OP-ED: Call Your State Senator and Leave Message to “VOTE NO ON SENATE BILL 2”

Protect Your Rights to Full Compensation for Injuries and C

 “Vote No on Senate Bill 2”

Your right to a trial by jury of your peers is under siege.

I encourage every citizen to contact their Kentucky State Senator and ask them to “Vote No on Senate Bill 2”.

Please do so quickly since there may be a vote this Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.

How:

Call toll free 1-800-372-7181; say you wish to leave a message for your Senator. To make sure the message gets to the right person, you will be asked your name, your address, and then your message.

The Message: “Vote No on Senate Bill 2”

When: Now.

What: Senate Bill 2 is an attempt to change the Constitution to our the state legislature to limit your right to full compensation for harms and losses you, a loved one, or a neighbor would be asking of a jury when injured by the carelessness of another. This includes wrongful death, car collisions, medical negligence, and legal negligence among other things.

The proposal would change our Kentucky Constitution to give the Legislature the right to set a cap for the maximum amount you could receive from a jury in your county. For example, if a parent is killed in a terrible collision, then the amounts that would go to the children could be limited by the state and not the jury regardless of the amount your children would otherwise be entitled to under the law as determined by a jury.

For example, if you were crippled and confined to your home and never work again, then the legislature could set a limit on your lost income in the future, your pain and suffering you have endured and will endure for the rest of your life, your future requirements for medical attention and rehabilitation. All of which you will need to get your life somewhat closer to what it was before you were harmed.

The real question is who do you trust better to do the right thing for you, your family and friends? People who live in the community or a group of representatives who have little accountability to you and who are subjected to enormous pressure and lobbying from those interested in capping the amount they would otherwise be obligated to pay. These would be the same people who caused and still cannot fix our pension crisis.

Why:

Your right to a jury trial is very, very important. It’s in our federal and state constitutions. Your local jury is the conscience or YOUR community. They are the ones who will hear the case, understand the injuries, and see costs you will require to compensate you. It is that simple.

More importantly, the jury system is not broken and is working fine and the change will not benefit you at all but rather will benefit those who have injured someone carelessly by allowing them to escape their responsibility and their financial obligation by paying less than you might otherwise be entitled.

Remember the law now is that you have a right to be made whole and be put as close to where you were before you were hurt. You may have pain, medical expenses, rehabilitation therapy, vocational training and more.

It is very important to know that these potential caps will hurt those who will need it more and is exorbitantly unfair.

The caps should not affect minor cases or injury recoveries. But, they would hurt those who have lost a family member or have received devastating and crippling injuries since the wrongdoer and their insurance would get a free pass and put the money in their own pockets.

I am not saying the legislature would intentionally hurt you by placing caps, but the potential for harm by those in Frankfort is too great for me to want them having any more control over my life at a time when I needed help the most.

Remember if you do not get the full amount you are entitled to, then you will need to look somewhere for help. Family and friends; government aid; or charity. This is demeaning and not fair to you or your family. And requiring other taxpayers and charities to pick up a tab for the negligent harm caused by another is also terribly wrong.

Trust me, there are already plenty enough cases and injuries out there where the wrongdoer has no money or insurance to make it right. We really should not be adding the problem to allow folks a free ride on their wrongdoing.

Here is a link to the law:

“Are you in favor of permitting the General Assembly to: (1) Place limits on the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death; (2) Place limits on the amount to be recovered for injuries to person or property; and (3) Create statutes of limitations or statutes of repose as to how long after the incident a law suit may be commenced?”

If the state can make such a mess of government pensions and other matters then who would want them deciding what you will need as determined by a jury who will have heard the evidence, heard from you and heard from the doctors

Trust a jury to do the right thing is what I want. The jury is in the absolute best position to know.

This is not the wild wild west. In a jury trial, there is much investigation. At trial there will be a judge making everyone follow the law with the wrongdoer represented by a lawyer who will fight tooth and nail to see that his client pays as little as possible. And the jurors will take an oath to follow the law.

VOTE NO ON SENATE BILL 2.

Elections: Jefferson County Attorney Race; from Courier Journal “O’Connell and Faulkner spar in County Attorney debate”

Story from the Courier Journal.

O’Connell and Faulkner spar in County Attorney debate

Patrick T. Sullivan, The Courier-Journal

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell and democratic challenger Karen Faulkner sparred on a variety of issues, including experience, assistant county attorneys running for judge and juvenile justice reform, as part of the Louisville Bar Association’s democratic nominee debate Friday. O’Connell used the debate to pounce on Faulkner’s inexperience as an attorney, while Faulkner countered with claims of unethical behavior within his office. “This was a great opportunity for folks to attend and make their own judgments,” O’Connell said.

* * *

When asked by Sonka about her inexperience as an attorney, Faulkner touted her time as both a public defender and a private practice attorney. Faulker, who is an actress in addition to being a defense lawyer in private practice, was admitted to the bar in 2005.

* * *

“His experience is the wrong kind of experience,” Faulkner said of O’Connell, citing what she claimed to be questionable practices within his office.

* * *

Faulkner accused him of trying to stack the coming judicial races with his assistants and noted they are obligated to contribute to his campaign. O’Connell shook off the claims, which were addressed later in questions, and touted his experience.

* * *

Sonka asked both candidates about O’Connell’s ruling that allows his assistants to run for judge while maintaining their position.

O’Connell told the audience of more than 100 people that allowing his assistants to run for judge deepens the candidate pool and provides young attorneys with more opportunities.

Faulkner said the practice creates an unethical atmosphere in courtrooms. “County attorneys are sitting, handling cases in courtroom where they’ll be a judge,” she said. “Ethical conflicts will arise.”

When asked about assistants contributing to his campaign, O’Connell said it is a necessary measure. “This is a political office,” he said. “Politics require money.”

Faulkner told the audience that she would never demand her staff contribute to her campaign.

Click on the entire story (if still available on line at the Courier Journal).

Elections: Michael O’Connell and Karen Faulkner, Candidates for Jefferson County Attorney, will debate at the LBA on March 28

OconnelandFaulkner

Elections tend to favor the incumbent in any office.  And greatly favor the Jefferson County attorney who has so many tools at his disposal just to keep his name in the news that it is very, very disturbing.  But, that’s politics.

Well, the Jefferson County Attorney election is a very important election this year as the incumbent seems to be in the news with accusations flying that he is violating the independence of the courts, using his attorneys as campaign contributors for job security, and even attempting to vicariously benefit from a court-packing scheme by allowing his attorneys to run for judicial office.  The most damaging news might just be the Kentucky Bar Association’s reprimand issued against Michael O’Connell for violating the ethics required of lawyers.  

Well, O’Connell is being challenged by Karen Faulkner, and there is a debate coming up where they will be side by side.  Age and years in office should favor the old war horse O’Connell, especially since he has been weathering the bad news stories from the Courier-Journal with no loss in his aggressiveness to promote his own agenda.

If you are interested in how to the two pair up, there is a debate sponsored by the Louisville Bar Association on March 28, 2014.  Here is the bar associations post.  Note that Joe Sonka the moderator, and if you want your question asked and answered then see the info below.

The LBA’s Public Interest Section will be hosting a debate on March 28 for the Democratic nominees for Jefferson County Attorney, Mike O’Connell and Karen Faulkner.

Joe Sonka, debate moderator and LEO news editor, will begin his questions at noon at the Louisville Bar Center.

Questions for the candidates may be submitted to Public Interest Section Chair Soha Saiyed at ssaiyed@laslou.org through 5 p.m. on Monday, March 24.

The debate is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested. Lunch will be provided with advanced registration. To RSVP, CLICK HERE or contact Lisa Anspach at lanspach@loubar.org or (502) 583-5314. 

 

For more information on Karen Faulkner you can go to Karen Faulkner’s web site – Faulkner for Jefferson County Attorney.

I was unable to locate O’Connell’s campaign site using a simple Google(tm) search using “michael o’connell web site for county attorney”, but his free web site as the County Attorney can be found here.