A few years ago, actually 17 years ago, I was suffering the increasingly common syndrome of “lawyer burnout” and decided to try my hand at homebuilding. In negotiating the sale of a luxury home I was building I made the mistake of closing the sale while the home was still under construction so that I became the general contractor to finish it. Part of the price was paid at closing and the remaining was to be paid on completion. When that time came the very wealthy buyer and now owner wanted to renegotiate the price which had been previously agreed upon. When I refused I was told in no uncertain terms why I should reconsider: “I’ll keep you tied up in litigation for three years,” he said.
This individual was a shopping center entrepreneur. In that roll he had regular involvement in construction projects. I later learned that threats of litigation were his regular practice in dealing with contractors in order to intimidate them into agreeing to a reduction in the final payment, even though the amount was already stated in a written contract entered into previously. Of course he didn’t just make these threats off the cuff and out of the blue. He would lay the groundwork for this game plan by documenting alleged construction defects, all of which were either greatly exaggerated or completely phony.
It was a cunning strategy that worked most of the time because contractors knew he commanded the financial resources to carry out his threat, and in many cases contractors rely on lines of credit to keep them afloat. Being tied up in court for 3 years awaiting final payment would subject them to interest and other costs of delay. The expense of a long drawn out lawsuit would would erase any profit they had in the deal. Attorney fees alone could turn the project into huge loss. Taking a smaller-by-comparison hit on their profit in the job would be the better choice.
The object of tying someone up in court for years is not to win in the end. It is to force the other party to agree to something he would never agree to if not for the punishsing losses he would incur to defend a frivolous lawsuit, even if he eventually won. Statutes and court rules have been enacted to discourage frivolous and groundless law suits, but creative plaintiffs’ lawyers can usually find a path through that thicket.
In a story or a movie the “MacGuffin” is the thing the hero wants. To MacGuffinize something is to focus all the attention on the hero and his travails at getting the thing he wants. This is all to the exclusion of whether the hero actually deserves to get what he wants or whether his tactics for getting it are legitimate and honorable or underhanded and dishonest. The MacGuffinizatiion of the courts allows the legal sysemt to be used by disreputable people forcing others into a process designed to punish them and break their will to claim what is rightfully theirs. It is a tragic failure by the lawyers and judges who are the gatekeepers of justice.
Sadly, the MacGuffinization of the American court system is proceeding apace at every turn. My little story pales in comparison to how this is happening in the American political arena.
Daniel Payne expounds on this in How the Left is Weaponizing of the American Legal System. He recounts how the Left in America uses the legal process to punish dissent from their radical agenda. There are abundant real life examples of legal bullying by the Left to get the MacGuffin they want, the silencing of dissenters. They include David Daleiden and Planned Parenthood, Rick Perry and Travis County, The Wisconsin John Doe Affair, Mark Steyn and Michael Mann, Global Warming and RICO, and Prosecuting Gun Manufacturers. These are the indidents Damiel Payne writes about. There are may more.
Nothing is more important than the next election. If Hillary Clinton becomes president we can expect the weaponization of the Ameican legal system to go nuclear. This will be done by a woman with a 40-year history of dishonesty, lying, law breaking and corruption. A woman that has done all that and yet somehow avoided ever being held accountable by our justice system.