We all feel incredible sympathy for 23 year-old Eva Rowe, who famously lost both her parents in a 2005 explosion at a British Petroleum (BP) oil refinery in Texas City.
But more than two years after the tragedy we have to wonder-- will her paid agents ever tire of patting themselves on the back for their actions on her (and their own) behalf?
Case-in-point, a press release we received this week from the Chicago-based publicist of Rowe's Beaumont-based lawyer, touting his receipt of a "national public service award" from the nation's largest trial lawyers' organization. He lauded himself for the lawsuit he filed against BP, in which he demanded $1.2 billion in damages for his client's pain and suffering.
Earlier this year, the same publicist publicly "nominated" the same plaintiff's lawyer as a candidate to receive another "humanitarian" award for his billion-dollar BP lawsuit efforts, this from a citizens group that promotes workplace safety and heath issues.
"(My client's) hard work and actions, on behalf of Ms. Rowe, received positive, international, media coverage that reflected a positive light on all attorneys," the publicist wrote in his impassioned plea to the group for recognition. "60 Minutes, the Today Show, the Wall Street Journal, the Houston Chronicle, the Financial Times, The Times of London, the New York Times and the Associated Press are examples of the positive press received."
Forgive us for touching this taboo, but the real purpose of our court system is to ensure justice prevails, not act as a mechanism to generate "positive press" for those seeking to capitalize on another's misfortune.
And let's be clear-- these overt, gaudy attempts to turn public compassion for Ms. Rowe into self-serving publicity are just that.
Like the other victims of the Texas City explosion, Ms. Rowe suffered immeasurably. And as compensation, she received a hefty settlement from BP that didn't make it into a press release. Her "humanitarian" lawyers want to keep the number confidential-- lest they look greedy for taking one-third for themselves. But if it equaled even 10 percent of the billion plus demanded publicly, Ms. Rowe, her children, their children and their children's children will never have to work a day in their lives.
We know, we know. Even such generational wealth won't be able to replace James and Linda Rowe, her lawyers have assured us. But can it at least buy the rest of us a break from their own relentless self-aggrandizement?