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Reid, Cantor, Palin…Please Believe Me

     The following “false story/fake news”, has been forwarded around the email circles, as an example of great political spin. Even  Snopes states that this Reid story isn’t really about him specifically, and has been attributed to multiple politicians including Gore, Bush, Stevens and Biden and maybe even those in the blog title. 

     Since it made me laugh and also made a point, I thought it would be my blog topic today, since I always say that insurance companies and Big Business  regularly explain (spin) away their conduct. So, here goes:

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in Southern California, was doing some personal work on her own family tree.  She discovered that Senator Harry Reid’s great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor. 

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory:

On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: “Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889”

So, Judy recently emailed Senator Harry Reid for information about their Great-Great Uncle.

Believe it or not, Harry Reid’s staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

“Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory.  His Business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana Railroad.  Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad.  In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency.  In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”

A Relationship Loss

     There are some legal terms that have made it into the category of “legal terms that everyone knows”.  Loss of Consortium has made that list. Plus, it’s one of those topics that sometimes makes defense attorneys grin and snarl at the same time, because they think that it is a topic that can cause discomfort in a deposition.

     Loss of Consortium really represents a benefit or service of a family relationship, that has been caused as a harm by some wrongdoer. It usually is thought of as some kind of intimate loss between a husband and wife. Hence the snickers of the defense attorney. This classification is why many states do not recognize it as a damage or loss, in an accident claim.

     Virginia is one of the states that does not recognize  loss of consortium as a recoverable damage. Part of that could be because of the strength of the insurance lobby in Virginia.  Of course, Virginia is never aggressive in recognizing right of recovery. There’s no claim for parental loss of love and affection between kids, and no recognition of loss between spouses.

     It really comes down to how the hurt of one person, can effect another family member. That was on display during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

     Derek Redmond was the favorite from England, expected to win the four-hundred-meter race. Halfway through the race, Derek felt a searing pain through his left leg. He crumpled to the ground with a torn hamstring and his hopes and dreams went crumpling within him.

     All the other runners went racing by. As medical attendants came racing to his assistance, Derek fought his way to his feet and began hopping his way to the finish line.

     As he reached the stretch, a big man came out of the crowd. He was wearing a T-shirt that said, “Have you hugged your child today?”  His hat read, “Just Do It”.  The man was Derek’s father.

     Mr Redmond said, “You don’t have to do this”. “Yes I do” said son to father. “Well then, we’re going to finish this together”. Together, they moved slowly to the finish line, well behind the other competitors, while the crowd stood and cheered. It wasn’t some inner strength that caused Derek’s father to come out of the stands. It was the pain of his son.

     In time of difficulty, others are impacted.  Family members of some of my clients, visibly and emotionally suffer, just like the injured. When a tortfeasor is responsible for harms, they should be made to pay for all harms. Loss of Consortium should not be categorized as a snicker. It should be a recognizable damage,  instead of an ignored loss.

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