A shame on my profession.
Lawyer stereotypes abound. We are no longer thought of as the protectors of liberty. We are no longer honored as esteemed thinkers. No one remembers that most presidents were lawyers, and many lawyers helped to give this great country its start. The perception isn’t even neutral. We’re down there somewhere alongside used car salesmen (also an unfair stereotype).
Why is that? Sadly, it’s partly because of lawyers like Donald Karpel. Karpel, a California lawyer, is representing Torrence Brown, an eighteen-year old kid who was friends with A.J. Boik, one of the murdered. Reports indicate that Brown wasn’t injured, though like so many others, it is likely that the situation affected him on an emotional and mental level. Who is Brown suing? The theater, for inadequate security. The movie companies, including Warner Bros., for a very violent movie. Doctors who treated Holmes, for failure to recognize that he was a danger. There are problems any first-year law student will recognize–the First Amendment’s right to free speech, lack of physical injury, intervening causation of a criminal bent on causing injuries, and doctor-patient confidentiality. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The worst thing about this lawsuit is the timing. Many news stories say the lawsuit has been filed, but I haven’t been able to locate proof of that. More likely, this is just the first lawyer to step forward and say he is filing. Regardless, it’s premature. There is so much investigation that needs to be done, filing a lawsuit or blaming others for this horrific event at this stage is premature and simply feeds into the bad lawyer stereotype. If Karpel is advertising his involvement, he is what is wrong with the formerly-honorable legal profession.