This story concerning a lawsuit brought by a paparazzi photographer against Kanye West for battery caught my attention. It was not the Kanye West portion. It was not the paparazzi part. It was the apology section of the story that was interesting.
In most lawsuit settlement documents, often referred to as “Releases”, there is always a paragraph whereby the Defendant denies liability for the alleged tort and states that settlement is being made only to avoid the hassle of litigation and a trial. It is pretty standard language. However, in this case, a condition of the settlement was an apology from the Defendant, Mr. West. This is highly unusual.
Our society is a forgiving one. Many a person, politician or celebrity has made mistakes, asked for forgiveness and been forgiven. However, it is generally a requirement that an apology be made before forgiveness is given. In addition, an apology assumes and indicates an admission of guilt. In civil lawsuits, Defendants rarely, if ever, acknowledge guilt or apologize.
However, maybe they should. I have had many clients tell me that they would never have brought a lawsuit if the wrongdoer had merely admitted guilt and apologized. I believe that many lawsuits could be avoided simply by a Defendant admitting wrongdoing and apologizing for it.
Further, contrary to popular belief, not every Plaintiff is just merely looking for money. I have had numerous clients ask the same thing that the photographer in this case sought, a simple apology. Good for him that he insisted that an apology be part of the settlement.
If you have been injured by a person who refuses to accept responsibility for his/her actions, please contact us at 512-562-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.