The worlds of business and perception management have morphed from the post-Enron embrace of transparency to the current passion of radical transparency. The April cover of the influential WIRED Magazine has a partially naked woman holding a sign, Norma Rae-fashion, "Get Naked and ... Rule the World." Inside the cover is a three-part series on "Why Exposing Yourself Is The Future of Business."
Of course, it's an art - and perception managers like Cambridge, MA-based eSapience get paid up to a $1000 an hour to be illusionists - to appear naked. With all our human flaws, professional, personal and physical, few individuals, organizations or nations can really go naked. But, we can sure try to appear so. Barack Obama, John Edwards and Al Gore are doing a excellent job of presenting themselves as radically transparent. Unfortunately, Hillary is totally ham-handed in the tricky field of illusion.
The question I ask is this: What if the populist brand of plaintiff attorneys was also pushed to be radically transparent? What if the Motley Rices were mandated by some legal version of Sarbanes-Oxley to be radically transparent in why they were pitching states and cities on embarking on public nuisance lawsuits against, say for example, the former lead paint manufacturers?
How would radical transparency have to get done in the situation of the public nuisance litigation or the threats of litigation surrounding the former lead paint companies for too long?
Here's a sneak preview of how populist plaintiff law firms would have to pitch possible public nuisance litigation:
- We're selling you an economic long shot. So far, despite all this going on since the late 1990s, former Lead Paint Inc. hasn't paid a penny in settlement or verdict. The entity DuPont which agreed to an agreement to opt out of the Rhode Island lead paint trial II isn't legally required to pay a penny either. The agreement was just that, an agreement, not a legal contract.
- Your location is going to get a horrific reputation among economic developers and businesses for banana-republic type tort systems. Mississippi had to clean up its "hellhole judicial" follies for Toyota to build a facility in that state. The two states - RI and Ohio - with the current highest profiles in lead paint litigation are economic laggards. OH, in fact, is almost as bad off as Michigan.
- You will waste a lot of tax-payer money battling against the layers and layers of legal machinations which go with this crazy tort situation. In OH the General Assembly will spend at least $150,000 to oppose Governor Ted Strickland's veto of Substitute Senate Bill 117. That bill, as a law, would prohibit the expansion of the state's public nuisance law to cases which should be treated, claim myriad legal authorities, as product liability ones.
- You will be distracted. Running a public nuisance lawsuit, from complaint stage to the actual trial, sucks up resources, including the attention of your best and brightest.
Readers are invited to submit other radical transparency scenarios in law. Please contact Mgenova981@aol.com.