Musgrove takes useless pot shots

I was recently very disappointed to read in the newspaper of quotes from Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove who is rumored to be considered to be a candidate for governor.

Musgrove seemed to want to take pot shots at the lawyers of this state and blame Mississippi's economic problems on lawsuits. This would seem to echo the cries of certain big businesses, giant corporations and giant insurance companies that have cried "wolf" and proclaimed the need to have forced caps on punitive damages and jury awards.

I know very well that Musgrove, who is a lawyer, knows that very few judgments which include punitive damages stand up on appeal and very few large awards are affirmed through the appeal process. Furthermore, any award for punitive damages is based on the judgment of a jury of 12 people in a state court. Punitive damages are not even allowable under existing state law unless there has been fraud or intentional misconduct almost amounting to criminal conduct by an individual, corporation or insurance company. Large monetary judgments are very rare and rarely do occur, although it appears for some politicians they seem to be a rallying cry for believed problems in a civil court system.

The fact remains that the final decision as to whether or not a large damage award should ever be awarded against a large corporation, insurance company or business is always in the hands of a jury made up of 12 good citizens of Mississippi. The decision is subject to review by the circuit judge who assures that it is not based on emotion and passion, and is grounded in fact. The decision is still subject to review by the Supreme Court of this state.

It is a shame that in this day and time that Musgrove, who is a lawyer himself, would attack the very system of which he is a part. Lawyers have done many great things for this state, and it is a shame that we have lost much of the respect that once we had. The fact remains that many times lawyers take cases that are not popular. The fact remains that many times lawyers take cases which they are not fully compensated for in an effort to help their clients. Many times lawyers take cases and lose and they took them on a contingency basis in an effort to assist a client who had no money to pay them with the exception of the potential award. Finally, civil damage suits have done much to improve the quality of our lives through the court system in assuring the safety of many through safer products, safer machinery, safer cars, safer medicine and safer practices in many professions.

In closing I might say that by the grace of God - and the efforts of trial lawyers who have worked to ensure that cars were safe with safety belts, air bags that properly work and designed to withstand dangerous crashes - that I survived a near fatal car wreck several years ago, and without the grace of the good Lord and the improvements in technology which have been forced upon the automobile industry not by their own good will and desire for the good of humanity but by the threat of lawsuits, that I live today.

I hope in the future politicians will stop trying to scare the business community by attacking lawyers and the court system that exists today for the benefit of all the people of Mississippi.

Gene Barton


Vegetarians linked to extreme views

"The vegetarians are coming, the vegetarians are coming." Have you noticed lately those slick TV ads with "beautiful people" (big name actors) concerning "inhumane" eating of meats? Give me a break!

Some questions for these militant vegetarians and "animal rights" extremists:

Is this drive to make the eating of meats inhumane only directed toward the USA? If no, please make a trip to Russia for example, and talk to common people who use meats for food and furs for clothing.

Should we here in the USA turn loose all cattle, pigs, chickens, etc., and let them just "do their thing"?

I'm sure you get the idea. What has happened to common sense?

I would suggest that some of these "beautiful people" get out of Hollywood and look at the real world. Further, thank God that we live in the USA, for God has been good to us.

Donald R. Fox


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