John Grisham’s "The King Of Torts" And The Process Server

The King of Torts

This novel focuses on the struggle of Jarrett Clay Carter II as a lowly and poorly paid lawyer at the Office of the Public Defender (OPD). He dreams of making it big someday but the break, so to speak, are so not forthcoming. He represents clients who are accused of a criminal offense but are not capable of paying for legal services.

He reluctantly takes on the case of Tequila Watson, a man accused of a random street killing. Unknown to Clay Carter at that time, the case would catapult him to the biggest break he could ever imagine. A pharmaceutical conspiracy was underway and Tequila Watson is just one of the human guinea pigs for the drug “Tarvan.” The drug supposedly aids drug addicts towards recovery but it has a major flaw, in 10% of its patients, the drug leads to violent random killings. To keep everything under wraps, the manufacturer of the drug, employs Clay Carter, through the help of Max Pace. Clay Carter, resigned as counsel for Tequila Watson, walked out of his job at Public Defender’s Office, took some of his trusted colleagues at OPD and set up his own law firm. Clay Carter now became the counsel for the mysterious pharmaceutical company. They identified the victims of the Tarvan-induced “random killings” and paid the heirs of the victim off with large settlements.

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Clay Carter soon took on the case of another drug, “Dyloft”, a potent anti-inflammatory drug used by people with acute arthritis. However, as effective it is in curbing the pain, it causes bladder tumors. This case boosted him to launch a new career in Mass Tort Law. He started to rake in millions of dollars in fees. His meteoric rise to fame and fortune earned him the title of the newest King of Tort.

The Rise To and Fall From Fame And The Process Server

Surprise is an element Clay Carter relied on heavily on his filing of the Dyloft case. Simultaneous with his filing in the courts, a process server had tendered a copy of the complaint to the defendant company, Ackerman Labs. In this kind of cases wherein the time element is part of the strategy, a competent, effective and trustworthy process server is the best person to have in the team.

As every comet with its meteoric rise to stardom and its spectacular atmospheric display, it is fleeting. And at some point it will eventually drop somewhere. Clay Carter in the short span of a few months had acquired a luxurious house in prominent part of the town, a villa somewhere in the French Isles, a sporty black Porsche Carrera, a private Gulfstream jet, a yacht, hundred of millions in fees.

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In a series of wrong decisions, Clay Carter had subjected himself to a massive malpractice lawsuit. He settled the thousands of mass tort cases of Dyloft he had with Ackerman Labs in swiftly at a small amount per client. Although he received millions of dollars on fees, the individual clients received a paltry sum. Since all these were done in record time, he was not able to evaluate thoroughly the effects of the drug to each and every client.

With all of Clay Carter’s resources, there is a layer of protective bubble around him. With a jet and a yacht on hand, he is considered a flight risk. Taking these in mind, the process server who served Clay Carter with his career-ending malpractice lawsuit was able to penetrate the security and was able to time his visit to give it to him personally.

It is kind of ironic if not fitting that in this novel, the unrecognized constant is a process server who had done his job well.

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by Robin R Enos