Shakespeare Had it Wrong

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Shakespeare wrote about killing all the lawyers as the first order of business. Their clients are sometimes just as worthy candidates.

David Doar, for instance. He is demanding – through his lawyers – that Volkswagen pay him $725,000 plus pay his legal bills on account of the 2016 Jetta TDI he bought for $23,700 having been one of those which “cheated” the government’s exhaust emissions tests.

VW had offered to buy the car back at full value – the same offer it made to every other owner of one of the “affected” cars. The vast majority of the approximately 500,000 owners of the “affected” vehicles accepted VW’s offer. Doar and about 2,000 others did not.

He – and they – no doubt heard opportunity knocking. And called Saul.

But how does $23,700 in damages become $725,000 – plus the tab for the shyster to collect it?

This is roughly 30 times the full value of Doar’s Jetta – a car which did not harm him or even threaten to. It did not stall in intersections or suddenly and unintentionally accelerate. It did not catch fire. Or explode. All it did do was emit an infinitesimally higher percentage of an exhaust byproduct which the EPA regulates. The amount at issue is so small no one would ever have known had not a Pecksniffian pedant re-rerun the tests and discovered the slight – the fractional – difference in emissions.

Not one victim – in the normal (and formerly legal) sense – has been produced, i.e., a human individual who can prove that he has been harmed by the car in some way. The case is in fact about Uncle – the government – having been affronted. That is VW’s real crime – and it is the real reason for the bellowing outrage emanating from the various ministries. These include the propaganda ministries  – i.e., the media, including the car press – which have egregiously failed to explain and parse the nature of the “cheating,” how minuscule the difference in emissions, “cheating” car vs. non-cheating car, actually were.

Who have allowed to pass – and even egged on – the idea that VW was doing a Deepwater Horizon or Exxon Valdez, except on wheels. It’s a grotesque – and despicable – dereliction of journalistic duty.

And it aids and abets cashers-in such as this Doar character – whose ambulance chasing amounts to a second assault on the Western legal tradition (the first being the quaint idea that a tort action requires an actual victim to establish that a crime has been committed):

The notion of making whole the victim . . . as opposed to making him rich.

Leaving aside the matter of Doar’s nonexistent victimhood, he is at most entitled to compensation for the value of the car, plus reasonable expenses. Three quarters of a million dollars is the apotheosis of unreasonable. It is slip and fall-ism extrapolated and with gasoline poured on top. Add matches.

And if he succeeds, actual victims will be created.

It will not be something called “VW” which pays. It will be real people associated with VW – employees who will be fired in order to cut costs. Or VW’s customers, who will pay more for their cars, to make up or VW’s losses. None of these people victimized Doar or anyone else.

This is one of the moral (and legal) problems with corporations, leaving aside for the moment the question of VW’s “cheating” – which amounts to a scaled up version of a motorist using a radar detector to “cheat” a speed trap.

Liability is limited. It says so, right there in the acronym (LLC, which stands for limited liability corporation). The whole idea is to punt liability onto those not liable – in the moral sense; i.e., those who didn’t do anything wrong.

But the people who did – for the sake of discussion – haven’t got pockets as deep as the corporation does. This is why the corporation becomes the piggy bank via the courts for people like Doar. And not just Doar, either. If he is successful in his shakedown, probably others will be as well. And there are many candidates. About 2,000 of them. These are the people who refused to accept VW’s reasonable buy-back offer.

Times that times $750,000 – plus lawyer bills.

All of this is in addition to the billions in “criminal” penalties imposed by the government.

Update: Doar has reportedly “settled” with VW – behind closed doors – no doubt for a sum as obnoxiously high as the emissions of his Jetta were low. Disproportionality being the new basis for juridical proceedings in Red Giant Stage America.

People who actually do harm others – armed government workers, for example – are treated gently by the system, if they are treated by the system at all. They routinely get away with literal murder. But if you “cheat” a speed trap – or a government emissions test – may god have mercy on your soul.

. . .

We’ve got about a week left in February and about 23 percent to go before the pie chart goes green. You guys have always come through before – and I’m betting you will again. Your support his what keeps EPautos firing on all cylinders, gas in the tank and tread on the tires. I couldn’t do it without you.

 

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Eric,

    As Mr. Doar’s lawyer, respectfully, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about. The primary purpose of Doar’s case and others cases like his is not to compensate as your article incorrectly assumes, but rather is to Punish and Deter. The CloverU.S. sentencing guidelines for VW’s offense called for a criminal fine between $34 billion to $68 billion. VW was fined only $2.8 billion fine. VW earns a net profit of $1.7 million PER HOUR 24/7/365. Absent our lawsuits, VW’s fraud will have enabled it to become the largest and most profitable car manufacturer in the world. In other words, the message that those of your ilk would send to corporations like VW is that it is ok to lie,cheat, and steal no matter what the cost to others. Your article is also replete with factual inaccuracies – for example, the 2009 TDI Jetta emits more NOx than a Mack Truck and would violate even the old liberal emissions’ standards by many multiples.Clover And as for your inaccurate claim that no one has been injured, the most recent studies from both MIT and Harvard show that thousands will die, and tens of thousands will become extremely ill as a direct result of VW’s fraud. Lawsuits like Doar’s seek to protect the public by deterring both VW and other corporations from hurting innocent people. Complaining about such lawsuits reveals not only great ignorance of their purpose, but also of the real-world beneficial impact such litigation creates.

    You’re welcome,

    Saul

    • Saul,

      Your entire argument is premised on the idea that the government test (and attenuated standards,”bins” and “tiers”) are morally legitimate and that it was immoral for VW to “cheat” the tests. It is exactly of a piece with the argument that using a radar detector to “cheat” a speed trap is somehow wrong.

      Illegal, sure – but that’s not the issue. Well, for thinking people.

      Your assertion that VW’s TDI emits more N0x than a Mack truck is… hilarious. A gut buster. Where’d you get that one? Heavy trucks are not obliged to comply with emissions regs remotely approaching those of passenger cars. And a heavy truck (Mack) diesel engine is 11-12 liters in displacement, 5-6 times the displacement of VW’s 2.0 diesel engine. Ho ho ho!

      And the “studies” you cite>? They are of a piece with the “climate change” studies people such as yourself cite to justify the regulatory apparat. These “studies” are larded with cherry-picked “data” and assumptions designed to arrive at a preconceived result.

      How about showing us a victim? An actual, real person who can prove that VW’s TDI engines harmed them in a tangible way?

    • You are showing the same misunderstanding the media and government itself have used to vilify VW. The tests where it is claimed show VWs producing X times the amount of NOx allowed by EPA regulation were not done using the EPA emission cycles. It is an engineering error to use the standard for test A on test B and then claim something such as produces X times more whatever than allowed.

      The limits in the regulation are specifically for the EPA emissions cycle. To date I have yet to see any published information regarding running any “cheating” VW product through the EPA emissions cycle with the “cheat” software feature disabled and the results there of.

      I believe the reason we do not see this is that the VWs did not perform spectacularly bad in such a test. My guess is they meet or exceed the standard immediately previous to the one prior to when the cheating began. This would make the entire affair quite unremarkable since we are talking about small and smaller numbers here. Diminishing returns.

      As to a Mack truck, I assume you are talking about heavy duty diesels. These fall under an entirely different emissions standard and are irrelevant to the discussion. That said there have been considerable development problems in the heavy duty diesel world as well. A number of companies have been forced out of the engine business as a result of the emissions standards. Either giving up or because they took the wrong technological fork in the road.

      The idea that Y people will die because of excess VW NOx is absurd. Even isolating this contribution to the whole is impossible. NOx is a naturally occurring compound and it is processed by nature. The problem with NOx emissions is the combined rate of production and the area and rate of dispersion. This means geography plays a huge role as do other sources in any given area. There’s just no way to show it. It’s simply too complex to make any such declaration. It’s scientific bullshit that works because people defer to authority instead of thinking critically.

      • Thanks, Brent!

        Note also this lawyer’s emphasis on punishment – and legalism.

        He doesn’t grok that “cheating” and “lying” to those who use guns to enforce morally indefensible laws isn’t a moral failing.

        I gave him the radar detector example. I use mine every day to “cheat” speed traps. Am I immoral?

        I would lie to an armed government worker about having the detector, too.

        Is that immoral?

        How?

    • Saul, you wrote,
      “VW’s fraud will have enabled it to become the largest and most profitable car manufacturer in the world.”
      I don’t get it. I know, I sound like Josh Baskin, but I don’t get it. Did you mean “… “would” have enabled…”? If that is what you meant then, I don’t know, I still don’t get it. How would VW’s “fraud” have it “become the largest and most profitable car manufacturer in the world.”? Is it bad to be profitable? This is all just shyster speak, right?

      • Hi Adam,

        It is just shyster-speak. The guy has a vested interest (money) in making his case (literally).

        But he may actually believe that it was wrong in the moral (as opposed to merely legal) sense to “cheat” the government. Many people seem to be afflicted by this disease.

  2. I hope his settlement was VW was NOT going to send a couple of goons over to his house, cut off his legs at the knees and shove them up his ass.

  3. Someone calculated the ideal number of lawyers required for a well-functioning free society. Now, I’m not able to get to the numbers at the moment, but it’s reasonable to conclude that we are somewhere north of that number.

  4. Something to consider is that our traffic laws were originated from admirality-law-on-the-land and our navigable waters are rivers of asphalt. Our British Accreditation Regency cucks are guilty accomplices in the trouncing of the public they claim to serve. Many in the world would be better off with the privatization of courts and being freed from this faux veneer of justice we are fed crap on TV about (Blue Porn, all the Law TV Dramas, etc). I have no respect for anyone in the industry, they are nothing but ants whose sole purpose is to further build up the unnecessary State that encompasses our lives.

    • Traffic control devices and laws in the USA were conventions started by private motoring clubs. The government then took that function away from them.

  5. It would have been great if VW’s offer to the holdouts had gone down with with each month they refused to settle, but if VW had those kinds of cojones they would have stood up to Uncle in the first place, fought them all the way to SCOTUS.

  6. It could be the whole thing about NOx being pushed to practically zero is to stop diesels to prevent compliance with fuel economy requirements. NOx occurs naturally and so long as the rate it is produced by humans in sum for a given area is less than what nature can process there’s no harm. Yes, it’s a problem for places like LA where it becomes trapped, but for most of the USA it’s not because people are spread out enough and there aren’t mountains to trap it so it spreads out and nature processes it.

    That’s why it’s going to be so difficult to prove anyone was harmed current standards vs. previous standards. (I have yet to see anything that shows cheating VWs didn’t meet the standards before the kick down, the year cut off for the ‘cheating’ cars.) How does one prove that there were so many of these cars that the NOx level of the air was different than it would have been had they met the new standards given all the sources? Do the math with the production rate change. I am going to guess the math doesn’t support a difference weren’t noting.

    • Hi Brent,

      That’s my take as well. It is interesting to note that VW – specifically – was developing a 100 MPG-plus car. And yes, it was a diesel-powered car.

      That would have created problems for the agenda, eh?

      • What infuriates me most is that pricks like Musk are celebrities that go scott-free when their faulty product has actually killed people, repeatedly!

        • Musk’s car company seems not to do FMEAs. Some of the stuff I’ve read about is just nuts. It would never see the light of day from an established car company. If any of them put such things out the news media would be all over them. They roasted Ford about a bolt length lying and distorting the whole way yet TM gets away with things like a big glass screen in the dash. Hatches to get at power disconnects that require hooking up a 12V battery if the computer control is not functioning. Power disconnects that are loops of cable to cut instead of proper well you know, electrical disconnects. The list of crap they get away with is endless.

      • Eric, that would have kicked the green agenda hard in the mouth. As the greens are supported by the international bank cartel, which controls governments and citizens alike, we couldn’t have them out of business now could we?

    • Hi Brent, guys. It seems whenever the government gets involved – it screws things up. Here, in the UK (and much of Europe) car journeys are very short (1-2 miles) and stop and go (average 10-20 mph). Where i feel petrol would probably be a better fuel. BUT – because of nonsensical CO2 emission targets and related taxes over the past 20 years, most cars here, even small hatchbacks for city driving are mostly diesels. What they didn’t realise is that 1) diesels dont seem to get the good milage over stop and go in the city 2) too many diesels in a small congested European cities in lots of stop and go means too much NOX 3) those DPFs do eventually have to empty on long runs. BUT when there is no long run, they block up and screw everything up. Which is the case with most diesel cars now in the UK. Now, London for example has some of the worst air standard in the world.

      On the other hand, having driven in the US a fair bit, with long stretches of motorway (where even the normal drive involves some high speed, 40+) diesel would be ideal for efficiency, and because of the long runs would give plenty of time for DPFs to regenerate and the open would be ideal to disburse the NO2. But – seems like the authorities there are busy banning diesels !!!

      Seems whatever the problem – the solution is regulation (regardless of the end result) and more taxes. Now they are pushing us more and more into electrics. I have a feeling however that once these things start leaking battery juice (which they eventually will)….. they will be ready for a new tax to impose on them as well. And as by that time, ICEs would have been almost finished, we won’t have any hope….

    • Shakespeare’s exact line ”The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” was stated by Dick the Butcher in ”Henry VI,” Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73. Dick the Butcher was a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disturbed law and order, he could become king. Shakespeare meant it as a compliment to attorneys and judges who instill justice in society.
      The fact that Eric has used this quote with the opposite intent, is his responsibility. The fact that he has read this, considering how little anyone actually read books any more, is commendable. Now you see why it is important to know the original source and intent of so many phrases and words in use today. The most current relevant example that comes to mind is “autonomous vehicle”, which is being widely accepted and used by the media and general public. If people were to bother to understand the definition of “autonomy”, it would be clear that this is a subversive misuse of the word, for it’s meaning is opposite it’s present use. In fact, by definition, autonomy is reserved for human beings exclusively by our virtue self determination and free will. No inanimate object can, nor ever will, have autonomy. The “automated driving software program” is just that, and no more. It can only be what someone else decides it will be, or do, or choose as priorities, and not you, the owner, pseudo-driver. It is anything BUT autonomous, by definition. The term “automated” already exists and there is no legitimate purpose to use a word who’s meaning is the complete antithesis. There is, apparently, a subversive desire to do so, and unfortunately, those who have contrived the misuse of autonomy, as a word, are ultimately trying to denigrate and devalue the ideology itself. Would you like to be referred to as automated, or an automaton? No, because it is clearly an insult to the unique quality of human autonomy. Likewise, attempting to say that inanimate objects “live” and or are “autonomous” is equally insulting. Lastly, if it were to be true, would you care to stand accused of murder the next time you wreck your car? Wouldn’t that be a Pandora’s Box to open??

      • (((OUCH))) My head hurts. Here, quote me then.

        “Want to live Free? First thing we do is Kill all of the Lawyers.”

        Politicians are Wordsmiths and Wordsmiths tend to become Politicians. They write codes to both create and enforce a legal code (not actual law) to enforce “Unlawful Contracts” that are paid in unlawful money aka “Legal Tender”

        Get the money right and TRUE Law will return by default in the enforcement of LAWFUL Contracts.

        The only way to get money right is to first get the peoples right. Money and Government are mere reflectors of the Morality of the peoples within the geographical area of said government.

        What the US has and is in Government form is a Corporation. Federal Reserve Notes are mere script of that Corporation. There is remedy on a personal level as well as a National remedy.

        I’ll tell you the remedy on the National Level: Firstly the people have to recognize the debt system creates an “Odious Debt” and then declare the debt to be “Repudiated”

        Basically a “Return to Sender” as it is not our Debt.

        You tell me the Personal level Remedy if you would please.

    • Furthermore, by misquoting WS yourself by including “desire to eliminate freedom”, you are doing wthe same as you accuse Eric of doing. In my book that is hypocrisy, or more aptly, “the pot calling the kettle black”.
      So take your own advice, and you try again.

      • Gtc,

        I didn’t quote or misquote.

        I was just pointing out that Eric had it ass backwards.

        Just because I didn’t do such an eloquent job as you, doesn’t mean the fine folks like Pol Pot haven’t taken the Bard at his word.

        • Lol, I haven’t been accused of being eloquent in a while, quarrelsome and exhaustively thorough, yes. I know he has it backwards, I just think it’s funny that his article is actually about getting it all backwards in the first place. Sometimes an intentional “misquote” or misinterpretation of a well known author can be very effective at drawing an audience that might otherwise take little interest in one’s rant or rambling. It got your attention, & mine too. It is also a clever way of seeing just what a reader is really paying attention to, details, content, ideology, or all of the above. Cheers!

          • Gtc,

            “It is also a clever way of seeing just what a reader is really paying attention to”

            Well, in a few years, (after the new ESA takes over school security) the number of those actually able to read will be Infinitesimal.

            • Well, then I guess parents will just have to step in and start parenting again, won’t they? I grew up surrounded by generations of school teachers, and I was reading on a high school level at age 6. My parents didn’t force me to, it was just the environment they chose to provide, regardless of the lack of initiative in the school system. Or do you believe that shaping you child’s personality is the responsibility of government workers? If so, then accept the consequences of giving that responsibility to someone else. If not, then do your best to provide otherwise.
              And honestly, It isn’t going to be a matter of literacy so much as independent critical thinking that is going to suffer. Even socialists need to give their workers tools, they just go a step further and they their workers how, when, where, and why the tolls are to be used, no questions asked. That’s the behavior what we really need to watch for, and discourage. It’s a matter of believing that there is a fundamental difference between training vs. education. If you want an obedient society, train. If you want a productive, self-confident society, educate.

  7. The “justice” system is corrupt and contrived. As my late father put it, “too many people in the world with not enough to do”. By that, of course, he meant not enough “productive contributions to society”, as opposed to the endless flow of pointless thuggery perpetrated by “public servants”, and all the deadbeats abusing the “system” likewise.

  8. Ignoring the ridiculous idea that people were harmed by diesel omissions, assuming people were harmed shouldn’t they be the ones who were awarded any damages? If that’s the case, then wouldn’t it make sense that any award should go to helping children with asthma for example?

  9. I read somewhere that lawsuits have to pass a laugh test of sorts before a judge will allow them to proceed. If that’s true, it seems that MAD Magazine was right.

    “The judge is selected based on one of two criteria: One, this person’s record indicates that they can’t cut it practicing law or Two, the politician appointing this person owes this person a favor.”

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