Al Smith

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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Commentary - December 17, 2013
11:04 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Holiday Cheer - Mandatory Arbitration Fixes?

It's that time of the year when when many of us are out buying gifts as part of our holiday celebrations.  The vast majority of those will be purchased with debit or credit cards.  Later this month and continuing next month the statements for those cards will be arriving – in mailboxes or in-boxes across the state.  And, if you have a dispute with the bank – such as additional fees being tacked on that you didn't know about that caused you to go over your limit and incur even more charges – you will likely find that buried in the fine print of your account agreement is a provision requiring

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Commentary - November 19th, 2013
9:45 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Holiday Safety

We're quickly approaching the holiday season, a festive time for gathering with family and friends.  It is a time for celebrating and for giving thanks.  Every year it seems that we are urged to get into the holiday spirit earlier and earlier,  at least the buying part.  So, here are some tips to keep your holiday season and gifts joyful, and safe. 

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Commentary - October 22nd, 2013
9:36 am
Wed October 23, 2013

What's The Cause of Rising Health Care Costs?

Well, the rhetoric over the Affordable Care Act, Obama Care, is heating up. Amazing that a private health insurance plan that Republicans touted as a solution not so long ago, is now being attacked by those same Republicans as being “socialist,” while Democrats who supported a national single payer system, now defend a private insurance plan. We even have disagreement as to whether it is a good idea for every citizen to have insurance coverage.

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