See You in Court: How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation

See You in Court: How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation

by Thomas Geoghegan


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While just about everyone agrees that we’ve become a lawsuit nation, is it really class actions by a coterie of private trial lawyers whose enormous settlements and, in Karl Rove’s words, “junk lawsuits” that are subverting democracy? Thomas Geoghegan, whom Time called “a modern-day Quixote of the legal profession,” thinks not.

In this impassioned rebuttal to Philip K. Howard’s The Death of Common Sense, Geoghegan deftly shows how conservatives’ dismantling of America’s postwar legal system opened the floodgates of litigation. Most often people sue, he argues, because of what they have lost—contract rights, pensions, health insurance, decent medical care, and strong unions. Without these methods of preempting and resolving disputes, Americans who face injury, bankruptcy, discrimination, or injustice are left with no recourse but the lawsuit.

Both smart and provocative, See You in Court shows why the right is wrong about the source of our lawsuit culture and points the way back to civil society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595584106
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 01/05/2009
Pages: 246
Product dimensions: 5.38(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Thomas Geoghegan is a practicing attorney and the author of several books, including In America’s Court: How a Civil Lawyer Who Likes to Settle Stumbled into a Criminal Trial, the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Which Side Are You On?: Trying to Be for Labor When It’s Flat on Its Back, See You in Court: How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation, and Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life, all published by The New Press. He has written for The Nation, the New York Times, and Harper’s. He lives in Chicago.

Table of Contents

Prologue: A Warning at the Red Mass     1
Do We Have Too Much Democracy?     9
From Contract to Tort: How We Experience the Rule of Law at Work     25
From the Law of Trusts to the Collection Courts: How Charities Came to Prey on Beneficiaries     40
From Administrative Law to No Law: The Rise of the Whistle-Blower and the Trial Lawyer     58
The Deregulation of Public Space: Or, the End of Equity     71
The War on Reason, Uniformity, and Predictability in the Law: Why the Right Hates Class Action     81
Why Litigation Costs Are Going Up     93
How Attacking Litigation Is Increasing Litigation     104
How We Went to Court as Creditors and Ended Up as Debtors     116
Do You Really Want to See a Jury?     132
But Would You Rather Get a Judge?     144
So What Is Our Judicial Philosophy?     164
Living in the Fourth Republic     187
The Case Against Civilization     216
The Plan     225
Epilogue     243

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