Tom Brady Is the Enemy of Personal Injury Victims

I hate the New England Patriots. I started rooting against them the minute they started getting good in 2001.  While I hate Tom Brady as a byproduct, I have to admit that — notwithstanding Bradymaybe Bridget Moyahan — he is pretty much the epitome of what we want our great athletes to be.

Adding to my hatred of the Patriots, I’ve sued — and settled – a malpractice case against the Pats in which they took a score of ridiculous positions, including the position that the claim should be arbitrated by the CBA, a claim they first made years after the case was filed.  Their arrogance over the course of the case was pretty much what you would expect.  The idea of settlement was completely ridiculous up until the point where it wasn’t.  But I long admired their winning and, it goes without saying, the breadth and scope of their evil.

Over the years, one theme I have revisited on my blogs is the distorted perception people have in regards to our civil justice system’s administration of personal injury cases.  In my mind, there are two main distorters – maybe a word I made up – that mislead people: large jury verdicts and how the civil justice system treats famous people.  Prime example: Tom Brady’s Deflategate lawsuit which I really think underscores some of these distortions.

The general public has a hard time distinguishing between how these famous people lawsuits proceed and the real world of personal injury cases.  The tort reformer recognize this difficultly and exploits the inability of the public to divorce this fantasy world from the real world of our clients who have been badly hurt or lost someone they desperately loved.

Let’s Pick the Judge and Jurisdiction We Like Best

The NFL denied Brady’s appeal and immediately filed suit in New York to get the court’s approval of the arbitration rule and to keep a single judge in Minnesota who is said to be “player friendly” from hearing the cases.  The working unquestioned assumption was that they could file in Minnesota — which has absolutely no connection to the claim — and hand pick the judge that would hear the case.

From this, the public concludes that I can file my typical wrongful death lawsuit anywhere in Maryland I want and — if I am a connected insider, I guess — I can pick the judge I want to hear the case.

In the real word that plaintiffs’ trial lawyers live in every day, nothing could be further from the truth.  If you do not have a legitimate connection to the jurisdiction you want to be in (Baltimore City or P.G. County in 98% of my cases), you are going to be booted out of that jurisdiction pretty quickly.

As it turns out, they did not draw Judge David Doty; instead drew Judge Richard Kyle, who kicked the case back to New York.  But that is the footnote at the end of the story.  The take home message for John Q. Public is that you pretty much pick the judge you want to hear the case.

How Fast Things Progress

My goodness the pace of the rulings in these lawsuits are made for television.  Setting aside the 7 months it took for the NFL to give a ruling, look at how fast the parties have moved and how quickly the civil justice system has processed this case.  The NFL filed suit immediately.  Tom Brady filed hours later in Minnesota.  A judge was immediately assigned.  The judge issues a ruling sending the case back to New York within just a few days.  In New York, the judge is immediately assigned and issues an order on the case within days; urging the parties to work it out and stop scorching the earth.

Now lets take at look at my world.  I have to wait until the victim reaches maximum medical improvement.  Then I have to finish collecting the medical records.  I may need to get an expert opinion before sending out the demand package.  Once the demand package is out the door – we wait for the insurance company.  If we have to file suit, we have to track down the defendant and get him served, and then wait 30-60 days for an answer.  The wheels of justice moves slow.

In fairness, this is not necessarily the court just catering to the rich and famous.  This is not a personal injury case.  This is an injunctive aspect of this case.  Brady needs immediate relief from the suspension or his claim will be extinguished.  But the public is not seeing this nuance.  Instead, they see a plaintiff who can chose whatever forum and judge he wants and can get justice in the near blink of an eye.   From this, they conclude that we need to bend the arc towards defendants with caps on damages, rigid statute of limitations (with a Bill Cosby exception, of course, because that is the only statute of limitations injustice in human history), and other legislation to frustrate a victim’s ability to be able to go before a jury and get a fair verdict if an injustice has been done to him.

In summary, I will say that we now have another reason to hate Tom Brady; besides having the wife, the looks, and the being the best quarterback of his generation.

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  • Steve Godsoe

    An innocent man and team are going to be hanged!! ESPN
    deserves part of the blame. The NFL leak of 11 of 12 underinflated footballs (not
    true) believed and broadcast by Chris Mortensen with one of them 10.1 psi (not
    true), started the ball rolling. This has never been corrected even though the
    NFL knew the “evidence” was all based on lies. Stephen A. Smith and lots of
    other ESPN media and jocks on NFL shows piled on and convicted Brady where
    there was no crime. There were lots of Patriot haters who loved to believe the
    worst. Wells report bungled and slanted everything incorrectly, and the
    American Enterprise Institute (and lots of physics professors) said there was
    no deflation (at the 95% level of confidence). The disparity in Colts vs
    Patriots footballs was caused by when they were tested in the 13.5 minute
    halftime in the warmer locker room. When officials incorrectly added air to
    Pats’ footballs at halftime, they were above the 13.5 legal limit after the
    game. Wells ignored this. All 22 balls dropped below the 12.5 psi in 48 degree
    wet weather because Mother Nature decries it is so, just like the apple does
    not fall up from the tree. The new “testing protocol” will confirm this in all
    cold weather games. Keep in mind that such testing has never happened before and
    the drop in psi confused all the science-ignorant NFL and jocks who assumed
    cheating. It prompted “you are in f****ng trouble” from Mike Kensil (NFL exec
    and former Jet – bias anyone? And you are hoping for fairness and justice?). The
    NFL has all the texts from Brady to the equipment guys and the other non-union
    Patriots (‘cause that’s the way texting works), and he gave the NFL all 28
    names who received the texts he completed on the disabled phone. He invited the
    NFL to retrieve these texts and tried to get them himself from the “cloud” and
    servers without success. The NFL declined to pursue this because the truth has
    no place in this “investigation”. Brady removed the phone from service after
    his lawyers and the NFL assured him that it would not be used, but the NFL office
    recently leaked that Brady “destroyed” his phone as another smokescreen to
    deflect from their ineptness. Now the
    federal court case will not be seeking the truth (that there was no actual
    crime), but will be looking at whether this NFL power play was unfair. As this
    article and the Pete Rose author state, clearly Goodell is the classical
    blustering bully and few are standing up to him. Enjoy the hanging…..

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