Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jury System is the fair way to solve a dispute

By: Andy Childers
Atlanta Attorney

** The following is a Letter to the Editor to the AJC in response to a guest column published on July 30, 2008.

If I were blindsided on the highway on the way home from work tonight by a negligent driver, I would much rather have members of my community step inside my shoes and deliberate what equates fairness rather than some insurance company cog who gets bonuses for denying claims. While it may cause frustration to those on the jury, like it did for Tex Pitfield an Oil Company CEO and jury foreman on a recent Cobb County trial, at least I would be getting a fair shake.

Insurance companies are ruthless in denying claims. From the atrocities of Hurricane Katrina to what Mr. Pitfield calls, “a very minor traffic accident,” our fates are controlled by corporations who view us as an inconvenient story on a piece of paper rather than real people with families and jobs who are struggling to make ends meet like nearly everyone else. That is, nearly everyone else but Insurance CEOs who continue to rake in record profits while the rest of us struggle to fill up our gas tanks.

While it sounds like Mr. Pitfield was annoyed by his jury summons, I commend him for fulfilling his civic duty. I commend the other jurors who were as convinced of their verdict as he was. We are blessed to live in a nation that constitutionally protects the rights of people to participate in their government. Without that, we’d all be doomed to existing simply as a blurb on a scrap of paper that corporate insiders with more means, money and power than we have, could just willy-nilly throw away.

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