A Good Move to Discourage 'Nuisance' Litigation

Regarding the article "White House Plans Reforms to Litigation," Aug. 13: It is encouraging that at last someone has come up with a proposal for attacking the problem of nuisance litigation. The suggestion that those who sue unsuccessfully should pay the defense costs of the party sued seems like a step in the right direction. It is only fair that the victim of a wrongful lawsuit be compensated for any resulting losses.It seems unlikely that the losers-pay rule would discourage legitimate lawsuits. Aren't juries inclined to sympathize with those who have suffered real injuries or losses as a result of others' negligence, especially when the defendant is a powerful corporation? But this proposed remedy does not address a more serious question: Why do courts hear cases that have no merit? Do our laws not define adequately what can be the basis of a lawsuit, or who can be held responsible for an occurrence? If not, the laws themselves must be improved. If clearly wrongful suits were prevented from entering the system in the first place, this might eliminate the need for a losers-pay rule. Jennifer Quinn, Riverdale, N.Y.

Spanish keeps Puerto Rico apart The article "Puerto Ricans Debate Statehood," Aug. 15, is a sad commentary on the self-serving interests behind the debate over statehood. Puerto Ricans' chief concern seems to be what they would gain or lose economically or whether or not they would pay federal income taxes and what welfare and trans-fer payments they would get. Yet the Puerto Ricans are not willing to become part of the great melting pot which blends together many nationalities. These nationalities have, for the most part, subordinated their language of origin to English, but Puerto Rico's new "Spanish only" law shows the desire to stay separate and apart. "Spanish only" is a bad omen; it would mean confusion not only for the Puerto Ricans themselves, but also in their relations with the federal and state governments and in business transactions and industrial dealings. Charles F. Rasoli, Long Island City, N.Y.

No sense in selling oil to Soviets Thank you for the news item regarding the Soviet Union's interests in buying Alaskan oil, News Currents, Aug. 15. When we seemingly have a shortage of oil here in the US, how can the powers in Washington even consider selling some of this precious commodity to the world's largest oil producer? How could we be paid for this, when they have such a shortage of hard currency that they cannot buy necessities for their people? The Soviet Union has a large supply of oil, and it is well documented that they waste it to such an extent that it contaminates their countryside and the environment. Their oil is centrally located for distribution and has been a valuable item to sell for hard currency. We have fought a war in the Persian Gulf for a supply of oil, and now Washington wants to sell our much needed smaller supply to the major oil producer. It doesn't make sense. L. Freeland, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

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