Butler Letter to Editor

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 21, 2007

Letter to the editor
Butler expounds lessons of grandfather Will Ming

My brothers and I would like to thank Janice Dulany for the kind things she said about our grandfather, Mr. Will Ming, in her response to my article. Janice talks about what she learned from my grandfather albeit through her father.

Apparently some of my grandfather’s greatest lessons were lost in the translation to Janice. Although I did not address “tort reform” in any way whatsoever in my article, it seems she chose to make the quantum leap to this subject to strike fear in the hearts of voters thereby indirectly promoting her candidate for Senator. According to her, “tort reform” will ensure that our school system is not totally destroyed nor our business climate annihilated.

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My grandfather despised the use of fear or hate for political means. He worked to unite people not to divide them. You see, he would not be a good businessman by today’s standards. He cared deeply about those in need. A person’s color or station in life was not important to him. He lost his own grocery store in the depression because he extended credit to those who were hungry not just those who could pay. After that he went to work for Kroger and became a teacher of men.

Since Janice introduced the “tort reform” subject, I feel compelled to respond. I understand about business liability. I am a small businessman, i.e. a farmer/rancher, as well as an agricultural lawyer. Like many, I went to the legislature during the tort reform debates. I was not against some of the proposed changes. However, I was and still am against a cap on non-economic damages that has no exceptions for catastrophic injuries such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, and severe disfigurement.

Why would we not allow a higher value on the pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life for people who have suffered these type injuries? Why penalize the people who are hurt the worst? What gives us the right to extract such a toll for the so-called economic development of our state?

As the onslaught from the insurance industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce increased, I asked these questions to many in the legislature. Their main response was “we are just tired and ready to go home.”

You see Janice, you and these politicians missed the most important lesson that my grandfather taught. There are no exceptions in Matthew 7:12.

/s/Dudley Butler