To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. – George Washington, First Annual Address to Congress, 1790
Now that I’ve told you about the Skush-O’Briens— and hinted at the horrors they would bring down upon my head—I’m taking a break from my specific lawsuit to get back to the early stages of any lawsuit, maybe yours:
In the beginning, you were born. Your adoring god-like parents enraged and terrified you on a daily basis, yet it’s unlikely you remember any substantial wrong for which you as an adult will choose to sue them. Sure, they were hooked on whatever cockamamie feeding-and-changing-and-putting-you-to-sleep rituals that prevailed during their tenure as baby parents, but most likely they made sure you weren’t getting lead poisoning from gnawing on toys made in China.
And if you had slightly older, slightly fratricidal siblings (slightly older siblings are always fratricidal), your parents certainly assured your safety within the family bosom, at least until you were strong enough to whack ‘em back.
So your parents are probably off the litigation hook.
Life was good, wasn’t it? Your crib, your succulent mammary glands, your mashed peas, your colorful mobiles dancing around your face.
Shortly thereafter, life became more complicated. Even as you developed your potential for success as a sentient adult, your potential for getting entwined in the legal system developed simultaneously.
To repeat what I’ve pointed out previously: the older you get – and we do get older than we used to (probably why there’s now a legal speciality called Elder Law)–the more likely it is you’ll find yourself treated unjustly by someone other than your murderous sibling. We’ve got this long long life span during which any of us might become the victim or hero of tortious actions.
(Which reminds me: during a big press conference the day our law firm filed a major civil rights/police brutality lawsuit, I was confronted by a well-known local TV reporter covering the conference. She’d been skimming through the actual complaint and said snidely, “I found a typo.” This got me upset; I’d been the proofreader and had finalized the document. “Where?” I said, in a low-grade panic. She gave me the page number and said, “‘Tortious?’ You mean ‘torturous,’ don’t you.”
I did not take a snarky tone when I explained so kindly that “tortious” was the adjective for the legal concept of “tort,” i.e., a wrong.)
So here’s a revolutionary idea: prepare for a possible lawsuit long before one hits you on the head. In subsequent posts, I will tell you how.