Question: Does a large monetary settlement really translate
Gloria Allred: Well, in many cases
there is no justice. There's just minimizing the injustice. We're
mitigating the injustice. For example, if a woman has been raped or
battered, you can't undo the rape and you can't do the battery, the
bruises, the broken arm, the other injuries that may have been inflicted
upon her. But what you can do is try to minimize the injustice by
winning her compensation and sometimes criminal prosecution as well for
the wrong that has been done to her, civilly and sometimes criminally.
all about accountability, and imposing appropriate consequences for the
person and on the person who has inflicted the wrong and the harm, and
the damage. For me, it's all about winning whatever it is my client is
seeking that is possible in the legal system. We do not live in an ideal
world. We live in a world that is somewhat flawed and we work in a
flawed justice system. Having said that we want to win as much justice
or minimize the injustice to the fullest extent possible.
So in some cases that means criminal prosecution and civil settlement.
Sometimes it's just civil settlement but I would like to win whatever
and whenever it is possible to do so, as much justice as the system can
Question: Do large monetary settlements
actually serve as a deterrent for crime?
I do think it has an educational impact. Having to reach into one's
wallet and pay out a large amount because of the wrong that one has done
definitely makes one think about whether one wants to do this again to
someone else, because there is a cost to inflicting wrongs. The real
question is who should bear the cost of the wrong? I say it should not
be the victim, should be the wrongdoer. And that's the message I'm
trying to send. So for example in many cases involving sexual
harassment—that's mainly what we do is plaintiff sexual harassment for
individuals who have been sexually harassed. Then, you know, we want the
full measure of damages that is possible under the law from the sexual
harasser and/or those who might have condoned or encouraged that sexual
harassment. Because sexual harassment is a barrier to the enjoyment of
equal employment opportunity. So, for example, a woman who is sexually
harass in a workplace is going to have to battle that... fight that. If
she says, yes to the sexual harassment because she's afraid she'll lose
her job if she doesn't, then she's in a no-win situation. If she says
no, then she's in a no-win situation. It's not fair. It's not right and
it's against the law. So we want to get her compensation so she can go
on with her life and be free of that barrier of sexual harassment.
We've done child sexual abuse cases, we've been able to get the abusers
prosecuted—the child molesters prosecuted. And also sometimes filed
civil lawsuits against them resulting in very significant damages that
have to be paid to the victim of child sexual abuse. Same with rapists
and others who have inflicted wrongs against women and children.
Recorded on June 9, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman