Al Smith

Commentary - October 22nd, 2014
1:02 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Out Of State Money In Montana Supreme Court Races

Last month seven former Montana Supreme Court justices had an opinion piece published in the Missoulian. The title of the piece was Will Montana Judges Be For Sale?

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Commentary - September 24th, 2014
2:22 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Gun Safety - Get Your Remington Repaired

It happens every year for me, those crisp early mornings, the angle of the light, even the smell, tell me, in a way that no calendar can, that hunting season is upon us. Hunting is a family tradition in Montana, a higher percentage of our population hunts than in any other state, and it is common to see hunting parties of two or three generations in the woods and on the prairies throughout Montana. In my experience, the stories from hunting trips are not primarily about the kill, but rather about the experience of being with family and friends in Montana's wild country.

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Commentary - August 27th, 2014
2:13 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Justice At Risk

When we think of America's legal system, it seems we most often think of our criminal justice system and the protections it offers to hold criminals accountable while also shielding innocent citizens from governmental abuses. In some ways, the more remarkable part of our legal system may be our civil justice system and the contributions it and our constitutional right to trial by jury have made to consumer health and safety.

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Commentary - July 2nd, 2014
1:03 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Corporate Religion

The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term yesterday with a bang, again. We've just seen the Hobby Lobby case that grants some corporate entities the right to religious freedom under the First Amendment. I'm not sure the many people who decried the Court's granting personhood rights to corporate entities for political campaign spending in Citizens United saw this one coming – you could kind of understand a corporation speaking through its wallet, but a corporation gaining personhood to express a religious tenet based on the beliefs of its majority owners?

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Commentary - June 3rd, 2014
9:59 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Court Secrecy Kills, Again

Al Smith, Montana Trial Lawyers Association.

In April I spoke about GM, its problem ignition switches and the lax federal regulatory system. GM hid dangerous defects from the public and federal regulators, and as a result Americans have needlessly died. Last month, federal regulators fined GM and further investigations are underway.

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Commentary - May 7th, 2014
9:23 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Pride In Our Legal System

May 1st was Law Day, America's yearly recognition of and reflection upon the unique role our legal system plays in our democracy. Law Day was first proposed by ABA president Charles S. Rhyne in 1957. It was envisioned as a day to honor our strong heritage of liberty, justice and equality under law. A heritage traced back to the English noblemen who met in May 1215 to prepare the Magna Carta, signed by King John in June 1215.

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Commentary - April 8th, 2014
9:23 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Federal Regulators – Whose Interests Do They Serve?

GM, oh GM, what to do about you? You hid dangerous defects from the public and federal regulators, you determined 57 cents was too high a cost, to you, to fix the problem, and as a result Americans have needlessly died. If it weren't for those pesky family members who lost a loved one seeking accountability from you, and the trial lawyers that represent them, you wouldn't be the butt of late night comedy sketches. But, you have somewhat of an explanation, it wasn't all your fault.

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Commentary
8:17 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Civil Justice System - Protecting All Citizens, Even Hypocrites

Civil Justice System - Protecting All Citizens, Even Hypocrites

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Commentary - February 11th, 2014
11:06 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Work Comp – You Can Help

Workers' compensation, pretty boring stuff, until you need its benefits.  So, this is for all you workers out there – from desk jockeys and burger flippers, to firefighters – and for you employers who want the best for your workers.  What do you do if you are injured on the job and are unable to work for several weeks, months or years?  How will you keep a roof over your head, make your car payments, buy clothes for your kids or put food on the table?  If you are like most Montanans, you would have to rely upon the Workers' Compensation system. 

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Commentary - January 14th, 2014
9:37 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Corporate Paid Umpires?

The L.A. Times has an editorial today on a subject I've spoken about before – arbitration. It opens with a “what if” - what if the L.A.

Dodgers have “just won the pennant and are going to play the New York Yankees in the World Series. But the rules have changed: All games will be played in Yankee Stadium. And, there are new umpires, hired and paid for by the Yankees.” The opening concludes with the observation that 'with rules like that, the Dodgers wouldn't stand much of a chance.'

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