J Thomas on May 14, 2011, 07:41:37 pm
The short, cynical answer is "deep pockets." If a WalMart employ is negligent and someone gets hurt, the employee is the morally responsible person, but he is slim pickings. He works at WalMart for Pete's sake. So even though WalMart provided adequate training, equipment and careful employee selection--in short did nothing wrong--they get sued. Not because they were at fault, but because they are a juicy victim whom juries can rob to pay off the little old lady whom they feel sorry for. It is not fair, but that is the way it works under the current systems.

At first sight that looks morally wrong.

How about this -- The little old lady trusted WalMart. WalMart trusted the slim-pickings employee. So let the little old lady get paid by WalMart who abused her trust, and let WalMart recover what it can from the employ who abused WalMart's trust. Is that kind of fair?

Not when the little old lady gets awarded a zillion dollars, as is apt to happen.  Consider for example, the hot coffee lawsuit, the asbestos lawsuits, the sudden acceleration lawsuits, and so on and so forth.

Sure. We have X accidents where the victims don't even try to sue, Y accidents where they lose quickly, Z accidents where they settle for a pittance, A accidents where it goes to court and they run out of resources before it gets settled, B accidents where the jury wrongly decides in favor of the big guys, and C accidents where the rewards assigned after usually years of grueling litigation is reasonable. Then we get some famous cases where the victims get too much.

I can't put numbers on X, Y Z, A, B, or C. Can you?

You're only counting the hits.

But put aside our current currupt unjust system. If there was a good arbitration system, should arbitrators find some way to assign reasonable damage payment, or should there be some system in place to prevent any damage payment?

Like, for example, say you are on Ceres and you pay for sewer service. And in the contract, there's a line that goes "It may happen that your sewer backs up and fills your entire living area with sewage to ceiling height within as little as 2 minutes. Vendor accepts no liability in this case, emptor accepts all liability in case the sewage contaminates property of others". And this phrase is in the contract for each competing sewer service you contact. Should this announcement be enough to remove all liability from sewage contractors in that case?

Sandy Sandfort says all you need to do to avoid all liability, is announce that you are not liable. Or maybe I have misunderstood him.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 07:43:12 pm by J Thomas »

SandySandfort on May 14, 2011, 08:17:32 pm
Like, for example, say you are on Ceres and you pay for sewer service. And in the contract, there's a line that goes "It may happen that your sewer backs up and fills your entire living area with sewage to ceiling height within as little as 2 minutes. Vendor accepts no liability in this case, emptor accepts all liability in case the sewage contaminates property of others". And this phrase is in the contract for each competing sewer service you contact. Should this announcement be enough to remove all liability from sewage contractors in that case?

Woo hoo! I am going into the sewage business and not make that exception. In fact my contract will say, "If due to negligence on the part of Sandy Sewer, your sewer backs up and fills your entire living area with sewage to ceiling height, we will pay the cost of all direct and consequential damages plus a lump sum settlement of 40,000 grams of gold." Then I would make damned sure everyone on Ceres was made aware of the disclaimer in the competition's contract and the lack of it in mine. I will make millions.

So I guess your "this phrase is in the contract for each competing sewer service..." special pleading, becomes self-negating.

Sandy Sandfort says all you need to do to avoid all liability, is announce that you are not liable. Or maybe I have misunderstood him.

You misunderstood me. I never said that.

quadibloc on May 14, 2011, 08:18:10 pm
Like, for example, say you are on Ceres and you pay for sewer service. And in the contract, there's a line that goes "It may happen that your sewer backs up and fills your entire living area with sewage to ceiling height within as little as 2 minutes. Vendor accepts no liability in this case, emptor accepts all liability in case the sewage contaminates property of others". And this phrase is in the contract for each competing sewer service you contact. Should this announcement be enough to remove all liability from sewage contractors in that case?
And this is hardly a frivolous example.

If you think it is, look at the agreements which we have to make with any telephone company, or any bank, we might choose to patronize.

Without the heavy hand of government squeezing out some level of rights for the consumer, the little consumer would be in a hopeless situation.

I presume, though, that the AnCap argument would be that it was the heavy hand of government in the first place that meant that there is only one telephone company and one Cable TV company - and, hence, two high-speed Internet providers - in almost every city or town across the land - and so on and so forth. People who have personal experience of unfettered capitalists being rapacious, and see government directly fettering them, are unlikely to place much faith in the indirect effects of AnCap in turning free enterprise into a humanized system as being more effective than the power of direct government intervention at the behest of the voters, which would be lost.

Instead, the desired reform would be to abolish "public choice economics" by making it impossible for candidates to accept corporate campaign contributions or be influenced by lobbyists.

If it wasn't for the Electoral College, in my pessimistic view of human nature, America would have gone Red long ago - and, of course, regretted it.

J Thomas on May 14, 2011, 08:28:31 pm
Like, for example, say you are on Ceres and you pay for sewer service. And in the contract, there's a line that goes "It may happen that your sewer backs up and fills your entire living area with sewage to ceiling height within as little as 2 minutes. Vendor accepts no liability in this case, emptor accepts all liability in case the sewage contaminates property of others". And this phrase is in the contract for each competing sewer service you contact. Should this announcement be enough to remove all liability from sewage contractors in that case?

Woo hoo! I am going into the sewage business and not make that exception. In fact my contract will say, "If due to negligence on the part of Sandy Sewer, your sewer backs up and fills your entire living area with sewage to ceiling height, we will pay the cost of all direct and consequential damages plus a lump sum settlement of 40,000 grams of gold." Then I would make damned sure everyone on Ceres was made aware of the disclaimer in the competition's contract and the lack of it in mine. I will make millions.

So I guess your "this phrase is in the contract for each competing sewer service..." special pleading, becomes self-negating.

So your stand is that the way we should determine limits of liability is by the free market? People get the liability they are willing to pay for?

Quote
Sandy Sandfort says all you need to do to avoid all liability, is announce that you are not liable. Or maybe I have misunderstood him.

You misunderstood me. I never said that.

Great! What did you say instead?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 08:31:09 pm by J Thomas »

SandySandfort on May 14, 2011, 09:04:43 pm
So your stand is that the way we should determine limits of liability is by the free market? People get the liability they are willing to pay for?

No. There are different kinds of liability. Some you cannot skinny out of others could be determined by the market.

Quote
Sandy Sandfort says all you need to do to avoid all liability, is announce that you are not liable. Or maybe I have misunderstood him.

You misunderstood me. I never said that.

Great! What did you say instead?

I have no idea what you keyed off on. You are the one claiming I said something. I don't have a clue what you read that would cause you to make such a claim. Just search through all the posts for the phrase, "avoid all liability." If you don't find it, I didn't say.

sam on May 14, 2011, 09:13:55 pm
At first sight that looks morally wrong.

How about this -- The little old lady trusted WalMart. WalMart trusted the slim-pickings employee. So let the little old lady get paid by WalMart who abused her trust, and let WalMart recover what it can from the employ who abused WalMart's trust. Is that kind of fair?

Not when the little old lady gets awarded a zillion dollars, as is apt to happen.  Consider for example, the hot coffee lawsuit, the asbestos lawsuits, the sudden acceleration lawsuits, and so on and so forth.

Sure. We have X accidents where the victims don't even try to sue, Y accidents where they lose quickly, Z accidents where they settle for a pittance, A accidents where it goes to court and they run out of resources before it gets settled, B accidents where the jury wrongly decides in favor of the big guys, and C accidents where the rewards assigned after usually years of grueling litigation is reasonable. Then we get some famous cases where the victims get too much.

Observe all the warning labels on common place items - a clear indication of inordinate litigation that is excessively and dangerously successful.

I observe that infamous bogus cases largely wiped out the private plane industry, the silicone industry, did very great damage to the automobile industry, and that one bogus hot coffee incident results in everyone getting lukewarm coffee.

Richard Epstein in "Simple rules for a complex world" reviews the constraints that businesses operate under because of the enormous costs inflicted by bogus lawsuits with vast damages imposed by incompetent and corrupt judges..  He has a long, long, long, long list.  He proposes various solutions, none of which seem very likely to work to me in any society where you cannot just go to war and shoot corrupt judges and shyster lawyers should the cost of paying them off become intolerable and inordinate.

I can't put numbers on X, Y Z, A, B, or C. Can you?

From the observed conduct of businesses, it is perfectly clear that the cases where lawyers and fake victims get far too much vastly outweigh X, Y, Z, A, B, and C.

J Thomas on May 14, 2011, 10:32:02 pm
At first sight that looks morally wrong.

How about this -- The little old lady trusted WalMart. WalMart trusted the slim-pickings employee. So let the little old lady get paid by WalMart who abused her trust, and let WalMart recover what it can from the employ who abused WalMart's trust. Is that kind of fair?

Not when the little old lady gets awarded a zillion dollars, as is apt to happen.  Consider for example, the hot coffee lawsuit, the asbestos lawsuits, the sudden acceleration lawsuits, and so on and so forth.

Sure. We have X accidents where the victims don't even try to sue, Y accidents where they lose quickly, Z accidents where they settle for a pittance, A accidents where it goes to court and they run out of resources before it gets settled, B accidents where the jury wrongly decides in favor of the big guys, and C accidents where the rewards assigned after usually years of grueling litigation is reasonable. Then we get some famous cases where the victims get too much.

Observe all the warning labels on common place items - a clear indication of inordinate litigation that is excessively and dangerously successful.

It's no such thing. Media gets excited about a few spectacular cases. Businessmen get afraid something like that could happen to them. They contact their own legal departments or bring in legal consultants. The consultants have to tell them something to justify their fees, and possibly give them some ridiculous bullshit. Everybody thinks it's stupid, but they say "I know it's ridiculous but Legal says we have to do it" and they do.

This says nothing about how often juries actually award excessive damages.

Quote
I can't put numbers on X, Y Z, A, B, or C. Can you?

From the observed conduct of businesses, it is perfectly clear that the cases where lawyers and fake victims get far too much vastly outweigh X, Y, Z, A, B, and C.

You can't put a number on it. You can point to a few media events where victims got paid too much. How many cases are there where victims got paid too little? You have no evidence whatsoever, you just bluster about what you do not know because that's where your own prejudice is.

Just suppose for a moment that a whole lot of victims do not get the reparations they need, but a few get way too much. That says the legal system is working badly.

Now suppose that many victims get barely enough and a few get way too much. That also says the legal system is working badly.

Your solution appears to be to find a way to change the laws so that victims get nothing. I don't think that's appropriate, but I agree that the system works badly.

J Thomas on May 14, 2011, 10:33:51 pm
So your stand is that the way we should determine limits of liability is by the free market? People get the liability they are willing to pay for?

No. There are different kinds of liability. Some you cannot skinny out of others could be determined by the market.

Quote
Sandy Sandfort says all you need to do to avoid all liability, is announce that you are not liable. Or maybe I have misunderstood him.

You misunderstood me. I never said that.

Great! What did you say instead?

I have no idea what you keyed off on. You are the one claiming I said something. I don't have a clue what you read that would cause you to make such a claim. Just search through all the posts for the phrase, "avoid all liability." If you don't find it, I didn't say.

I think I will settle for agreeing that I did not understand what you said about liability and I still do not understand, and maybe sometime you'll say something that will clear it up.

sam on May 15, 2011, 12:37:04 am
From the observed conduct of businesses, it is perfectly clear that the cases where lawyers and fake victims get far too much vastly outweigh X, Y, Z, A, B, and C.

You can't put a number on it.

I can put a relative magnitude on it - that an enormous amount of effort and  ingenuity is applied to avoid baseless lawsuits, therefore baseless lawsuits far outweigh legitimate lawsuits in their costs to legitimate business.

sam on May 15, 2011, 12:38:38 am
Like, for example, say you are on Ceres and you pay for sewer service. And in the contract, there's a line that goes "It may happen that your sewer backs up and fills your entire living area with sewage to ceiling height within as little as 2 minutes. Vendor accepts no liability in this case, emptor accepts all liability in case the sewage contaminates property of others". And this phrase is in the contract for each competing sewer service you contact. Should this announcement be enough to remove all liability from sewage contractors in that case?

Sure, and it should also be enough to encourage you to get into the sewage business, and offer customers a better contract.

sam on May 15, 2011, 04:24:32 am
If you think it is, look at the agreements which we have to make with any telephone company, or any bank, we might choose to patronize.

Banks, and last mile telephone companies, are to a large extent branches of the state, thus do not compete.  The state does not permit me to set up an alternate bank with different rules.

Without the heavy hand of government squeezing out some level of rights for the consumer, the little consumer would be in a hopeless situation.

Yet oddly, we lack rights when dealing with precisely those businesses that are most directly under the heavy hand of government.  Look at what businesses you chose as examples.

J Thomas on May 15, 2011, 07:38:23 am
From the observed conduct of businesses, it is perfectly clear that the cases where lawyers and fake victims get far too much vastly outweigh X, Y, Z, A, B, and C.

You can't put a number on it.

I can put a relative magnitude on it - that an enormous amount of effort and  ingenuity is applied to avoid baseless lawsuits, therefore baseless lawsuits far outweigh legitimate lawsuits in their costs to legitimate business.

That is bogus reasoning. I'll prove it:

An enormous amount of effort and ingenuity has been put into AGW. Therefore AGW is real.

If one argument is correct, why not the other?

mellyrn on May 15, 2011, 09:47:53 am
Quote
That is bogus reasoning. I'll prove it:

An enormous amount of effort and ingenuity has been put into AGW. Therefore AGW is real.

If one argument is correct, why not the other?

Not analogous.  To be analogous to sam's claim, write:

"An enormous amount of effort and ingenuity has been put into preventing AGW.  Therefore AGW is perceived as a threat."

Or, "An enormous amount of effort and ingenuity has been put into preventing AGW.  Therefore the fear of AGW is an enormous cost to legitimate business."

Baseless lawsuits are also perceived as a threat.  The extent of the effort to ward off baseless lawsuits argues more for the size of the perception than the size of the reality, but that doesn't make baseless lawsuits any less a very real cost to legitimate business.

Legitimate lawsuits are just a matter of whether or not you do good business, thus a basic or inherent cost of business.  It's the "oh dear you should have protected me from myself" ones that far outweigh the legitimate ones in cost.  Where your safety manuals have to be written to include "Do not attempt to stop cutting chain with hand" kind of folderol.

J Thomas on May 15, 2011, 10:19:33 am
Quote
That is bogus reasoning. I'll prove it:

An enormous amount of effort and ingenuity has been put into AGW. Therefore AGW is real.

If one argument is correct, why not the other?

Not analogous.  To be analogous to sam's claim, write:

"An enormous amount of effort and ingenuity has been put into preventing AGW.  Therefore AGW is perceived as a threat."

Or, "An enormous amount of effort and ingenuity has been put into preventing AGW.  Therefore the fear of AGW is an enormous cost to legitimate business."

Baseless lawsuits are also perceived as a threat.  The extent of the effort to ward off baseless lawsuits argues more for the size of the perception than the size of the reality, but that doesn't make baseless lawsuits any less a very real cost to legitimate business.

OK! That's pretty much what I was saying. ;) I didn't think Sam was making that argument but it's a good one.

I think Sam was saying that baseless lawsuits that cost businesses big bucks far outweigh legitimate complaints that go unpaid.

I don't think he was saying "Businesses who have been wrongly stampeded into making stupid decisions hoping to prevent successful baseless lawsuits that are vanishingly rare, are stupidly spending a whole lot of money to prevent things that would mostly not happen anyway".

But I could be wrong, he'll say what he meant.

Quote
Legitimate lawsuits are just a matter of whether or not you do good business, thus a basic or inherent cost of business.  It's the "oh dear you should have protected me from myself" ones that far outweigh the legitimate ones in cost.  Where your safety manuals have to be written to include "Do not attempt to stop cutting chain with hand" kind of folderol.

Do you have an example where someone was injured with a chainsaw and sued the manufacturer, and he lost because the manual included "do not attempt to stop cutting chain with hand"?

This looks to me like a few unscrupulous lawyers getting "victims" to sue for far more than they can hope to get, and rarely they win and get a whole lot of attention. And then a whole lot of unscrupulous lawyers hire out their services in response. "You can't avoid bogus lawsuits without my advice! I will tell you what to do!"

So, what would be different with an AnCap system, if nothing else was different except that it was AnCap arbitration?

You are the owner of a fleet of spaceships. Due to a freak accident, a passenger has his legs and testicles burned off, but he survives. The legs can be replaced at great expense but the testicles cannot, and he will always have the memory of having his testicles burned away. You and he agree on arbitration done by Sam Weasley. Sam is appalled at the victim's losses and awards him 60% ownership of your fleet, and suggests that he look for ways to prevent such accidents because next time he's likely to lose a big share of his fleet to another victim.

You tell everybody what Weasley did. Next week, somebody chokes on her sixth tequila and nearly drowns. She sues the bar on the grounds that they knew her coordination was shot and they should have stopped selling to her before she nearly killed herself. She suggests the arbitrator should be Sam Weasley and the bar owner laughs in her face.

Sam Weasley is out of the arbitration business because people do not believe he is a credible arbitrator.

Problem solved, for everybody except you.

Is this an adequate solution? Do we need more than this to handle the problem of bogus lawsuits?

sam on May 15, 2011, 04:08:57 pm
From the observed conduct of businesses, it is perfectly clear that the cases where lawyers and fake victims get far too much vastly outweigh X, Y, Z, A, B, and C.

You can't put a number on it.

I can put a relative magnitude on it - that an enormous amount of effort and  ingenuity is applied to avoid baseless lawsuits, therefore baseless lawsuits far outweigh legitimate lawsuits in their costs to legitimate business.

That is bogus reasoning. I'll prove it:

An enormous amount of effort and ingenuity has been put into AGW. Therefore AGW is real.

What is real is that if people persuade other people that AGW is real, a lot of money and power gets transferred from group A to group B.  The same thing is real about baseless lawsuits.


 

anything