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.