Jury Duty Thoughts

I am not about to complain about having to serve Jury Duty.  I am a citizen of this country, and that is a duty of citizenship.

And things are nicer now then when I first served.  Now it is “one day-one trial”.  I don’t know if that is a California guideline, but it means I only must show up one day, or through one trial.  So if I don’t get picked, I’m done.  Many years ago, I had to show up for an entire week to sit around and/or sit on a jury no matter what.

Another improvement is internet access.  I had to pay $12 and can’t use Remote Desktop or POP based email, but it is better than having my cord cut.

What blows my mind, however, is the waste in the system.  California has the largest amount of court trials and lawyers in the country.  I couldn’t tell if the judge that stood in front of us this morning to tell us these facts was proud, ashamed, or just tired of filing a work injury claim in Florida.  I was appalled.

My thoughts follow that (in a very, very, rough generality):

  • Everyone knows there are too many stupid lawsuits.
  • Everyone knows that in a lawsuit, the only people profiting is the lawyers.
  • Everyone knows there are too many lawyers.
  • Everyone has better things to do than be a juror.

To file a lawsuit, there is little risk, potentials of a big reward, and little to no penance for wasting peoples time.

Contrast that with going to the hospital.  Unless you have an IQ below 80, you don’t go to the hospital unless you are dying.  And people certainly don’t make up illnesses and walk into the emergency room unless they are seriously disturbed.  Why?  Because you would go BANKRUPT!  Unless you work for the State or County and have amazing insurance, a one night stay in a hospital could cost $5K with insurance.  Without…oh boy.

I am self employed and have my own insurance, and to have a baby in the next couple months is going to run me about $6,000 – $7,000 so I am thinking of getting a business lines of credit to better secure my business venture.

It would seem an easy solution. If you file a lawsuit and lose, you:

  1. Must pay for your lawyer and the defendants lawyer.  Not sure the average cost of a lawyer, but that would probably be around $400 an hour if each side only has one lawyer.
  2. You must pay for the hourly wage of the judge, the bailiff, and anyone else’s time you wasted.  Maybe another $100 an hour.
  3. If a jury must get involved, you must pay $20 an hour per juror.  That may cost about $400 an hour.
  4. Amendment:  The judge can decide to waive the fees if he feels the lawsuit was valid and there was no other option.  The judge can only apply the waiver to a certain amount of cases per year:  let’s say 10%.

There would be a similar penalty levied against defendants that should of settled out of court.

So, before you go about filing a lawsuit, you are looking to what amounts to going to the hospital.  I know I wouldn’t want to deal with paying about $900 an hour for anything fruitless.

And now that the Jury is getting a decent wage in relationship to minimum wage, some people would try to get on the jury rather than using the “self employed, racist, daddy is in the CIA, I am a terrorist, screaming baby” card to get out of it.

Not a bad rant for being this tired and grumpy .


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