Civil Rights Costs us Twice

Nothing is more fundamental in this Nation than our civil rights which are guaranteed by our Constitution.  That sounds great on paper, but what about in practice?

If an elected official or other government entity violates my civil rights, how are they held accountable? Through the courts. Which means you will likely need to retain an attorney to sue the government that has violated your rights.

The problem is that the legal fees for such a case can easily start at $100,000. Most citizens don’t have that sitting around to try and enforce the rights that they are already guaranteed. 

Additionally Florida Statute 768.68 says that no attorney may charge, demand, receive, or collect, for services rendered, fees in excess of 25 percent of any judgment or settlement. That same statute states that neither the state nor its agencies or subdivisions shall be liable to pay a claim or a judgment by any one person which exceeds the sum of $200,000.

What does this mean? Essentially, even if you can get an attorney to take the case, which you will have to front the cost, the same government you are suing has passed a law that limits what you can recover for it violating your guaranteed rights.

But where does this money come from? When you sue the government, they hire an attorney to fight you. That attorney is paid with your tax dollars. Should you be successful in your lawsuit and win, again you are capped at $200,000 but where does that money come from? Again, your tax dollars. So at the end of the day, you are suing yourself and your fellow citizens, while the offender has essentially paid no consequences, because they aren’t held personally financially responsible. They are playing with house money, so in reality, the only way to hold them accountable is to clean house.

Robert W. Burns III

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