Time for Justice - Is Our Legal System Reinforcing Bad Behavior?
"YES!" Argues acclaimed NY attorney, Anthony V. Curto who has represented hundreds of prominent clients such as Linda Lovelace, Ted Turner and Paula Abdul, in his new book, "THE TIME FOR JUSTICE: How the excesses of time have broken our civil justice system (Sept 2012)."
"A perverse legal system reinforces bad societal behavior. Cheating pays off when an individual who has been taken advantage of cannot navigate a legal system in a time and cost frame that makes its actions relevant. And this is what is happening everyday in our society."
In today's world, litigation is a contact sport. The courts are clogged with thousands of cases. Lawsuits take years; they cost too much; drain all parties psychologically and financially; and produce outcomes that no one can predict. With each legal experience, people are losing confidence in the system's ability to deliver justice.
Who is to blame for its failures? Lawyers? Judges? Legislators? Our litigious-minded culture?
"The enemy to of our judicial system is TIME. Ninety-five percent of cases are settled without a trial because those involved are mentally and financially exhausted and no longer trust the court system," says Curto.
THE TIME FOR JUSTICE offers an argument that is simple yet profound based on his 50-year legal career. Curto highlights the inequities that arise from the excesses in time required to resolve legal disputes and provides targeted 'time fixes' to correct the system.
THE TIME FOR JUSTICE shines a light on the scourges of time while also offering pointed and practical time fixes. Samples of Curto's "time-killing" methods and processes intended to speed up the current system and wring out unreasonable delays, include:
1. Set trial dates as soon as summons are answered (dates should be no more
than 6 months later).
2. Broaden authority of judges
3. Eliminate pretrial paperwork
4. Require plaintiffs to pay expenses if appeal is lost
5. Enforce court decisions
6. Settle jurisdictional disputes upfront
7. Require litigants to attend their trials
8. Keep the same judge on a case
9. Expand small claims court
Over the course of his renowned law career, Curto has represented hundreds of prominent clients from $100 million companies such as Yoo-hoo and Francesco Rinaldi to celebrities and personalities including: renowned financier Bernard Baruch; adult film star Linda Lovelace; singer/songwriter Harry Chapin; media mogul and America's Cup racing champion Ted Turner; singer and American Idol judge Paula Abdul and many others.
"It is the role of our judicial system to not only resolve issues in a timely manner but to teach good behavior in the process and none of this is happening today," says Curto.
About the Author
As senior partner of Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana on Long Island, Curto has been associated with many complex high-profile matters, but his day-to-day legal philosophy is refreshingly simple: Serve your clients well by getting the issues resolved in the quickest, most efficient way possible. Curto's practice reflects what he has identified as the major problem in the judicial system today-the inordinate length of time that cases proceed through our legal system.
He practices from a business mindset, isolating the issues, view to the goal, and knowledge of the law to bring the problem to a conclusion quickly and judiciously.
Throughout his career, Curto also has been a staunch advocate of community service, receiving numerous awards, including the 1984 Congressional Achievement Award and the 1987 Martin Luther King Jr. "Living the Dream" Service Award. He lives in Northport, NY with his wife, Linda.
Ronald E. Roel is a veteran business journalist and resident of Glen Cove, NY.