Thursday, November 1, 2007

Freedom to Control Speech After Death!

Blackwater Security claims the right to control the speech of its employees after death. One might expect rigor mortis to curtail that ability, but Blackwater desires to leave no room for doubt. Does an autopsy speak about that person after death? Or does the giant private army want to control their employee's speech in the afterlife? The issue raises so many questions.

Just as The Carlyle Group pursued a bold legal strategy after the death of 24 patients in their just acquired long term acute care hospital in New Orleans, Blackwater does likewise. Carlyle's LifeCare claims their patients became wards of the federal government as soon as FEMA evacuation teams set up in the area. This novel defense means federal personnel miles away could be responsible for managing the clinical conditions of acutely ill patients and not the LifeCare doctors and nurses just feet away. That is if the LifeCare doctors really stayed and didn't abandon their patients in a time of disaster?

Blackwater's legal innovation seems just as twisted. The New York Times reported:

Blackwater is pursuing a bold legal strategy, going so far in a North Carolina case as to seek a gag order on the lawyers for the families of four Blackwater employees killed in an ambush in Falluja in 2004. The company argues that the dead men had signed contracts that prohibited them from talking to the press about Blackwater and that this restriction extended to their lawyers and their estates even after death.

Are the dead people still employed by Blackwater? Are they still punching a clock and receiving paychecks? What obligation do surviving family member's have to the private mercenary company?

It seems corporations can make just about any claim to avoid responsibility for their glitches or mistakes. That heavy hitter, politically connected lawyers and public relations firms are enabling their bizarre behavior shows how much out country has changed.

The little guy or gal harmed by a pharmaceutical drug or suffering due to uncovered treatments by their HMO has little recourse. Yet, the deep pocketed firms living off the government tit can hire politically connected shills to craft strange legal defenses to save them from having to pay out of their overflowing coffers.

Watch the Supreme's this coming spring for more insights as the drunk sea captain defense is floated by Exxon to get out of paying punitive damages to the people of Alaska. I can assure you Carlyle will be watching closely as they try to make a Joseph Hazelwood of their own.