Grocery Store Gives Picture Of Food To Starving Family
That is not a real headline. No grocery store would ever do that. But there are lawyers boasting about giving their clients pieces of paper that have really zero value. This blog post explains unenforceable judgments and how lawyers use them to advertise.
Next time you see a headline or announcement do your research. Is the client getting money (which is the only thing that really matters) OR is the lawyer using a judgment to advertise? If the ladder maybe think about what type of lawyer you are dealing with.
Defendant Absent From Trial
A few weeks ago my mom sent me an article that read “40 Million Awarded” to woman with mold injury. At first blush that is a really big number. Turns out the defendant did not show up to trial. The injury lawyer was shooting on a goal with no goalie. Over and over and over.
Will The Client Get Money
The problem is that the client will more likely than not never see that money. The defendant is “judgment proof.” This means they do not have any money. You can’t squeeze blood out of a rock.
This does not prevent the lawyer who took up the client’s time from contacting the local news and grabbing a headline. It is good for the lawyer and the reporter but is it good for the client?
It is my opinion that boasting about beating a defendant that did not show up to trial is a gimmick at the expense of a client.
I receive calls from injured persons that were hit by uninsured drivers. Some of them are exceptionally hurt. Suing the uninsured driver is pretty easy. I draw up a lawsuit and file it at the courthouse. Inevitably the uninsured driver will not respond to the lawsuit and I can ask a judge for a default judgment. My turn to take shots on goal without a goalie. The default judgement my client is “awarded” is a worthless piece of paper unless I can enforce it.
I have never wanted to be a lawyer that has to explain to a client 1) you were awarded a large sum of money; 2) no you can’t get the money 3) I wasted your time in doing all of this; 4) go ahead and hire a garnishment lawyer to try to enforce this settlement if you want. All the time knowing wage garnishment is economically unfeasible.
There is a flip side to this. It may benefit the client from an emotional standpoint to “win” at trial. I will also acknowledge that some judgments are enforceable. Like when an orthopedic surgeon or CEO with assets is the defendant.
If you are another lawyer reading this email me at email@example.com if I’m missing anything.
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