Friday, January 20, 2012

Keeping Abreast Of The Law

GIVEN Adelaide lawyer Tim White’s recent efforts on behalf of the buxom and newly anxious women he is recruiting for a suit inspired by the PIP breast-implant scare, it is worth noting the case of the killer custard, his previous crusade for class-action justice. When several score people claimed to have been laid low by a commercial batch of the confection allegedly garnished with salmonella, White was on the job before the victims’ bowels had fully settled. Now he is making haste to move against doctors, suppliers, importers, the silicone sachets’ French manufacturer and the Great Bunyip-only-knows-who-else. If the other victories his firm, Tindall Gask Bentley, celebrates on its website are any guide, his clients can look forward to some nice cheques – minus his contingency cut, of course. Some of those triumphs are quite remarkable indeed.

There was the old Digger who died of cardiac arrest, which the law firm demonstrated to be the linked to the high-fat rations fed to him all those many decades ago, when he served in Borneo.  Then there was the fellow who did himself an injury on the sporting field and won compensation from his employer, who was deemed liable for having known of his extracurricular activities and accomodated his pursuit of them.

What may be the firm’s proudest boast, however, concerns a certain Peter, a policeman who “found the pressure of the job really got to him. Although he was never threatened himself, or in any actual danger, he often felt himself to be in unsafe situations. Peter gave very impressive evidence to the court about his fears and we argued that the perceived possibility of injury was significant enough to give rise to a stress claim. Peter received substantial compensation.”

“The perceived possibility of injury”, eh? If that is to be the yardstick for damages in White’s latest legal initiative, then the defendants-to-be might as well cough up the dough without waiting to be served. All White will need to do is cite the case of the fretful Beck Kowalski, a report of whose anxieties was placed yesterday in newspapers and other media organs far and wide. It is worth noting some of those fears, as the Police Office Peter Principle would appear to be firmly in effect. ''It makes me sick thinking that it is in my body, and wondering what my future holds,'' she said, listing in the text of the story and accompanying video all the maladies that are making her a nervous wreck.

She suffers from night sweats and something she called “sterile infections”, as she told her Fairfax interviewer, whose curiosity appears not to have been piqued by a condition that might strike many as a contradiction in terms. Further, she spends every day wondering if “this could be my last year on earth” and “do I have cancer or is it OK, like the doctors say.” Ms Kowalski, just by the way, appears to invest more faith in the medical opinions of lawyers than doctors. As she says in the video clip, upon hearing of the PIP kerfuffle her first telephone call was not to a physician but a law firm, presumably Mr White’s.

Human existence is fraught with perils and fears, many entirely justified. We might, for example, fret about the cost of living and the additional expense that needless and sensational lawsuits inflict on, well, just about everything these days. We might also feel compassion for unfortunates like Ms. Kowalski, whose prospects are probably nowhere near as dire as her fevered imagination and a legal PR campaign suggest.

And perhaps, when those concerns have been addressed, we might also fear for the state of the modern press, which appears eager to promote scares without ever wondering if its reporters are being used by those who are smarter, which would not be difficult, and forever eager to transform others’ anxieties into profit.

The breast-implant scare now underway will be well worth watching as it develops. We are about to see a first-rate case study in galloping hysteria.

UPDATE: If reporters actually asked questions, instead of taking dictation, coverage of Ms Kowalski's situation would have included the information that infections are not specific to breast implants. Any implanted foreign or articial body increases the possibility, be it a heart valve, prosthetic teeth, a pacemaker or an artificial hip. That information has yet to be presented, perhaps because it would spoil a good story.

UPDATE II: Just added to an earlier post on this matter is this spam comment authored by some anonymous pest on the payroll of "Cosmetic Surgery Canberra":
I haven't heard the story you mention, but definitely get yourself checked. The authorities say no immediate threat, but I would speak to somebody about the options available.
The link will lead readers to Esteem Studios, an outfit which boosts breasts and, when fear runs rampant, takes them out again. It is not just lawyers who recognise a good thing when they see one. 


  1. Did they manage to include a nice piccie of the danger tits?

  2. It's the fault of men fault that women feel the need to get breast implants. And it's the fault of men when women have them taken out. And it's the fault of men for making them leaky in the first place. And it's the fault of men that old women aren't considered as beautiful as young women.

    1. Anonymous, I blame global warming—which is, of course, Tony Abbott’s fault.

  3. It's worth noting that the bakery blamed for the food poisoning (and being sued by Mr White's firm) is taking legal action against the SA government for defamation since no trace of salmonella was found in its products.

    As for the breast implant scare, I haven't seen any data which demonstrates a higher risk from these implants than from any other. Indeed all articles in the media on this story have neglected to cite any figures (which probably means it's a beat-up).

  4. Oh, and here's the link to the article about defamation proceedings:

  5. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.January 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Quick. Who is at fault when people think mine, which are natural, may be assisted? I want to sue for all sorts of hurts, defamations, stresses and insults I may have had to bear, to say nothing of a devaluation of my assets.

    1. Women in your position are basically getting ripped off by jumped up bimbos, as are men who fall for it.