Friday, January 10, 2014

A Good Lawsuit To Keep Life Interesting

I am all for fairness.  In my perfect world people would practice the Golden Rule and treat others the way they would want to be treated.  But the Golden Rule is fast becoming obsolete in favor of the Brass Rule - get as much as possible without regard to person, property or well-being.  And thus, people who have been unfairly treated need to have a way to make it right and to let others' know that if you treat others unfairly, you will pay the consequences. But to what extent do you want to rely on legal action to get your point across?

I've been involved in litigation before--litigation that I felt was of paramount importance. I felt that if I didn't pursue,  I would be violating my moral principles.  If I didn't pursue legal action, my children would later wonder why.  I ended up sacrificing much--in financial resources and relationships, but did gain my integrity and peace of mind for today.   It's a tedious and draining process and what I've learned is that the only ones who come out unscathed are the attorneys.  They come out a lot richer.  We are at the mercy of a court system overloaded, over-biased and monolithic.  Why would anyone ever want to go through that? 

I've recently heard about a few cases where people apparently felt it was worth the trouble to go through the legal process. Some of the cases I felt were absolutely necessary and others, frankly, were ridiculous, frivolous and greed-based.  As Jack Kingston said, "Frivolous lawsuits are booming in this country. The U.S. has more costs of litigation per person than any other industrialized nation in the world and it is crippling our economy."

Here are some that I ran across--some I feel are necessary and others are completely ridiculous!

A woman sues MacDonalds for getting burned by coffee, 11 years after a similar lawsuit with a huge verdict.

A man sues Warner Brothers for having 166 suspiciously similar situations in the movie, 'The Matrix', comparable to his own, earlier, less successful screenplay.  Damages are for $300 million dollars.

A man sues his ex-wife for $120,000 because his children are too ugly.  It turns out that she had not disclosed her extensive plastic surgery before they were married and that she was the genetic cause of the looks of her children.

A hospital keeps a brain-dead pregnant mother on life support, despite her family's request to take her off life support and say their final good-byes. The family is suing the hospital. 

A hospital wanted to take a brain-dead teenager off life-support despite her family's request that she be allowed to live until such time as they are ready to say their final good-byes.  The family sued the hospital.

A police officer became upset that a woman wouldn't expose herself to him and pursued her at her place of work.  When she still wouldn't comply, he zapped her repeatedly with a taser gun.  She is suing for damages.

 A class-action suit was brought up against the manufacturer of a hair-smoothing product that claimed to smooth and tame the hair in 30 days.  The suit says the company failed to notify women of the potential dangers the product had, namely the hair falling out in large amounts!

A woman takes Fosamax to increase bone-density only to discover that it introduced a virus that attacked her jawbone, almost killing her and making it necessary for extensive surgery and even then, never restoring her to her previous condition.  This is only one in hundreds of people claiming degenerative injury to the jaw bone and other parts of the body.

A woman buys Nutella and decides to feed it to the kiddos.  She decides to sue Nutella, and wins, because she feels that it has false nutritional advertising.

A man felt like the price of his 2 Super Bowl tickets was way too high, $4000 to be exact, so he opened up a lawsuit against the NFL for not offering enough tickets to the general public.

If YOU feel like you have been treated unfairly by a person or a company, here are a few questions to ask yourself before going through with what I promise is a brutal process to justice.  Plus, it's a definite gamble that you come out ahead, even if you think it's a great case, 

1.  Is it worth the trouble?  I love what Nicole Kidman blithely declared.  "I have a different approach.  I don't file lawsuits because I really don't care."  Maybe what she's really trying to say is it's just not worth the trouble to care that much,  I'll just get over it and save myself the trouble.

2.  Will it cost you more than you end up getting?  Many times, even if you have a valid argument, the cost alone is prohibitive.  The courts have the power to only tell you that you are entitled to compensation.  They don't have the power to collect it.  Therefore you could end up spending much more than you get back.  

3.  Do you want your name to be associated with the case?  Many times, friends and family will find out what is going on with you and will make inevitable judgement calls whether they mean to or not.  It's just human nature.  Be prepared for your identity to be associated with your litigations for a long time.  Sometimes, as in the above cases, the media gets wind of it and then you will have many people giving unwanted feedback on your case and even influencing the eventual outcome.

4.  Will it matter in 20 years?  In many cases, what matters so much now is a moot point as water passes under the bridge.  If you can, in any way, see that this may not be so important some time from now, think about dropping the whole thing. 

I still think it's a great thing that we can pursue legal remedy for wrongs done and rights pursued.  I think, however, that we need to think carefully about which wrongs and rights should be brought into litigation.

Now the clincher.  These opinions are mine and were not sponsored.  This blog is copyrighted and is solely the property of A GAL NEEDS...Any attempt to steal content or take ideas without written consent will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!


Unknown said...

Hi stopping by from
You'd left a comment a while ago and I totally didn't respond, sometimes they just get away from me! So I'm stopping by for a visit!
These stories make me both shake my head and scare me a little... I have a photography business and hearing the stories of what people will blame on others is cra-cra!

Anonymous said...

You bring up an interesting point - the courts can assign a judgement amount, but I wonder how many folks actually ever collect? Some awards are in the millions, and the attorneys get a healthy percentage! Much food for thought here, our court system is inundated with so many frivolous lawsuits, one has to think long and hard before bringing a suit, even one with merit. We have the best court system in the world, but at times it's still a double-edged sword!

First Time Mom and Losing It said...

It's so sad how now a days people sue for anything.

Unknown said...

wow!! This world is getting so obsessed with money its sad.

mail4rosey said...

I lived in Florida, and though I did love my time there, the silly lawsuits were rampant (for sure).

Kimberly said...

Hi! Visiting from the Moon Facebook group. Great article, comical and head shaking at the same time. It's not quite as easy to sue for things here in Canada but there are still some weird suits. It never fails to shock me sometimes when cases you think will win don't or the other way around.

My Life N Kids said...

I agree with you. There are certain times when a lawsuit my be necessary. It seems there are soooo many frivolous ones these days. People must have waaaay to much time on their hands. Greediness will get a person nowhere.

Anita L said...

I had a terrible accident years ago in which I was certain I should win my case. I will forever live with a plate and screws as a result. Long story short, I lost the case. Guess you can't sue the city. Makes ya wonder how stupid silly cases can win millions and people like myself walk away with thousands in medical bills and nothing but tragedy.

A GAL NEEDS... said...

I'm so sorry for your loss and do wonder at how these cases are arbitrated. Many times it seems not in fairness, certainly.