Home > Uncategorized > Life in the Newbie Lane

Life in the Newbie Lane

To my loyal readers…the number of which, I suspect, approaches the mass of a quark—the next installment. Before I left my starter job behind, I pulled off a few coups. (The beginner’s mind has some advantages.) I got no credit for the creativity of things I did—but even while I slowly gained confidence from listening to the other partners and taking every class they had at the Summit Organization , I went ahead and settled some of the “dog” cases they gave me in some excellent ways.

Looking back, I suppose that, at a minimum, the fact of my hire was not regretted.  I did  not screw up a single thing.

My most creative settlement was the Pinto case. As best I can recall, I got the file the day of trial—which (in those days) meant the settling discussion would happen at the last minute, at court. They always did. The reason this case was a dog is there was no insurance. A less altruistic (and hungrier) firm would never have taken the case at all—and now, probably no one would. Then, I was too new to ask why these women did. I do know they all had husbands who paid the bills, so making their “nut” was not much of a consideration.

The driver who caused the accident—the defendant—was on drugs and hit our clients, a Mexican family driving a Pinto on the 210 freeway—from the rear. Luckily the gas tank did not explode. (Remember the smoking gun memo about the costs of repair vs. the costs of paying wrongful death cases? (And you thought corporate greed was new!)

I knew the agreement we came to might never result in any payment… so I decided to demand an apology to my clients from the uninsured defendant. (Who, oddly, had a lawyer. Which just now struck me! I have NO idea how he was paid.)

So this guy walked over to my clients in the courthouse hall and apologized. But the best part is THE GUY PAID!! In installments–like clock work. It seems this accident was a wake up call for him and he changed his life. As I live and breathe he did. Decades later, I realized my insistence on an apology served him in the making of amends. I didn’t know that then—as so often I just did what came to me from what I now recognize and “guidance.” I don’t know if he paid the entire judgment—but I am pretty sure that even then it was nondischargeable in bankruptcy so maybe he did. I moved on long before he could have paid it all. But I was a “holistic” attorney… in 1982. I had no idea—I just winged it. The most FUN case was the priest and the bus driver and the Bishop.

Yep! Stay tuned, loyal quarkers.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. leslie ImKarn23
    March 27, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Carroll…Loved that he paid every month in installments – that would NEVER happen today either! btw – being somewhat of a ‘newbie’ myself – could you please tell me what IS the difference between cost of repairs vs death. Enjoyed the read…thanks!

    • March 27, 2012 at 4:59 am

      I am not sure what you mean. When Enciso died he could not recover “pain and suffering.” If there had been economic damages his estate might have been able to recover those–but in a malpractice case he would have had to prove two cases–the underlying med mal case and a legal malpractice case. As he had not been truthful about the first claim–so that his case was barred no matter the merits–he was on shaky ground.

      In the Pinto crash I do not rememebr what the damages were. Some medical treatments and perhaps the loss of the car– I don’t remember. This was probably 1984, and I remember the outcome because it was a miracle. (I had a LOT of miracles in my early years.)

      When a car is totaled the insurer will pay Bluebook–accepted value. If the cost of repair is more than Bluebook the car is deemed totaled.

      Not sure if that answers hour question!

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