Stretching dollars and honoring our family traditions were a necessity for our small Polish American conclave. Frugality was mandatory and rarely open to criticism or consternation. So, when I see purposeful greed and misuse of taxpayer’s cash, my hide really gets chafed. I get my hackles up when I hear about unscrupulous law firms dipping their snouts in a government trough constructed to compensate average Americans, especially veterans of military service, set aside to pay court judgments and compromise settlements of lawsuits against the government. My blood begins to boil. Enter the "judgment fund."
After seeing and hearing countless law firms announce over the decades that they had organized their resources and expertise to protect and rescue average citizens from the scourge of cancer, lung disease, brain malfunction, paralysis, hearing loss and the endless alphabet soup of every medical malady, or malpractice imaginable caused deliberately, sometimes unwittingly by big business or the government, I began wondering. Who is paying for all this good will? I was always under the impression that, “you can’t sue the government." Well surprise. You don’t have to. Major law firms will gladly do it for you. The latest legal calvary dashing to our rescue? Infirmities and death caused by toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
What exactly is The judgment fund you ask? According to a recent search, “The Judgment Fund (or Fund) is a permanent appropriation enacted by Congress in 1956. The fund is an unlimited amount of money set aside to pay judgments against the United States. It is only accessible when the United States has waived its sovereign immunity and certain statutory conditions are met."
In the case of Camp Lejeune, this trough is filled with at the very least $228,000,000. The rush is on. Law firms are tripping over themselves to be first in line. My personal solution to slow the onslaught. Set a cap on what the lawyers can collect and make sure that the deserving victims get the lion’s share of the payouts. Demand that the paperwork to file a claim is simplified enough for the average citizen to file on their own behalf with verifiable medical and legal confirmation of their claim. Mandate pro bono legal assistance when necessary. Establish a maximum legal fund that law firms can fight over themselves to receive renumeration for their services. Make sure that the only victims paid are legal United States Citizens. Let’s “flatten this curve” and see how many law firms remain chomping at this bit.