The new targets or the new Deep Pockets are those who have saved up some money for retirement, those who operate a successful business, and those who own a home or have some rental property with any equity. This number is a lot less now than it used to be. Real estate and stock markets have crashed. Many have lost their jobs and their businesses. Those who have survived are vulnerable because their savings are now even more valuable to them. The estimates are that there are more than 100 million adults in the population, and 30 million have mutual funds, savings, and a few even have some equity in their home. That’s 30 million people with something valuable to lose.
The Finemans of the world don’t get sued, and they don’t have to spend their time, energy, and money defending a case. They don’t get sued because they don’t have any money or anything worth taking. Aunt Ellen, who bought him the car as a gift, got sued because she had some money. She was the one who lost her home and all of her savings because she was the Deep Pocket. A lawyer’s job is to tie a party who has some money into a case so that he will get paid. A successful lawyer is one who can create a clever new theory of liability so that someone with money or insurance will be found legally responsible. Even if our common sense tells us that this Deep Pocket had nothing whatsoever to do with the injury, a judge or jury or court of appeals will decide a case based upon their own view of what is fair and rational.
A doctor prescribed antihistamines for a patient with an allergy. The patient ignored the warning label about driving while taking the medication and caused a serious auto accident. The patient had little insurance and few assets, so the doctor was sued. The plaintiff’s lawyer successfully argued that the doctor should have known that the patient might drive his car while on the medication. The jury found the doctor liable for $6.2 million in compensatory damages. The doctor’s malpractice insurance didn’t pay a nickel of the claim since the policy only covered claims by a patient—not those injured by a patient.
Was the doctor really at fault here? He lost everything he owned, and he didn’t do anything wrong. The mistake he made was not realizing that as a physician, and as someone who had a home and some savings, he was an inviting and vulnerable target for a lawsuit.
Down load pdf of the entire book – Coming next: Oral Contracts: An Abyss For Deep Pockets