Friday, June 13, 2003

From the Bleachers

I went to court yesterday representing a woman who was hurt in a car accident. Opposing counsel argued that she was not really hurt. "So, her husband carried the laundry basket up the stairs a couple of times. Big deal."

My brain was thinking, "WTF?" My mouth behaved better:

"Your honor, she does not have to prove she cannot lift boulders or climb construction buildings to prove her injury. She does not have to be completely disabled. The law requires that you look at what she did on a daily basis and if she can no longer do it, then that is sufficient. She was a housewife and a mom. Her job was housework and she could no longer do it. She could not stand for long at the oven; her husband and daughter did the laundry; she hired someone to clean the house; she could not even sit for more than an hour with her family in the evening and relax without having to excuse herself to lie down. Gardening was out of the question, and needlepoint and sewing were put on hold. The law is clear. She meets the standard. Her life was in large part what she did in her house and for her family, and that was lost to her."

"What about the case your opponent just mentioned? " asked the Judge.
"It does not support my opponent's position. It supports my own," I challenged.

The judge pulled out the decision and began to read it aloud to the courtroom. His voice began strong, but as he got to the part that showed the flaw in my opponent's argument, his voice trailed off as a fizzled firecracker.

As I was leaving the courtroom, I passed near rows of spectaters, including five women in their 60's and 70's. They were sitting by their husbands, waiting for some other matter to be addressed by the court. I caught the glance of the woman closest to me. She wanted my attention. When she got it, she winked and nodded her head in appreciation. The woman behind her said quitely, "You were wonderfully articulate." The other women smiled.

I smiled back. I was glad these women could hear someone talk about their lives for two seconds, and they made me feel good. But we have so far to go. I really should not have to be making these arguments.

Posted at Berlin Blog

No comments: