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treeswarper
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PostTue Nov 10, 2009 6:31 pm 
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We pay them to sue us.   shakehead.gif


http://naturalresourcereport.com/2009/11/taxpayers-foot-the-bill-for-environmental-lawsuits/

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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Nov 10, 2009 6:40 pm 
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They won the law suits against the government and the law says the prevailing party gets attorney fees, onsrvative groups do the same thing BFD zzz.gif

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Slugman
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PostTue Nov 10, 2009 6:59 pm 
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It proves what I've always said: that most "frivolous lawsuits" are caused by frivolous defendants, not frivolous plaintiffs. If the dang government would enforce the laws of the land in the first place, then these lawsuits would not be necessary. If corporations and ranchers and farmers would stop doing the illegal and destructive things they do, then the whole problem would never occur in the first place. Some corporation fails to follow the law, the government fails to make them, and then we are going to blame the folks that sue to make things right? Of course the "study" was done by a lawyer who is completely biased towards her clients, and so it is suspect to begin with. And she is also a dishonest hypocrite for uttering these words: "They are not filing these suits to try and protect the environment.  They are filing these suits to make money." Oh, and she works for free, because she simply believes in the people she represents? And she is a mind reader, able to determine the motives of a wide variety of other people? Gimme a break.  shakehead.gif

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"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but nature more..."  Childe Harold
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Nov 10, 2009 9:27 pm 
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How is the government different from a corporation in their legal needs?

I would hazard a guess that any corporation has a large risk management department that manages lawsuits against them on a continual basis.  The government is no different.

Who is to say all the suits against the government are reasonable?

For instance, Wilderness Watch, the organization that people on this site bashed for attempting to thwart the installation of a bridge over the Suiattle River cost the Forest Service a bundle in their suit of protest of the decision to install the bridge.  I for one am glad they had some good defense people working on the file.

Certainly it wasn't hundreds of thousands of dollars, but this is an example we can relate to.

Running a country and abiding by its rules is bound to cost some money.

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Nov 10, 2009 9:37 pm 
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The statute in question only awards fees to the "prevailing party" that means by definition the suit was not frivolous. It means the government was in the wrong and lost the suit. If you sue the government in a frivilous lawsuit it will likely be dismissed and fees assessed against you as a prominent "birther" just found.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Nov 10, 2009 9:50 pm 
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The gov't, like any other entity, has a right to defend itself and be found in the wrong; just like any other entity.  This should be expected by taxpayers;  those who think that all corporations and all government entities should always do everything right at all times aren't in the real world.  Hell, it's not even possible to always do things correctly.  The laws are full of ambiguities, especially the Environmental Acts - and it's anyones or any entities' right to interpret them as they see them to suit their purposes - making mistakes is inherent in any law, and legal tangles are budgeted, and insurance purchased.

Sometimes they know damn well they screwed up, and the suit is simply to mitigate damages.  You can "loose" by paying a million bucks, but if you didn't spend $60,000 on defense, you may have ended up paying 3 million bucks - so that million is actually a win.

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Schroder
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PostTue Nov 10, 2009 10:13 pm 
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I've got a better one. The State Department of Ecology fined the State Department of Transportation for not following all the wetland rules in the Hiway 9 project. Want to explain to me how the flow of money works there?
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Nov 10, 2009 10:31 pm 
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Remove $$$from left pocket insert $$$ in right pocket wink.gif

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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peltoms
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PostWed Nov 11, 2009 6:40 am 
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This is a frustrating expenditure.  We see the govt. organizations in charge of certain environmental aspects, blatantly ignoring the regulations that they are well aware of.  They hope like a big corporation that nobody has the where with all to chase them down on this, and that works much of the time.  This article shows that we spend frivolous defense of govt. failure to often, instead of settling out of court so to speak.
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DIYSteve
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PostWed Nov 11, 2009 10:45 am 
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These fee awards are wholly avoidable if the government would enforce its own laws.  The subject acts include statutes known as "citizen suit" provisions.  Other acts, e.g. Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, include statutes known as "private attorney general" provisions by which a private citizen may sue a violating polluter or other offender where the government has failed to do so.  These statutes advance their intended objective, that is, to enforce the laws on the books where the government's enforcement efforts have failed, or worse, where the government and polluter have tacitly or deliberately conspired to thwart the law (an all too common occurrence during the period 2000 to 2008).

As Mal noted, if the suits were indeed frivilous, then the groups suing would be required to pay the attorneys fees and costs of the defendant government or alleged offender.  Like most attorneys fees statutes, these are reciprocal, i.e., a two-way street, provisions that entitle the prevailing party to an award of fees.
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Jeff Chapman
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PostSat Nov 14, 2009 10:44 am 
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On a somewhat similar topic, the Washington State OFM just released their bleak budget outlook for 2010, and the possible need to cut another 1.7 billion from non-protected fund sources.   Depending upon what course the Legislator takes, this could have a big impact on both DNR and WSP.
Ironically one of the "increased cost" items that OFM mentions that needs a reciprical "cut" in services is the cost of covering the lawsuits that rose out of the 2009 cuts.   I assume that includes the WOHVA/NMA lawsuit with respect to the NOVA diversion.   The OFM estimates 71million needed to deal with lawsuits filed to block planned cuts.
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George Winters
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PostSat Nov 14, 2009 11:44 am 
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The statement: "We pay them to sue us" and the article it refers to could be viewed as a very positive statement about our legal system.  Imagine an alternative where the cost of presenting a challenge in court could not be potentially mitigated.  The wealthy individual, a large corporation, and especially the government would essentially become free from concern about legal accountability because the less wealthy could never afford to question them in court.  The murky details and unintended consequences of the system we have may seem frustrating, especially in out of context snapshots, but the larger concept of potential equal protection regardless of personal wealth should be affirmed as a very good thing.

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treeswarper
Alleged Sockpuppet!



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Alleged Sockpuppet!
PostSat Nov 14, 2009 4:31 pm 
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To me, it is just a way for fresh out of school lawyers, who don't know much about the environment, but see the propaganda of the various groups, to earn some money.  I call it The Environmental Industry.

But I'm in the minority and tend to be politically incorrect.  I must try to change.... biggrin.gif

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wamtngal
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PostSat Nov 14, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Reading the above posts by MC and Big Steve, I'm not sure how you see it as being an "Environmental Industry" thing -- it happens all the time and in many other facets of government. If you want to blame someone, blame the government for not following environmental laws.
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Ski
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PostTue Dec 15, 2009 4:46 pm 
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No, treeswarper, you're not going crazy.... your observations are spot on.
Another prime example of laws written by lawyers for the benefit of more lawyers. But let us not make this a political discussion.
My take:
One of the main problems we have today is that there are 56 pages of listings in the Yellow Pages ( in my Tacoma phone book ) under "Attorney" and less than 6 column inches under "Shoe Repair".
Now... everybody wears shoes, but not all of us will contract the services of an attorney in our lifetimes.
What's wrong with this picture?
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