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LSJ 363 Week 4

by: Nicole Goodfliesh

LSJ 363 Week 4 LSJ 363

Nicole Goodfliesh
GPA 3.7

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About this Document

These notes cover lectures 7 and 8 (week 4).
Law in Society
Erin Adam
Class Notes
Law, In, Society, lawinsociety, lsj363, LSJ, UW, scheingold, sallymerry, zemans, zeman
25 ?




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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nicole Goodfliesh on Monday April 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LSJ 363 at University of Washington taught by Erin Adam in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Law in Society in Law and Legal Studies at University of Washington.


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Date Created: 04/25/16
T  4/19/2016   WEEK  4:  Lecture  #7   Today’s  Agenda   Announcement:   –   Office  Hours  This  Week  Only:  Tuesday  11  to  12;  Thursday  12:30  to  1:30  (Gowen   30)   Sally  Merry:  Rights  Talk  and  the  Experience  of  Law   Engel  &  Tort  Cases  in  Sander  County   Legal  Mobilization:  Disputing  Studies   5)   Disputing  studies:  Why  Do  Many  Victims  “Lump  It”  (Continued)?   D.    Individual  “social”  status  viewed  as  un/deserving,  un/trustworthy  by  legal   officials   •   Ways  in  which  the  law  system  differentiates  b/w  deserving/non-­‐ deserving  individuals   E.   Dependence  on  wrongdoer—people  are  reluctant  to  sue  family,  spouses,  co-­‐ workers,  employers,  gov’t  administrators/regulators     •   Particularly  in  discrimination  cases   F.    Support  network  –  family,  friends,  organizations   i.   Example:  Support  Structures  for  social  change  in  Charles  Epp’s  Rights   Revolution:  Lawyers,  Activists,  and  Supreme  Courts  in  Comparative   Perspective   ii.   US  Rights  Revolution  Support  Structure  =  Rights  advocacy  organizations,   sources  of  funding,  the  legal  profession,  and  government  action   •   EEOC:  used  to  enforce  employment  grievances  relating  to  rights   revolution  wins     Legal  Mobilization:  Zemans,  Miller  &  Sarat   •   Zemans  -­‐-­‐“Legal  mobilization”  &  Legal  Inequality   –   We  all  are  agents  and  objects  of  law,  but  unequally  p.  693:  “The  legal  system  can   be  considered  quintessentially  democratic,  although  not  necessarily  egalitarian  if   the  competence  and  means  to  make  use  of…(law)  is  not  equally  distributed.”     •     •   Legal  mobilization  –  formally  equal  access  does  not  equal  actual  capacities  for  rights   claiming       Legal  Mobilization:  Sally  Merry   6)   Rights  Talk  and  Rights  Consciousness   A.   Hilo,  Hawaii  –  postcolonial  context   i.   rule  of  law  >  increased  violence     Sally  Merry  &  Rights  Consciousness   •   What  is  rights  consciousness?   –   Rights  Consciousness  =  the  process  through  which  individuals  come  to  see   themselves  as  “autonomous  rights-­‐bearing”  people  who  can  go  to  the  law  to   seek  redress  for  rights  violations.    You  can  think  of  this  as  a  kind  of  “rights   awakening.”   •   By  filing  a  rights  claim,  you  no  longer  see  it  as  your  own  individual   problem,  but  as  a  problem  that  can  be  solved  for  many     Legal  Mobilization:  Sally  Merry   6)   Sally  Merry  and  Rights  Consciousness  (Continued)   B.   Abused  women’s  assertion  of  rights  >  new  self,  new  subjectivity  (p.  345-­‐49)  =   Rights-­‐Bearing  Subject   i.   Subjectivity:  Knowledge/viewpoint  enacted  from  a  position  or  role  in  a   social  relationship   i.   Think  of  it  kind  of  like  an  identity  because  there  are  some  ways  in   which  it  can  be  like  an  identity,  but  your  ability  to  adopt  it  is  more   contingent  than  identity  is-­‐  based  on  various  ways  you’re  related   to  society  and  the  legal  system   ii.   Judith  Butler  on  Gender  as  Performative:­‐behavior-­‐creates-­‐your-­‐gender     ii.   Irony:  “autonomous  rights  bearing  individual”  is  a  learned  social   role/performance   iii.   Agency  as  subject  is  constrained,  contingent   iv.   Dependence  on  abuser  is  key  constraint   •   Dependent  on  external  networks   C.   Transformation  from  wife/mother  to  rights  claimant  is  “scary,”  intimidating   D.    What  happens?  Experiences  vary   E.   Rights  agency  varies  with  context  –  support  by  family,  women’s  shelters,  police,   courts   F.   Claimants  must  qualify  as  “good”  victims  (353-­‐4)   i.   “Good  Victim”  does  not  fight  back,  drink,  take  drugs,  or  abuse  her   children  (according  to  the  law)  –  doing  these  things  can  threaten  success   of  legal  win  in  domestic  violence  cases   ii.   “Good  Victim”  requirement  may  prevent  a  woman  from  realizing  the   “rights  bearing  individual”  subjectivity   G.   Some  women  empowered  >  increased  agency  and  changed  relationships  (others   not  so  much)   i.   Experiences  in  law  affect  future  actions   H.   Experience  of  Dora  vs.  Darlene  (pp.  359-­‐362)     i.   How  did  their  experiences  vary?       1)   Darlene  had  a  negative  outcome.  Thought  the  police  was  a  total   jerk  that  did  not  recognize  what  she  was  going  through,  but  when   she  went  to  the  court,  he  took  it  seriously  and  she  was  able  to  see   her  self  as  bearing  rights.  Her  abuser  saw  prison  as  a  summer   camp  because  he  was  surrounded  by  people  who  were  there  for   the  same  reason.  When  he  came  out,  nothing  improved:  although   the  rights  were  recognized,  the  law  DID  NOT  work.   ii.   How  did  this  impact  their  ability  to  see  themselves  as  rights  bearing   individuals?       iii.   How  did  their  perceptions  of  their  abuser’s  experiences  with  the  law,  in   addition  to  their  own,  affect  future  actions?   I.   Responses  of  men,  husbands  (to  TRO,  ATV,  jail)   i.   Sometimes  change;  mostly  resist   ii.   View  claim  as  betrayal,  humiliation   iii.   Lose  rights,  autonomy,  control;  law  is  alien  force  of  state  (like  prison)   iv.   Reverse  gender  identity  (p.375)   •   Happening  through  legal  system  itself   J.   Relevance  of  class/wealth  status  –  “good”  victim,  alternative  resources/options   K.   Implications  for  (human)  rights  –  implementation  support  structure  matters  on   the  ground   i.   Individual  subjects  are  not  autonomous,  free  rights  claimants,  but  are   dependent  and  constrained  by  relational  context  >  reluctant,  lump  it,   might  lead  to  at  best  mixed  outcomes   ii.    Beyond  punitive  criminalization  as  remedy     Legal  Mobilization… In  the  Shadows  of  the  Courts   •   Merry  –  assertion  of  rights  &  mobilization  of  domestic  violence  claims  by  abused  women   varies  with  key  factors   A.   Rights  consciousness,  knowledge,  subjectivity  (Seeing  Oneself  as  the  “Rights   Bearing  Subject”)   B.   Positive  direct/indirect  experiences  with  law   C.   Supportive  group  network   D.   Responsive  state  officials  (police,  judges,  jury)               Legal  Mobilization… In  a  Coercive  Community   •   Why  do  Sander  County  community  members  generally  view  personal  injury  claims  with   derision  (even  though  they  are  rarely  filed)  and  approve  of  more  frequently  filed   contract  claims?   A.   David  Engle  (legal  ethnographer)  argues  that  the  answer  can  be  found  in  how   social  changes  within  Sander  County  impacted  the  relationship  between  law  and   community   •   Sander  County  (IL)  Then….   A.   Farmer/rural  community   •   Everyone  in  the  town  knew  each  other   •   Social  Changes  in  Sander  County  Today…   A.   From  small  family  farms  to  large,  corporate/industrialized  farms   •   Initially  entered  because  residents  wanted  them  to  as  a  result  of  the   changes  that  were  happening  in  the  US   •   Economic  downfall  encouraged  people  to  want  industrialization     B.   Large  manufacturing  plants  entered  community  (initial  hope  for  economic   revitalization)  …BUT   •   Increase  in  blue  collar,  union  workers  seen  as  “foreigners”  (Southerners,   Union  Workers,  etc.)-­‐  “I  think  there’s  too  many  commies  around”   •   Outsiders  entered  the  community     Legal  Mobilization… In  a  Coercive  Community   1)   How  do  citizens  deal  w/  personal  injuries  (torts)  in  Sander  Co.?  Why  do  most  injured   people  lump  it  or  settle  tort  claims?   A.   Negative  perception  of  personal  injury  lawsuits  –  maintained  by  everyday   residents,  insurers,  and  lawyers  -­‐-­‐-­‐  by  all  long-­‐time  residents  of  Sander  County,  at   all  levels  of  the  legal  system  (state  actors  within  the  county)   B.   Personal  Injury  Lawsuit  Players  (who  is  involved)  =  parties  to  lawsuit,  insurance   company  representatives,  and  lawyers   2)   Does  everyone  avoid  tort/injury  claims?  Insiders  vs.  outsiders,  what  markers  matter?   ii.   Sander  County  Social  Value  System  (Factors  Influencing  Informal  Agreements   Over  Claims)   •   Self  Sufficiency  Individualism  (Victim  is  partially  responsible  for  injury   for  failing  to  exercise  caution)   o   Would  be  unfair  to  blame  others  for  something  you  could’ve  been   more  careful  to  not  get  hurt   •   Money  comes  from  hard  work  not  “quick  buck”  lawsuits   •   Close  social  ties  (lack  of  social  distance)   o   Know  everyone  in  the  community   o   Who  is  considered  insider  and  outsider   •   Result  =  Avoiding  suit  is  “realistic”  and  “level  headed”     Th  4/21/2016   WEEK  4:  Lecture  #8     Today’s  Agenda   Complete  David  Engle’s  “Oven  Bird’s  Song”   Legal  Mobilization/Avoidance  in  the  National  Community   –   Tort  Reform  Politics   –   Evidence  and  Reporting  on  Tort  Reform   –   Example:  The  McDonald’s  Coffee  Case     Legal  Mobilization… In  a  Coercive  Community   C.   Does  everyone  avoid  tort/injury  claims?  Insiders  vs.  outsiders,  what  markers  matter?   ii.   Characteristics  of  Those  Who  Do  File  Claims   1.   Insiders  vs.  Outsiders  –  Union  Workers,  People  of  Color,  Social  Outcasts  =   “foreign  element”/Outsiders;  Long-­‐time  residents  =  insiders   2.   Social  Distance  maintains  insider  vs.  outsider  relationship  between  2   groups   •   Insiders:  There  when  the  community  was  small,  rural  farm   •   Outsiders:  Blue  collar  union  workers;  southerners   D.   What  is  relation  of  law  and  community?  Who  enforces  community  values?  What  is  the   role  of  official  law  in  this  setting?         i.   Legal  “avoidance”  enforces  community   1.   Legal  avoidance  solidifies  “outsider”  status  (justifies  labeling  union   workers    and  others  “outsiders”/foreigners)     ii.   Courts  -­‐-­‐  site  of  contests  over  membership   1.   Law  constructs  subjects/subjectivities   iii.   Who  enforces  avoidance?   1.   External  pressure  à  internalized   iv.   What  is  “community”?  (Fantasy  p.  580-­‐81)     i.   “the  outcry  against  personal  injury  litigation  was  part  of  a  broader  effort   by  some  residents  of  Sander  County  to  exclude  from  their  moral  universe   what  they  could  not  exclude  from  the  physical  boundaries  of  their   community  and  to  recall  and  reaffirm  an  untainted  world  that  existed   nowhere  but  in  their  imaginations.”   v.   Allegory  (p.  573)  –  need  “foreign  element”   i.   Insiders  wouldn’t  be  “insiders”  if  it  weren’t  for  the  people  who  come   from  the  outside   ii.   Outsiders  helped  the  economy   E.   Two  types  of  “Individualism”   i.   Self  reliance  (promotes  community)   i.   Legal  avoidance   ii.   Rights  claiming  (undermines  community)   i.   Going  to  court   F.   What  do  we  know  about  outsiders?   i.   Why  might  they  “use”  law?  –  Because  they  don’t  have  the  insider  community   ties  necessary  to  resolve  disputes  out  of  court   ii.   Paradox  –  they  need  law,  but  use  of  law  reinforces  their  outsider  status   iii.    “Outsider”  =  multiple  meanings,  local   1.   myth  of  rights  abuser  vs.  actual     2.   practice  of  low  rights  claiming   G.   Engel:  Community  pressures  against  rights  mobilization   i.   What  of  justice,  of  rights  to  remedy,  of  inclusionary  legal  promise?   ii.   Are  all  persons  equal  under  law?   iii.   Rights  –  vary  w/  image  of  deserving  community  member   1.   Zemans’  ideal  thwarted  by  all  “Lump  it”  factors     2.   Merry’s  4  factors  for  “rights  consciousness”   3.   Engel  how  insider  vs.  outsider  status  informs  the  relationship  between   law  and  community  -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐  Communityà  inequality  for  outsiders  &  insiders   Legal  Mobilization… In  a  Coercive  Community   •   Contract  grievances  &  disputes   –   How  different  in  practice?  Why?     •   Unlike  personal  injury  suits,  contract  disputes  were  supported  in  Sander   County   –   Explanations:   •   Moral  logic  of  individualism  supports  looking  at  contract  suits  with   favorability   •   Power  differentials     Legal  Mobilization/Avoidance  in  the  National  Community     •   Engel:  anti-­‐litigiousness  is  confined  to  small  communities  in  transition  about  loss  of  past   •   McCann  &  Haltom:  was  a  national  phenomenon  in  1970s-­‐2000s   •   Health  care  costs  rise  for  a  lot  of  reasons...  And  some  of  the  costs  are  necessary.  But   there  are  some  costs  that  are  unnecessary  as  far  as  I'm  concerned.  And  the  problem  of   those  unnecessary  costs  don't  start  in  the  waiting  room,  or  the  operating  room,  they're   in  the  courtroom.  (Applause.)  We're  a  litigious  society;  everybody  is  suing,  it  seems   like.  There  are  too  many  lawsuits  in  America,  and  there  are  too  many  lawsuits  filed   against  doctors  and  hospitals  without  merit.  (Applause.)   •   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐  George  W.  Bush,  Scranton,  PA,  2003     Legal  Mobilization/Avoidance  in  the  National  Community     2)   "Tort  Reform"  Politics  1980s,  pushed  by  Big  Business   A.   Allegations  -­‐  too  many  lawyers,  claims,  lawsuits,  wins,  costs,  rights     B.   Reform  proposals   i.   Cap  punitive  damage   ii.   Losers  should  pay  (deterrent)   iii.   Cap  on  non-­‐economic  injuries   iv.   Federal  over  state  standards   2)   Empirical  social  scientists  find  little  evidence  of  increase  in  personal  injury  litigation  or   epidemic  of  lawsuits   Disputing Pyramids for Tort Disputes and Civil Disputes in General Settlements, Withdrawals, Removals, Trials, Reductions in Awards, Retrials, Appeals Disputes Filed in CourTortr Disputes (1000)r Resort to Resort to Lawyers in Lawyers Disputes in Disputest General (116 per (103 per 1000) Civil 1000) Tort Disputes Disputes Only (449 per 1000) (201 per 1000) Tort Generallaims in ClOnly (718 per 1000) (857 per 1000) For Every 1000 Tort Grievances For Every 1000 Civil Grievances in General       3)   Reformers  have  little  evidence,  rely  on  anecdotes  (tort  tales)  that  tap  “common  sense”   folklore   A.   Print  ads,  testimony,  lobbying  –  Instrumental  reform  advocacy   i.   Trying  to  push  a  particular  item  through  congress  or  state  legislator   B.    Focus  on  failure  of  personal  responsibility,  greed   C.   Mirrored  in  popular  culture  (demeaning  lawyers)   i.   Lawyer  jokes  and  cartoons     ii.   Saturation  of  TV/movies/books  stories  of  lawyers,  trials,  litigants   iii.   Infotainment:  "Trouble  w/  Lawyers"  (John  Stossel)   4)    (Reports  exaggerate/distort  actual  practice)   A.   Products  Liability  cases  -­‐-­‐  90%  of  what  is  reported;  4%  of  actual  tort  cases   B.   Wins  by  plaintiffs  -­‐-­‐  actual  wins  35%;  news  >  over  80%   C.   Large  monetary  awards  -­‐-­‐  80%  of  articles  about  awards  over  median  (dollars   holler)   D.   Critics  -­‐-­‐  2:1  cited  over  defenders  of  system   E.   Complaints  about  cost,  greed  (70%)   5)   MacDonald’s  Coffee  Case:  Real  Injuryà  Tort  Tale   A.    The  Hot  Coffee  case  video  –  heroic  trial  lawyer  counter-­‐version   B.   What  the  video  gets  right  –  facts  of  the  case;  corporate  campaign  to  deform  tort   law,  discourage  plaintiffs,  ridicule  of  lawyers   C.   Beyond  the  video   i.   Miss  role  of  the  media  &  individual  responsibility  ideology   ii.   Video  is  Pro  trial  attorney  but  Trial  lawyers  part  of  the  problem   iii.   Tort  system  is  inaccessible,  inefficient   iv.   Comparative  legal  studyà  US  lacks  consumer  regulation,  health  care   •   3  Types  of  systems  governments  enact  to  deal  with  health   emergencies  =  government  regulation  of  industry,  nationalized   health  care,  and  a  robust  tort  system   •   Video  misses  biggest  issue  -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐  American  tort  system  is  a  poor   substitute  for  nationalized  healthcare   6)   Anecdotal,  cartoon  knowledge  of  law  à  practice   A.   Politics/policy  -­‐-­‐  what  is/not  reformed   B.   Legal  knowledge  (anti-­‐rights)  that  we  act  on   Individual Responsibility Ethos I D Instrumental E Institutional Reform Groups O Media Stories L O G Y (Jokes, Cartoons, Entertainment) Mass Jurors, Policy Public Judges Makers    


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