Sunday, July 10, 2005

Up To Our Eyeballs In Litigation

One of the liberties granted in this country is our right to sue anyone we wish for anything we like. While this is a cherished and much needed venue for the personal pursuit of justice, one has to wonder if the system is being misused. Following are some examples of litigation that have made the news in recent years; see if you can pick out the fictional example: 1. A woman sues McDonalds and wins $50 million because she spilt hot coffee on herself, 2. An illegal alien derelict sues the city because he gets drunk, falls onto train tracks, and loses his legs when run over, 3. A woman sues the Pop Tart Co. because one caught fire in her toaster, 4. Two teenage girls sue their school for $40 million because they did not make the cheerleading squad, 5. A burglar sues the man who’s home he broke into because he hurt himself during the robbery, 6. A woman in California sues the tobacco company and wins $54 billion because she claims to have been unaware that smoking was harmful, 7. A man sues four different fast food chains for causing his obesity, several heart attacks, and other health problems, 8. An illegal Mexican alien sues Texas and is awarded millions after becoming disabled from diving into a body of water below a dam because the numerous warning signs there were in English, not Spanish, 9. A Dominican Republican native who said his boss badgered him with racial slurs every day gets a $4 million ruling from a federal jury, 10. A Muslim woman sues Florida for taking her driver’s license after she refused to remove her veil for the picture, 11. Another Muslim woman sues an airport for making her remove her turban in the security line, 12. A college student sues his school after he gets drunk and falls off of his balcony injuring himself, 13. In a product-liability suit the Hershey Co. is ordered to pay $135 billion in restitution fees to 900,000 obese Americans, 14. Prisoners in a federal penitentiary, claiming their First Amendment rights were violated, bring a class-action lawsuit because they were banned from watching R-rated movies, 15. A man wins over $11 million in New Jersey after falling off of another man’s porch.

Okay, ready for which of these frivolous lawsuits is counterfeit? The answer is none! Sadly and unbelievably, all of the aforementioned examples are actual cases of litigation. “Undoubtedly”, you say, “the judges involved in these cases surely must throw them out”; that statement would say much about your naiveté. “Well then”, you jest, “juries must be able to sieve through the bologna and come to a sensible and respectable verdict!” All right, now you are embarrassing the both of us.

Lawyers and judges are the fiends behind this insanity. They are the culprits of this debacle that is corrupting the inner-workings and very fiber of our society. Now, it pains me to have to say this, but I am required to do so- I am generalizing, of course. Not all lawyers and judges are swine. There are many cases of legitimate litigation out there. Now that I have gotten that sorrowfully necessary statement out of the way, we can continue. Imagine all of the warning labels you see sprayed everywhere mottling the landscape. Have you ever wondered why they are there? It is because someone, after hurting themselves by doing something incredibly imbecilic, sues an organization, wins, and now (thanks to their lawyer who gets about 40% of the settlement), the establishment that got swindled has to implement warning labels forevermore. Here are some examples: Sears hairdryer- “do not use while sleeping”, Rowenta iron- “do not iron clothes on body”, Boot’s Children’s Cough Medicine- “do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication”, Nytol Sleep Aid- “WARNING, may cause drowsiness”, Superman costume- “wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly”, Swedish chainsaw- “do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals”, baby strollers- “remove child before folding”, on trash compacters a picture of a person placing their head inside with a line through it indicating “do not do this”…and the list goes on. Judges are another problem altogether. They can reverse court decisions, many are appointed for life, and they are not required to have their opinions printed in official court publications. Bad judges are harder to remove than Charles Manson’s psychosis, and just as difficult to contact. Those judges who have their own daytime TV shows seem more like standup comedians than demur and intelligent interpreters of the law.

The current state of litigation in this country is entering the land of the absurd and is downright dangerous. Health services are declining and prices are skyrocketing due to the current malpractice insurance crisis involving doctors in this country. When will we wake up and incorporate common sense into our justice system? Why do the American people allow this insanity to continue? When will they demand reform? Serious contemplation of the answers to these questions can cause one to tremble uncontrollably. Too many of us seem content to live in the world as we wish it were rather than how it actually is. We must learn to face reality and deal with things as they are before we can change them for the better. The cost of this ludicrousness in money, health, lives, and individual liberty is chilling. Something must be done now before it is too late. The clock is ticking.

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