Monday, October 20, 2014

Stop passing the buck

stupid lawsuits
If there is one thing I have learned in the legal business it's that if people took more control over what they did (or didn't do), there would not be so many lawsuits.  I know it's an outdated notion but think about it.  If people acknowledged that it's their own fault for stubbing their own toe and not fault of the shoe or furniture manufacturer, how much less litigation would there be?

Take, for instance the false advertising lawsuit against makers of the Red Bull energy drink.  Personally the stuff makes me gack but, apparently, a number of people were upset that they didn't actually grow wings when they drank Red Bull.  Really?!? People out there thought they would be flying through the skies after drinking a caffeinated drink?  Sad, so very sad.

While you might this that's a pretty sad reason for a lawsuit, it wasn't the saddest.  For instance:
  • A Nebraska man filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart alleging that his wife died by defective grocery bag.  Apparently, the bag tore open on the way to her car and dropped a can on her foot.  The can cut her foot, her foot became infected, her infection spread throughout her body eventually killing her.  Nebraska man is seeking $696,000 in damages.  What I want to know is why didn't she take some responsibility, clean the festering wound and put a bandage on the cut?!  No, let's just let it fester until we have a lawsuit.
  • Scott Simon, 17, went to a party in New Jersey in 2011, where he was offered Xanax stolen from a local pharmacy. He overdosed, slipped into a coma and suffered permanent nerve damage. The party host, his out-of-town parents, the other partygoers, Xanax manufacturer Pfizer and the looted pharmacy were all responsible, naturally.  A settlement of $4.1 million paid by the pharmacy and the host’s parents.  What I want to know is - why was this kid allowed to be out by himself?  What part of personal responsibility don't people get?!  If you do drugs, you're going to do something stupid.  Suck it up and move on (unless you're in a coma - in which case, serve as notice to everyone else what not to do).
  • A prison inmate sued himself for getting arrested. Two years earlier, Robert Lee Brock got drunk, broke into some storage compartments in Virginia and got pinched. He then sought $5 million in damages from himself, (payable by the state) since he couldn't work.  Of course, he couldn't just resist the urge to rob from other people.  That would require personal responsibility.
  • When a student at Sterling Regional High School in Somerdale, NJ, was kicked off the track team because of his unexcused absences, his dad filed a $40 million lawsuit, claiming the dismissal will cost his son college scholarships.  Of course, we can't tell the son to get to class and stop screwing around.  Again with the personal responsibility thing.
  • A group of Idaho inmates are suing 8 brewers for not warning them of the dangers of alcohol.  One inmate wrote. “At no time in my life, prior to me becoming an alcoholic, was I ever informed that alcohol was habit forming and addictive.”  Uh, yeah.  I got nothing here.
Reading these lawsuit, you can see a running theme - a refusal to accept responsibility for one's actions.  Sad that some people think the world "owes" them.  Sadder still is that the courts won't stop these types of lawsuits and allow them to continue to "social menace" status.