WHERE THE TORTS BLOSSOM

WHILE WASHINGTON DEBATES RULES ABOUT LITIGATION, DOWN IN ALABAMA, THE LAWSUITS GROW THICK AND WILD

THEY WERE ABOUT TO PICK A JURY to hear a civil suit in rural Alabama the other day, and the home-side lawyer for the plaintiffs assured the jury pool of farmers and sewing-machine operators, stock clerks and bookkeepers that he didn't want "to pry into your life," but said he wanted to know, "Is there anyone here who doesn't believe in filing a lawsuit for any reason? Is there anybody here who simply doesn't believe a jury should award punitive damages in any amount?" It was pretty quiet, and no wonder.

This was in Clayton, one of two seats (the other...

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