March 16th, 2011
My case, cited here, disappeared before the court in an unusual decision made in 2007. As my (then) five year old case was still missing the lion’s share of discovery documents and a witness list, it was marked ‘disposed’ with leave to renew once we’d done our homework. In a highly unusual move, the court made no provision for an end date by which this homework would have to be completed. Generally, a year is set for completion or the case is dismissed entirely.
Not so in Rubin V Marathon and Pro-Tech Pest Control. No end date was set and there was no further tangible work product forthcoming despite my best efforts to ensure completion of this preliminary phase of prosecution. It is now 2011 and I still have yet to obtain any new information not already in my possession since 2005. As this state of affairs violates rules which say litigants are entitled to a zealous and timely prosecution of their complaints, I have filed a complaint with the NYS Bar Association regarding my representation. There, I hope to learn whether or not my expectations for legal services are realistic and representative of what the legal system is supposed to offer the public.
I have also filed a complaint with the New York State Office of Attorney General because the proceedings in my case have been most unusual. That office has kindly agreed to investigate apparent irregularities in this process and related matters. At present, I hope to obtain the services of an activist-minded attorney to take over the case and, if possible, complete it. My attorney informed me at the outset that few pesticide cases ever make it to trial and I now understand the reasons for it. I don’t expect to find anyone willing to complete my case.
In actuality, I don’t object to corporate interests. Business makes the world ‘turn’, so to speak and many who read my blog are often disappointed that I am not a fan of socialism. However, current corporate structures do not represent capitalism either. Corporate funded opposition to ‘Big Government’ is actually an opposition to a ‘corporation’ run by the public. The use of tax funds make any government a business which must be open to some degree of scrutiny and participation, even by those without monied influence. Every voter is a share holder. Such checks and balances alter the course of leadership from one of harsh rule to benevolent rule. Leaders of any entity must regard the public ‘good’ as a sustainable concept. A government devoid of social policy (e.g. medical care, poverty supports, senior care, congressional oversight of the military and corporate activity, FOIA rules etc.) can have no hope of striking a balance for its citizens and will be ripe for take-over by those without conscience or benign intent.
Governments can’t operate successfully without corporate-run societal infrastructures offering jobs, products and services. However, corporate short-sightedness also depletes society of highly productive individuals who can build sustainable social structures to reach into the next century. We are rapidly depleting our physical, intellectual and yes, moral, resources among the general populace. It takes government oversight by government shareholders (the taxpayers and voters) to monitor the corporations. Greenpeace is currently prosecuting a RICO case based upon the surveillance and harassment of its activist membership by corporate entities that didn’t need to go to such lengths in operating their businesses. Altering a business plan to ensure that corporate interests are not diametrically opposed to consumer safety or the interests of their own labor pool is not an impossible task. I’ve challenged agribusiness to form a new branch devoted to indoor pest control, replacing the use of farming chemicals in our homes, schools and offices. No one appears to have taken that seriously as yet despite the huge profits to be made. Perhaps some environmental group might convince them eventually without court actions.
The courts are ‘the great levelers’ as Harper Lee’s famed character Atticus Finch said in his closing arguments to a jury in a small southern courtroom in the novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Another disabled teacher, Nancy Swan has also worked hard to keep the courts free to act as ‘great levelers’ in society. I urge you all to review her blog and work. She too, was disabled by toxic chemicals applied in her school many years ago. Her court case took a record fifteen years to complete and had the unexpected side effect of exposing corruption in the judicial system. The sentences of convicted parties are currently under re-consideration making this a very timely post. Civil injustices are as important as criminal cases to every citizen.
This isn’t a discussion about theory. What happens in one state (e.g. Wisconsin) is happening in your own state. What happens in any courtroom in this land, is happening in your backyard. Harper Lee told a story about societal views of (in)justice being institutionalized in our courts. A black man was wrongly convicted of a rape in court because it momentarily served the convenience of that small town’ suffering under depression era conflicts. Discrimination against African Americans remains institutionalized in the justice system despite constitutional guarantees of equality. Nancy Swan proved that commercial interests are institutionalized in our courts and is still seeing to it that governmental checks and balances apply to our court proceedings.
In my case, the ‘jury’ is still ‘out’. And will likely never be convened, at least in my lifetime.