Friday, November 25, 2005

Judge Kent and the Bolivians

Apparently, the governments of several Latin American countries have sued US tobacco companies for healthcare costs caused by tobacco. Cunningly, they've sued in US courts that are in geographically diverse rural areas in the US that have a history of awarding huge sums of money to plaintiffs.

One such case was filed in the Brazoria County, Texas courtroom of a certain Judge Kent. Josh McCabe has a transcript of his opinion, kicking the case upsatirs to a Washington DC court. An excerpt:
The governments of Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Thailand, Venezuela, and Bolivia have filed suit in [several geographically diverse locales in the U.S.] Why none of these countries seems to have a court system their own governments have confidence in is a mystery to this Court. Moreover, given the tremendous number of United States jurisdictions encompassing fascinating and exotic places, the Court can hardly imagine why the Republic of Bolivia elected to file suit in the veritable hinterlands of Brazoria County, Texas. The Court seriously doubts whether Brazoria County has ever seen a live Bolivian ... even on the Discovery Channel. Though only here by removal, this humble Court by the sea is certainly flattered by what must be the worldwide renown of rural Texas courts for dispensing justice with unparalleled fairness and alacrity, apparently in common discussion even on the mountain peaks of Bolivia! Still, the Court would be remiss in accepting an obligation for which it truly does not have the necessary resources.
The rest of the judgement is equally hilarious. If only the US had more jurists like this guy, maybe their justice system (and especially their tort system) would have a slightly better reputation.

As I do not have a link to the opinion directly, you can read it at Josh's blog here.


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