"In a semi-related note, there is a new petition to the Whitehouse to make a law that patent lawsuits that find for the defendant automatically fine the plaintiff three times the damages they were seeking."
That's called "treble damages."
Thus the part that reads, "If you cannot afford..."
Why was this modded up to 4 - "Interesting?" I would look up the requirements (i.e. lack of income requirement) for access to the public defender system in your state. In Wisconsin for example --- if you make >$260\week you are not allowed a public defender and have to provide your own council. Let's see -- $260\week -- assuming you never take any vacation -- thats less than $14K a year.
Also - I agree that coercing defendants to settle does happen -- in criminal and civil cases -- but the dockets of courts around the country are already filled -- so sure, we can "break" the system -- but unless you're willing to fight for another century to rebuild the entire judiciary -- its pointless. The reality is, trials are expensive, they suck, depending on the jurisdiction -- you may already be screwed (so settlement is your BEST option), and most people don't have the wherewithal or resources to carry a case through to final judgment.
I have no idea what the answer is -- as I see it, there is no fix or magic bullet...but, demonizing settlement of cases, or plea bargains -- is not the answer. And nor is forcing a trial on someone who will most likely be indebted for the rest of their lives paying legal and court fees -- there is no justice in that -- and in many cases -- it is a worse fate than would have come out of settling.
Yeah ok - AT&T can do it and save millions of dollars (while screwing the customer)...so I guess all those other large companies in the US won't do the same thing because its "wrong" and money doesn't mean anything to them...they're not for profit right?!
Well if that's the case I;ll just take my money and invisible hand and go to another company......oh wait.....
....maybe my only option is not not have a phone, not have internet, not have TV....and just like never buy anything and just not do business with ANY large company that will of course change their policies to reflect the ruling? Sure...ok...you're right...its not forced...I'll just have no modern product or service that most people consider necessary to live...im better than them anyway.