At What Price Justice?

Question: Does a large monetary settlement really translate \r\ninto justice?

Gloria Allred:  Well, in many cases \r\nthere is no justice. There's just minimizing the injustice. We're \r\nmitigating the injustice. For example, if a woman has been raped or \r\nbattered, you can't undo the rape and you can't do the battery, the \r\nbruises, the broken arm, the other injuries that may have been inflicted\r\n upon her. But what you can do is try to minimize the injustice by \r\nwinning her compensation and sometimes criminal prosecution as well for \r\nthe wrong that has been done to her, civilly and sometimes criminally.

It's\r\n all about accountability, and imposing appropriate consequences for the\r\n person and on the person who has inflicted the wrong and the harm, and \r\nthe damage. For me, it's all about winning whatever it is my client is \r\nseeking that is possible in the legal system. We do not live in an ideal\r\n world. We live in a world that is somewhat flawed and we work in a \r\nflawed justice system. Having said that we want to win as much justice \r\nor minimize the injustice to the fullest extent possible.
\r\nSo in some cases that means criminal prosecution and civil settlement. \r\nSometimes it's just civil settlement but I would like to win whatever \r\nand whenever it is possible to do so, as much justice as the system can \r\nafford.

Do large monetary settlements \r\nactually serve as a deterrent for crime?

Gloria Allred:\r\n I do think it has an educational impact. Having to reach into one's \r\nwallet and pay out a large amount because of the wrong that one has done\r\n definitely makes one think about whether one wants to do this again to \r\nsomeone else, because there is a cost to inflicting wrongs.  The real \r\nquestion is who should bear the cost of the wrong?  I say it should not \r\nbe the victim, should be the wrongdoer.  And that's the message I'm \r\ntrying to send.  So for example in many cases involving sexual \r\nharassment—that's mainly what we do is plaintiff sexual harassment for \r\nindividuals who have been sexually harassed. Then, you know, we want the\r\n full measure of damages that is possible under the law from the sexual \r\nharasser and/or those who might have condoned or encouraged that sexual \r\nharassment.  Because sexual harassment is a barrier to the enjoyment of \r\nequal employment opportunity. So, for example, a woman who is sexually \r\nharass in a workplace is going to have to battle that... fight that. If \r\nshe says, yes to the sexual harassment because she's afraid she'll lose \r\nher job if she doesn't, then she's in a no-win situation. If she says \r\nno, then she's in a no-win situation. It's not fair. It's not right and \r\nit's against the law. So we want to get her compensation so she can go \r\non with her life and be free of that barrier of sexual harassment.
\r\nWe've done child sexual abuse cases, we've been able to get the abusers \r\nprosecuted—the child molesters prosecuted. And also sometimes filed \r\ncivil lawsuits against them resulting in very significant damages that \r\nhave to be paid to the victim of child sexual abuse. Same with rapists \r\nand others who have inflicted wrongs against women and children.

Recorded on June 9, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman

"In many cases there is no justice; there's just minimizing the injustice," says the lawyer. Doing so to the tune of many millions of dollars can have an "educational impact," she says.

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