense. We NEED to provide quality education and healthcare to everyone. We NEED to have someone who is excited about the possibilities government affords us and doesn't tr to minimize its effectiveness. i am tired of hearing people decry big government and favor more private control. That is essentially saying that we do not trust ourselves to manage our country but would rather trust powerful rich people to make the right decisions for us. If the system is broke lets get off our butts and fix it - not sell it to the highest bidder. i like that JAE would be interested in barring State Farm for trying to make the rules...he is on the right track saying that we can do it ourselves if they won't do it on a basis which we think is fair. "Pumping more money in to a broken Health Care system and into an even more disastrous Educational system just so he can tell “the people” he is on their side does not mean you care about the people." This statement irks me (mostly from the educational standpoint) because we have never even tried putting extraneous money into our educational system. The teachers i know by extra paper out of pocket because they can't get enough from allotted school supplies. i do not disagree that the educational system is broken...i would just assert that it is because we have made the whole institution fight over money for too long...no one ever had enought to do an adequate job. As for attacking JAE for his tobacco suit with the Ukraine - he explicitly says in the article that the Ukraine called him because he had done another case in their country. So he took the job; so what? As for making too much money i would be interested to know what each of you make and to read a short essay on why you deserve that amount. A nice follow up would be to compose for me an essay regarding the least amount you could live on and what could be done with the extra income saved that is not being paid to you. i don't think he needs as much money as he has. i don't think jesus would be living in madison. (he certainly wouldn't send his kids to private school) i would be interested to see how it would affect his agenda and rhetoric if the GLBT community stopped by his office (representatives from respective organizations would probably work best) and pledge their efforts and votes to his campaign to further the issues that they agree on. Perhaps even propose a public engagement on topics with which they disagree.

Author
daniel johnson
Date
2007-04-10T14:48:24-06:00
ID
81142
Comment

eagle1, your understanding of trial lawyers and our legal system is woeful.

Author
jp!
Date
2007-04-11T10:03:21-06:00
ID
81143
Comment

does it make Barbour better when he made his millions supporting the very people who HURT millions of citizens. I have a problem when i hear someone malign an atty that works with the injured, but give a free pass to the one that works with those who injure others. the indignant tone seems somewhat hollow. should people that are hurt just not have attorneys? not have access to the court? maybe it would be better if they weren't successful. I mean, since he doesn't get paid unless he's successful, would you like him better if he (or other trial lawyers) had less money? that implies you want injured people to be less successful in court? would that be better. I also have to wonder about this targeting of trial lawyers as making their money on the pain of others. do you freak out as well when defense attorneys make MORE money defending those who hurt people? OH GOD, now that i think about it, i bet you LOSE YOUR COLLECTIVE MINDS when you see a funeral home! those JERKS make their money on DEAD people and the needs of the surviving FAMILIES! oh, and don't get me started on CEMETARIES! the scum! all kidding aside, i just don't find the argument cogent. being a trial attorney doesn't make you a saint or a sinner...like most any other profession. (and yes, i'm a trial atty)

Author
jp!
Date
2007-04-11T10:13:22-06:00
ID
81144
Comment

if your judgement is being made by driving by 'castles' in madison, then you would perhaps enjoy a little comparison tour of the homes of the state's defense attorneys vs. the state's trial lawyers. heck, ask a law student where the money is. a defense atty gets paid by the hour to tell a client how right they are. and if they lose? who cares, that hourly fee keeps coming, doesn't it? if a plaintiff atty loses, they get no money. period. who has the incentive to manufacture BS in this picture? more to the point, if you are the one employing a Def. atty, who has the incentive to BS YOU?

Author
jp!
Date
2007-04-11T10:20:31-06:00
ID
81145
Comment

Maybe once we get the housing "castles" and the money being made as a trial lawer out of the way, we can begin assessing JAE as a viable candidate for the office of Governor. Adam did a beautiful job and covered so many things and I must impressed with the fact that this man is not ashame of his religious teachings and claims to model his life around it. I was especially impressed with the JAEs Law Firm and their support of Katrina and Rita victims. There are just some things that people don't have to participate in, even if they are running for office. A friend of mine said that JAE helps a lot of folks and gets angry if anyone tried to talk about it. She said that he operates from the premise that what he does is from his heart and he just doesn't talk about gifts/help that are given from that source.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-04-13T11:50:42-06:00

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