Legal Sleaze

There was a public service advertisement on TV as I walked out the door at noon to do some lawn work. Something about the summer heat beginning in the Valley, about the importance of wearing hats, drinking lots of water, wearing sun screen, taking lots of breaks.

A couple hours later, I wobbled back inside stinking of sweat with a blistered nose and a forehead that -- because of the two cherry-red bald spots with the thin strip of brown matted hair down the middle -- looked like a baboon's ass.

Because I felt woozy, I drank some cold, stale coffee to wake myself up a little. Then I picked up the daily paper. Through the fog of heat exhaustion, I read the most amazing story.

It recalled the 14 Mexican men who, two years ago this month, died of exposure while trying to cross into the United States through one of the most remote and deadly stretches of southern Arizona. It was an incredibly sad tale, an illustration of the tragedies awaiting Mexican immigrants who risk everything to give themselves and their families a better life.

I was filled with sympathy for everyone involved -- until I read on.

The story said the families of 11 of the dead migrants are suing the U.S. government for $42 million for not doing enough to save their family members as they walked illegally into this country through remote desert during sweltering heat.

Holy crap! I thought. This has got to be a new low in sleaze-ball ambulance-chasing litigation. Not only can you sue for damages after your relatives do something that any sane person knows is extremely dangerous, you can sue a foreign government for damages incurred while your relatives break that country's laws.

You can say one thing for Tucson attorneys John Micheaels, James Clark and James Metcalf:

They're creative.

Still dizzy from the heat exhaustion, I lay down to rest. Soon I was in a fevered dream. Another snippet from television started playing in my head (it seemed so real), but this advertisement had nothing to do with public service:

(Close-up of Armani-clad attorney holding legal-looking book.)

(Cue attorney.)

Hi! I'm John Micheaels, attorney at law.

Have you ever been the victim of your own decision to try to walk 100 miles in midday summer heat through the most remote reaches of one of the world's hottest deserts with nothing but a tee shirt, sandals and a sippy cup of water?

Have you ever been frustrated with the fact that nature and foreign federal governments often fail to offer the same level of round-the-clock nourishment, safety and comfort as your mother's womb?

Does it ever bother you when people fail to pay for the remarkably stupid mistakes you make while engaging in illegal activity?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's time you contacted the law firm of Micheaels, Clark & Metcalf.

Because at Micheaels, Clark & Metcalf, we believe culpability is just another word for collectibility.

But don't believe us. Just listen to some of our Actual Clients.

(Cue Actual Client #1.)

Hi, my name is Aron X. Ralston. Last Thursday, I read in Arizona newspapers that attorneys John Micheaels, James Clark and James Metcalf filed a $42 million lawsuit for the families of illegal immigrants who died in the desert of southern Arizona.

They want money because their family members died of dehydration while trying to illegally cross into the U.S. through remote desert in 100-degree heat.

They're suing because they say U.S. authorities didn't put enough water tanks in remote regions of southern Arizona for people crossing illegally who failed to bring enough water along for their attempt to evade U.S. authorities.

Wow! I thought. Why the hell am I blaming myself and crummy luck for my predicament?

You might remember my story. While rock climbing in Utah two weeks ago, a large boulder slipped and pinned my arm. After five days, I snapped a couple bones in my wrist and then spent the next hour cutting my hand off with a cheap American knockoff of a Swiss army knife. Then I walked home on my two feet, which I decided not to cut off.

I immediately called the law firm of Micheaels, Clark & Metcalf.

Within moments, John Micheaels had our strategy all planned out.

Why was my knife dull? I'll tell you. Because the U.S. government failed to incorporate into their faux Swiss army knives the readily available quality steel and non-dulling blade designs of responsible countries such as Switzerland. With a real Swiss knife, that hand would have come off like a slab of warm butter.

And this is not to mention why that boulder was not bolted down!

Thanks to John Micheaels, I now have a $42 million civil suit against the U.S. government for maliciously dull blade technologies and another $42 million suit against the U.S. government for failure to secure mountains.

With Micheaels, Clark & Metcalf on my side, my only concern now is how I'll carry all my money with just one hand.

(Cue attorney John Micheaels.)

Ha, ha, ha! Thanks, Aron, or, as we like to call him, Captain Hook-Me-Up-With-40-Percent.

But don't believe him. Listen to this other Actual Client.

(Cue Actual Client #2.)

At first, I thought John Micheaels, James Clark and James Metcalf had filed the most frivolous lawsuit in the history of American jurisprudence. I mean, who would be stupid enough to seek damages from the U.S. government for people who trusted the word of coyotes, then tried to walk for days across the Sonoran Desert in summer heat without the supplies any Arizona kindergartner would know you need to survive the desert? I mean, not only did the lawsuit seem stupid, it seemed incredibly damaging to public opinion regarding the genuinely sad plight of thousands of Mexican immigrants trying to find a better life in America.

And for God's sake, hasn't the U.S. Border Patrol shown incredible compassion already? What other government has spent so much money on aid stations and rescue units to help bring comfort to foreign nationals actively engaged in breaking the law? It seems like the more compassion Border Patrol agents show, the more scumbag attorneys want to try to sue them.

But then I saw the light.

Hi, my name is Cory X. Morris. Last month, I confessed to the murder of five Phoenix prostitutes. I said I killed the women during sex by using neckties, a nylon strap, my hands and, when appropriate, the victim's hair extensions.

You know how it goes.

Then I explained to the cops that a sixth woman died of unknown causes after I had sex with her.

What upsets me is that police don't believe me about the sixth gal. They keep trying to say I killed six people instead of five. They actually laugh when I say the sixth woman could've had a bad heart, or maybe even committed jealous suicide after she found out about my other girlfriends.

So I called John Micheaels. Right away, John felt my pain and knew how much my pain was worth.

He thought I had been the victim of police brutality. That's how the cops operate, he said. You slip up a little bit, and then they start piling on the charges. Before a citizen knows it, they could be accused of six murders when they've only confessed to five.

I can tell you that half a dozen sounds a lot worse than less than half a dozen.

Now, thanks to John, I have a $42 million suit against the government because it damaged my reputation.

(Cue attorney John Micheaels.)

Thanks, Cory. And thanks for sharing in this difficult time. Here's one more Actual Client.

(Cue Actual Client #3.)

Hi, my name is Billy Bob. I forgot my last name. I stuck my head in a microwave. I couldn't see any waves, but they sure did cook! And I said to myself, it's just crazy wrong that someone's puttin' invisible waves in a box that can cook your brain, iffin' you get cranked and dismantle the microwave's safety features and put your head in there to see what happens. It was so hot that I imagine it felt like walkin' through the Sonoran Desert at noontime in summer heat.

Thanks to Michaels, Clark & Metcalf, I'm suing the oven company for $42 million and the USA for another $42 million. The govment controls the public airwaves, and yet it lets bidnesses run wild with the microwaves.

(Cue Micheaels.)

There you have it. Real people. Real problems. Real taxpayer dollars.

So if you've gotten drunk and suffocated on your own vomit, or been injured after jumping off a building that wasn't tall enough for the fall to kill you, or been emotionally degraded by having to wear a mask while robbing a bank, call me, John Micheaels.

Because at Micheaels, Clark & Metcalf, we believe everything you've ever done, no matter how idiotic, is the fault of the government.

I awoke with a start . . . and a clear head.

It's not my fault that I fry my brain in summer heat for hours on end without water or protection. Why the hell did they allow a city to be built in the middle of one of the world's hottest deserts? Greed and malice, that's why! They hate Midwesterners and Californians.

So I'll soon be filing my own suit against the government for "Malicious Urban Placement."

Forty-two million dollars seems like a nice round number.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Nelson