Lawyers Abusing the Lawsuit System Caught – Again

Civil justice system Class action abuse Louisiana Nevada

Tom Scott is the National Spokesperson for Sick of Lawsuits and Executive Director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

We’ve seen this time and time again: lawyers bending the law and abusing our lawsuit system in order to get rich. The latest example took place in the class action settlement stemming from the 2010 gulf oil spill.

In late February, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier issued sanctions against three personal injury lawyers who allegedly represent hundreds of victims impacted by the oil spill. The ruling barred Lionel Sutton III, Jonathan Andry and Glen Lerner from handling any damage claims from the spill.

Essentially, the trio is charged with operating an elaborate kickback scheme apparently designed to defraud the program. Andry and Lerner (a Las-Vegas based billboard lawyer) are accused of giving $40,000 to Lionel Sutton, a senior official in the Court Supervised Settlement program, in order to expedite their claims– and receive their lawyers’ fees faster. The parties are accused of hiding the money in a fake shell company and then subsequently lying about the scheme to investigators.

The specific details of the scheme are disturbing, but unfortunately this isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. By essentially bribing a settlement fund employee, Jonathan Andry and Glen Lerner perfectly illustrated how badly reform is needed.

For years, greedy personal injury lawyers have been abusing the lawsuit system to get rich. Our legal system is intended to benefit everyone, and lawsuits are supposed to make people whole, not rich. But greedy personal injury lawyers are increasingly corrupting this process so that it only benefits them.

This type of abuse is everywhere. Just look at all the abuse documented in asbestos litigation, or in California’s problem with Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits. Anywhere there is money to be made by abusing our lawsuit system, personal injury lawyers will bend or break the law to increase their profits.

Judge Barbier’s sanctions against Sutton, Andry and Lerner are just the latest example of why significant reform is needed to fix our lawsuit system.

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A project of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, Sick of Lawsuits is an online network of people who are interested in restoring integrity to our justice system by addressing issues surrounding legal reform. We encourage citizens to be empowered as legal consumers, take action against abuses, and help restore common sense and fairness to our legal system.


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