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“The Cruise Industry’s Internet Travel Trolls ” A Failed Rebuttal by Walker & O’Neill (An Internet Cruise Troll?)

[Postscript:  After I first wrote this article, Attorney Jim Walker, of Walker & McNeill posted his article attacking me on the Goldring Travel and my personal Facebook pages.  Being transparency I left them there.  However, Attorney Walker removed not only this article – which I consistently posted on his firm’s (but not his personal) Facebook page – but the  negative comment from others (such as he is a charlatan.].  When you read this article consider if you want to have faith in the words of an attorney who is intentionally deceiving you.  But also consider if you want to use Goldring Travel as a travel agent that is transparent, tells you the truth and puts its clients first.]

Today Jim Walker, Esquire, of Walker & O’Neill posted an article in response to my article the other day:  The Law Firm of Walker & O’Neill – Trying to Defend Their Bringing Frivolous Cases Against Cruise Lines  which, to be sure, is a rather dishonest attempt to personally attack me rather than, as one would think a credible lawyer would do, respond substantively – as his article that started all this promised to do. Note:  In December I wrote an article:  Oceania Insignia – A Fire, Three Lives Lost, Quick Action By Oceania…and An Ambulance Chaser which also suggested Walker & McNeill were not exactly forthright and this, it would seem, also added fuel to Jim Walker, Esquire’s fire.

As you will see, there is a reason:  I pretty much got it right.  In fact I got almost all of it right.

Attorney Jim Walker –
He posted my picture, so why not post his?!

What didn’t I get right?  I had stated that Mr. Walker’s firm had an app to contact them while on a cruise.  I was mistaken and apologize for the error.  The law firm that does have that shameless app is Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A.  You can find that app here.  Mr. Walker wrote:  “I agree that it’s tacky, but it’s not our idea.”  My error probably arose out of the very similar colors and design of their web pages.  (Draw your own conclusions on that.)  Nonetheless I admit on those rare occasions when I get something  wrong.  But that is all I got wrong!

Now before going further I need to point out that in review Mr. Walker’s experience I was a bit shocked that his web page about himself is filled with dozens and dozens media appearances; not any important cruise-related legal decisions he has been involved in. There is no doubt Mr. Walker is out there and he is connected with the media.  But that does not give him credibility…nor does it make up for the lack of it.  (How many talking heads do you believe?)

As for the rest of his article, I believe Mr. Walker got a bit too peeved when he opened the door to this very topic; He was the one that said there is a perception that he brings frivolous lawsuits.  I did not create this out of thin air or decide now was a great time to question a lawyer who regularly sues the cruise lines and posts articles with “shocking” headlines.  Mr. Walker, If you don’t want to get into a discussion about your integrity, don’t bring it into question! 

Why would Jim Walker do such a thing?  
Is there a legitimate reason? Or is he the “Internet Troll”? 

As much as Mr. Walker may not like what I have to say, for him to stoop the the lowest of the low by declaring I am an “Internet Troll” simply underscores my concerns about his integrity.

Anyone who actually regularly reads my blog, or who delves into it for researching something, finds it to be incredibly accurate and refreshing because I say what others will not say.  Mr. Walker – with about as false a premise as possible – claims:

Mr. Goldring fancies himself as a defender of the cruise industry. His website contains diatribes against others who criticize the cruise lines. He attacked the well respected consumer advocate and National Geographic ombudsman Christoper Elliott in an article entitled “Christopher Elliott Engages in Yellow Journalism on MSNBC; A Misleading Attack on the Cruise Industry.” But his articles reveal him to be a buffoon.

Really?  I would suggest Mr. Walker actually doesn’t have a clue about what writes…and I would never, that is “never“, use him as my attorney.  I could give many examples of my not exactly sugar-coating my criticisms of the cruise industry or a particular cruise line, but the fact that on January 9, 2015 I provided links concerning what I perceived as a power play within the NCL-Prestige Cruise Holdings management to the following articles:

This, which is detailed more below, shows that Mr. Walker, the supposedly very qualified and knowledgeable attorney, has engaged in a practice that I warn many about:  Many attorneys work by picking out facts that support their desired conclusion rather than looking at all the facts and figuring out all of the conclusions that could exist.  Such a practice blinds attorneys and results in thousands and thousands of dollars being wasted on lawsuits that little to no merit.

There are folks out there that assert I could not possibly be more critical of things withing the cruise industry!  Ask the cruise lines.  Seriously!

BTW, buffoon?  Would you use a lawyer who is so infantile in his argument that he stoops to calling someone who challenges him silly names?  Didn’t think so!

Why would Jim Walker do such a thing?  
Is there a legitimate reason? Or is he the “Internet Troll”? 

Now, let’s get to that article of mine he cites.  As you will see it shows  Mr. Walker is just dishonest and desires to mislead is that he, as some other lawyers do to my frustration, intentionally leaving out critical words in order to fraudulently garner support for his position as set forth in his brief…I mean article.

Mr. Walker needed to go back to a 2009 writing (yes it is a five year old article…he had to go that far back in my writing to find something, anything, to support his dishonest attack) which was titled: Opinion: “Revenge at Sea” – Christopher Elliott Engages in Yellow Journalism on MSNBC; A Misleading Attack on the Cruise Industry .

Mr. Walker stated the article’s title was “Christopher Elliott Engages in Yellow Journalism on MSNBC; A Misleading Attack on the Cruise Industry.” What good faith reason would there be for Mr. Walker to intentionally omit the beginning to the article:  “Opinion:  ‘Revenge at Sea’:”.

OK, let’s face it Attorney Walker needed – that’s right “needed” to lie to create an issue.  The context is entirely different when I am responding to an article about “Revenge at Sea” rather than some rather innocuous article.  That’s right, dear Mr. Elliott wrote an article about “revenge” against cruise lines that is filled with unsupported and inaccurate assertions. Honestly, the suggestions Elliott makes, and I will be kind here, are from a naive and ill-informed person who spent the start of his article seeking donations to support his plight.  (Want to buy a miracle cure?  For only $9,99…”)

Further, I feel sorry for those that followed may of his silly suggestions.  (Honestly:  You should take a moment to read my Opinion of Elliott’s Revenge.  I must admit I had forgotten about it, but it is a darn good article. And, to be sure, after re-reading it, my first thought is that Christopher Elliott might well be Mr. Walker’s friend.)

Why would Jim Walker do such a thing?  
Is there a legitimate reason? Or is he the “Internet Troll”? 

Now, I am not going to bore you with the legal inaccuracies and myopic views of the law espoused by Mr. Walker.  I have broken no ethics rules. I have not misstated the law.  I need not joust with silly assertions when I say that in many cases if you are more than 50% at fault you will receive nothing is inaccurate, when what I said was:

And then there is the issue of damages: Absent some serious bodily injury they would be minimal…and if you add your potential negligence – whether it be not holding a handrail or having a cocktail or being distracted so you tripped, etc. – that recovery will probably be drastically reduced or eliminated.  (In many instances if you are 50% or more at fault you receive nothing.) 

So there is Mr. Walker dishonestly taking my statement out of context…and, of course, failing to disclose that not every case dealing with a ship needs to be brought in admiralty and that the cost of bringing such suits in federal court (which has admiralty jurisdiction) can make little to no economic sense and that if it were not for the award of attorney’s fees there are many cases that simply make no economic or personal sense for those “mildly” or “superficially” injured.

For example:  In a verdict just the other day (which I am pretty sure will be appealed) a seaman died of lung cancer, but had spent 15 years in Carnival ship engine and machine rooms where asbestos was present.  While such awards – if your attorney can make the connection – can happen, the award was reduced by 65% because he smoked cigarettes for over 20 years.  Apply that concept to a slip and fall case on a ship, take out Mr. Walker’s “expenses” and then his “fee”.  Tell me you think that makes economic sense.

By the way, that punitive damages case Jim Walker, Esquire cited:  He not only got the citation wrong, he wasn’t even counsel on the case. Nonetheless, I would love him to identify one reported decision where punitive damages were awarded against a cruise line on that basis…even if it isn’t his case.  Just one…and it is now seven years since that decision so there has been plenty of time for him to litigate same.

Grandstanding through inaccurate implication:  It is a terrible thing to do. 

Why would Jim Walker do such a thing?  
Is there a legitimate reason? Or is he the “Internet Troll”? 

But I close with the premise my first article posed:

Today I read their January 20, 2015 article which stated, in part:

Many people like to think that cases filed against cruise lines are frivolous, or silly, or filed just for the purpose of trying to get a free cruise and will result in higher cruise fares. Hardly.

Some of the cases which we file reveal the cruise industry at its absolute worst.

Guess what?  I am one of those people and have been taking aim at Walker & O’Neill as of late; not only because some of their claims are, to my mind, frivolous (and embarrassing to me as a law professional), but because they appear in my opinion to be bad faith efforts to cast cruise lines in a false and bad light.

And, I must point out, it is the third sentence that “reveals” (using their words) that they are the legal “industry at its absolute worst”.

Why?  Because the statement should say “Our cases” or “Most of the Cases” or “Many of the cases” which they file reveal something.  Instead they use the word “Some”.  How about “A few”?  Is that any different?

  • What about all those cases that they encourage you to bring to them that never make to an actual claim, no less a filed lawsuit,…because they lack merit?
  • What about all those cases they encourage you to bring to them that are summarily dismissed?
  • What about all those cases they encourage you to bring that result in little to nothing ever winding up in a client’s pocket?

Mr. Walker:  You started the conversation.  Why don’t you stop with the insults and answer the questions?  It is not my job to do your work.  Show us the cruise industry “at its worst”.  Show us that there is not a plethora of frivolous or economically woeful claims.  

Show us.  Don’t dishonestly attack me in an attempt to change the subject.

I look forward to your series of articles defending your practices.  That is how this whole thing started, right?

Now, who is the “Internet Troll”?  Jim Walker, Esquire, of Walker & McNeill, I do believe I have shown that if one has to pick between you and me you would be the one:  Hands Down.

And, again using the term “The Thing Speaks for Itself” in the layman’s sense -as I wrote it originally (and, again, though this is not a negligence case), Mr. Walker I believe your conduct speaks for itself.

Note:  I apologize to Mr. Walker for any spelling or grammatical errors.  LOL.

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