Apr. 30th, 2011

This is the true story of something that happened a couple of years ago. It's neither funny nor uplifting, so if you came here for that, you might want to skip today.

My lovely and wonderful wife is an attorney. She herself has always done a lot of criminal practice, having worked in a district attorney's office years ago, but for the last several years she's been the second attorney in a personal injury and product liability firm. You go hire them if you've been injured for any reason, regardless of whether you are primarily responsible for your own injury, should you want to sue somebody for it.

There are often cases that my wife tells me about that, on the surface, sound like bullshit. If you're a drunk bastard and you go get drunk at a restaurant, go into their restroom, take a leak at the urinal, slip in your own urine, fall to the floor, and sustain hazily described injuries that you do not pay a doctor to remedy, then it is my belief that you should not be able to sue the restaurant. My wife does her best not to take cases such as this one. But sometimes her boss takes these cases for her, and then she has to argue that the urine was already there, and the restaurant knew about it, and should have mopped it up before somebody got hurt, blah blah blah. These cases do not make my wife feel good about her job, although in this case she did successfully extract some money for her client, who nevertheless called her incompetent because she did not get him millions of dollars. Sometimes you can't win.

There are other cases that are important and necessary, and while these are sometimes difficult, they make my wife feel like she's doing something worth doing. One class of case that is unfortunately on the rise is infant cribs that, owing to some flaw in construction or assembly, malfunction and a small child is injured or killed. Bonnie's law firm received one such case in Tennessee where a ten month old baby slid down into a gap between her crib's parts and suffocated. This is a tragic situation, but a case where product liability lawyers can do some good in the world. Without people like my wife's boss getting on the news and screaming about murderous crib manufacturers, the companies that make such products would never have any incentive to make their cribs safe. They'd just quietly pay off the sad families who lost their children, and keep on churning out dangerous stuff.

My wife's firm is small and operates on a small margin. There are theoretically moving companies that could go out to Tennessee, take possession of a crib, pack it carefully and bring it back to Houston so it could be examined by professional witnesses and used as evidence in trial. These theoretical companies would charge an arm and a leg. My wife and her boss worked out an alternative arrangement. My wife and I, on the company dime, would fly out to North Carolina to visit family, rent a U-Haul, drive to Tennessee, pick up the crib and haul it the 30-odd hours back to Texas.

This is what we did.

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