Some of my best friends are lawyers. Really.

Now, I know the title of this week’s column may lead you to believe otherwise, but I really have friends who are honest, principled lawyers whom I would trust with my reputation and my life – services I hope I never need. None of my lawyer friends, however (and thankfully), work for the company that advertises on billboards, “Who Can I Sue?” Neither do they work for Miami-based “Brill Rinaldi Garcia THE LAW FIRM.”

For those who may not be familiar with “Brill Rinaldi Garcia THE LAW FIRM,” their website states that they are, “…a boutique law firm of experienced trial lawyers providing passionate and professional legal representation for victims of personal injury and wrongful death.” In other words, bottom-feeding ambulance chasers preying upon victims of senseless tragedies.

Principal David Brill has come to the Keys and is searching for people to sue in the tragic case of the traffic death of Monroe County Deputy Melissa Powers. This is a truly tragic case, a death so totally unnecessary and sad. The circumstances of the accident that claimed her life are rightfully the focus of a Sheriff’s Office investigation. Attorney David Brill, on the other hand, is looking for anyone who might have been around the vicinity so that he can file suit.

A driver in the left lane of the four-lane US 1 saw Deputy Powers coming behind him in his rearview mirror at a high rate of speed. He saw her moving to the right lane to go around him, so he tried to stay out of her way and remained in the left lane. Powers then lost control of her vehicle and collided with a Freightliner tractor-trailer parked legally on private property.

Unfortunately, the innocent left-lane driver has been charged by the Florida Highway Patrol with making an improper turn that caused the accident (not really true), and by leaving the scene of an accident he was involved in (so not true). Deputy Powers was traveling at excessive speeds out of concern for a fellow deputy who wasn’t responding to his radio (tuned to a frequency not normally used by the department) or his cell phone.

It was an accident – tragic, yes, but certainly not the fault of the left-lane driver. Or the Freightliner.

But that’s not how attorney David Brill sees it. Because insurance companies are more likely to settle than fight cases in court, the bottom-dwellers of the legal profession use tragedies like this to go after as large a settlement as they can get, while portraying themselves as being “For People. For Justice.” (That’s the “official motto” of “Brill Rinaldi Garcia THE LAW FIRM.”

What would be hysterically funny were it not sadly true is that attorney David Brill is now threatening to sue the owner of the Freightliner tractor-trailer. I’m not making this up. Brill sent the owner of the Freightliner a letter that stated, and again, I’m not making this up, “This incident may have been caused by your direct or vicarious negligence.”

If your mind is reeling from how the owner of a tractor-trailer parked legally on private property could have possibly caused the death of Deputy Powers through “direct or vicarious negligence,” join the crowd. It’s a shame that innocent people have to spend their time and money defending themselves against flawed allegations and frivolous lawsuits. But that’s the way it is when we need to find scapegoats for bad things that sometimes just happen, and when it’s easier to pay people off than defend the truth. And we wonder why our insurance costs keep going up…

Here in these United States, people can sue other people for no reason whatsoever. We all know about the woman who won a substantial award for the brilliant action of placing a cup of hot McDonald’s coffee between her legs as she drove away from the Golden Arches. Here’s a real mind-boggler: In the 1990s, Anheuser-Busch (the brewers of Budweiser) ran a series of ads in which two beautiful women come to life in front of two truck drivers. A Michigan man bought a case of Bud, drank it, and failed to see two women materialize. Yes, he filed suit. He sued the company for false advertising, asking for a sum in excess of $10,000. Thankfully, the court dismissed the suit.

It’s a damn shame that we as a society can’t figure out how to keep idiots and bottom-feeders from standing in the way of the justice that our courts are supposed to protect. As Einstein once said, “There are only two infinite things: the Universe, and human stupidity. And I’m not sure about the Universe.” I’m surprised nobody sued Einstein for those callous and insensitive remarks.

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