Some conservatives and far too many Republicans treat the Constitution as if it is some great big Chinese buffet. “I’ll have a little of the 1st Amendment. A lot of the 2nd. None of the 7th.”
That is not how the Constitution works. Our founding fathers designed it the way they did for a reason.
Many Republicans and some conservatives are quick to jump on the tort reform bandwagon. “We hate lawyers and trial lawyers are big Democrat supporters.”
That still does not change the Constitution and what it says.
Some Republicans throw out the expression frivolous lawsuits out like a boogeyman. As with all rants, those who throw it out simple expect their position to be accepted without discussion.
Are there frivolous lawsuits?
To quote Sarah Palin, “you betcha.”
How many frivolous lawsuits do attorneys file? Very few.
It is simple most attorneys do what they do because they are making money. There is nothing wrong with that. Attorneys do not take frivolous lawsuits. Why? They do not make money off of them. Not only do they not make money off of them, if the lawsuit really is frivolous, the Court could sanction the attorney. These sanctions can include paying the other side’s attorney fees. If the case is egregious or it is a patter the lawyer can be subject to disciplinary actions and even lose his or her law license.
The insurance industry and the American Medical Association have worked in the last few years to change America’s perceptions of lawsuits. A frivolous lawsuit used to be considered one that had no merit. This was a lawsuit that everyone agreed was a waste of time.
Now the Insurance Companies and the AMA want to claim that every lawsuit the plaintiff loses is a frivolous lawsuit.
Recently a friend of mine who is an attorney tried a lawsuit. The facts were not in dispute. The client had a back problem and the surgeon was supposed to operate and repair a bad disk. The surgeon operated on the wrong disk. So not only was the damaged disk not fixed, a perfectly healthy disk was damaged.
Let’s start by asking the obvious question. Does anyone think this is a frivolous lawsuit? The Doctor made a mistake and hurt a patient. None of that was in dispute.
The jury came back in favor of the Doctor.
Does anyone think that man did not deserve his day in court? In fact, part of the American lexicon is “I want my day in court,” or “I’ll see you in court.” Does anyone really believe this man, even though he lost, did not deserve his day in court?
What about those frivolous lawsuits I just mentioned? Some of them come from people who file lawsuits without asking Attorneys whether they have a case. Some of the worst instances of frivolous lawsuits involve prisoners filing lawsuits because they have nothing better to do. They don’t like their peanut butter so they file suit. They don’t like the direction their bunk points, so they file suit.
Those who support Tort Reform scream about frivolous lawsuits. The lawsuit that is generally pointed out is the McDonald’s Coffee case. It seems frivolous that someone wins a multimillion dollar verdict until you realize that McDonald’s sold coffee so hot that if it came into contact with human skin for more than a couple of seconds, it would cause major burns. It may seem frivolous until you realize that the woman who had the coffee spilled on her had to have painful skin graphs done her thighs and groin.
Meanwhile, where are those frivolous lawsuits? We hear they exist but they are like the old Wendy’s commercial, we keep asking, “where is the beef?”
Thanks for the information.
Some conservatives and far too many Republicans treat the Constitution as if it is some great big Chinese buffet. “I’ll have a little of the 1st Amendment. A lot of the 2nd. None of the 7th.
How very true.
Personally, I like a LOT of the 1st and 2nd Amendment and as little involvement with the 7th Amendment as possible.
obama wants to re-write our Constitution..Mr Transparency will not even release his college records,why?We can see the college records of bill clinton,bush ,romney,and many others but obama will not release his,is that telling us something?
Sorry but you didn't convince me about the McDonalds case. Coffee is made with boiling water, which is 212 degrees, and literally, physically, cannot exceed that. If you order coffee, you can EXPECT liquid of that temp to be passed to you. Frivolous lawsuit with jackpot winnings.
Of course it's not the Constitution or 7th amendment that is the problem. It's that juries are drawn from a culture where everyone is a victim and no one takes responsibility for their own choices and everyone wants to win that jackpot, even at the expense of everyone losing (companies don't pay for the lawsuits--all of us customers pay for the lawsuits...duh).
Thank you, Cynthia. You are exactly correct. And it is very important to note that these endless lawyer commericlas, shown only during the workday when those who must PAY for this absurdity are toiling, have contributed greatly to the growth of that culture. Face it, if one has to plant the idea of a lawsuit in someone else's head, it is probably frivolous. For every person who has an erroneous operation, how many thousands trip because they don't bother to watch where they are stepping, and sue the innocent property owner? Sorry Judson, we all know the truth.
Great post, Cynthia.
No, lawyers had the last laugh. The rest of us had to pay it in the form of higher insurance and food costs. Putting a paper cup of boiling liquid between your legs is stupid. Nobody should have to pay someone else's "stupid" bills. Medical bills, yes, ONLY if it was the fault of the vendor. It was not. These were not medical bills, they were "stupid" bills.
Exactly what brilliant government agency was giving the notice that the coffee was too hot? That information only helps one side of the argument, and we all know there are always two sides to each and every argument. We also know that coffee is made from boiling water poured over coffee beans, and that it is best served when it's fresh. That means that the freshest coffee is going to be too hot to drink or wear, unless you sip or blow on it. There is a point at which common sense and personal responsibility play a role. It should also be pointed out that had McD paid the original 20K request, it may have triggered an avalanche of similar demands -- therefore, it is not being mean or evil for them to decide to contest it.
There are frivolous lawsuits. How about the wheelchair bound man in California who sues every restaurant he could find based on the Disabilities Act. Most small restaurants (he doesn't go after the big chains with lawyers on staff) settled. The last one he sued just happened to have a video security system in place and when they went to court, the restaurant's attorney showed the court the man was never in the restaurant on the day in question. The suit was dropped, but the restaurant had to pay their attorney's fees, had to make the changes to prevent getting sued again and had their insurance rates go up. Turns out the man targeted restaurants owned by minorities. This man was represented by an attorney. I get an e-newsletter about ridiculous lawsuits about one a month. You would not believe what people sue over. Take a look at May's best: http://www.facesoflawsuitabuse.org/poll/
So, I have presented you with the beef. Where's the roll, onion, tomato and lettuce? You owe me a burger!
Thanks Jeff for this excellent reply. If we can't refer to them as frivilous lawsuits, perhaps someone can suggest something more appropriate to call them. In fact I can't figure out what Judson's point is..
You are welcome. Ever notice that on-line, the more conservative or rational posters use a real name and the wilder the posts, the more likely the name is a moniker that is used to incite ?
You could use military terminology: BS lawsuits, HS lawsuits and Happy HS lawsuits. :-)