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Ridiculous lawsuits on parade

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
Friday, January 11, 2013
Posted: 10 am ET

Sometimes the best Christmas presents arrive late.

My tardy surprise this year was the discovery of a website called FacesofLawsuitAbuse.org, which made my holidays a little brighter with this list of the 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2012:

  1. Intoxicated Florida driver pleads guilty to manslaughter, then sues victim he killed.
  2. Michigan woman files $5 million suit to get back the gas in the tank of her repossessed car.
  3. A 13-year-old Little Leaguer is sued by a spectator who got struck by a baseball.
  4. A maximum-security inmate who went to jail with five teeth sues prison for dental problems.
  5. Anheuser-Busch is sued after a long-neck bottle is used as weapon in bar fight.
  6. A National Football League fan sues the Dallas Cowboys over hot bench.
  7. A California restaurant owner is sued over disabilities-act violations in a parking lot he doesn't own.
  8. A Colorado man wins $7 million over an illness he says was caused by inhaling microwave popcorn fumes.
  9. A $1.7 billion suit claims Santa Monica, Calif., wireless parking meters cause health problems.
  10. Parents sue a school after their son was kicked out of an honors class for cheating.

There's a sobering purpose behind this list. The site is the brainchild of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), which uses any tool at its disposal -- including trenchant humor -- to prevent economic and human damage from what it calls "lawsuit abuse."

That term is a far less forgiving one than its predecessor, "frivolous lawsuits," which seemed to trivialize the damage that our increasingly litigious society exacts on all of us. According to the ILR, the cost of lawsuits in this country, when measured as a percentage of gross domestic product, is more than double that of any other industrialized nation.

Translation? "We sue too much," says Lisa Rickard, ILR president.

The growing cost of abusive litigation factors heavily into the premiums we pay on our homeowners insurance and auto insurance policies and the products and services we buy from small businesses. Questionable lawsuits wreck lives, reward gold-diggers and tax our court system.

To try to correct this course, FacesofLawsuitAbuse.org provides a platform for victims of lawsuit abuse to tell their stories via video. Most of these first-person stories might air once if at all on a local TV broadcast and disappear forever. ILR hopes its accumulation of victim videos will have an impact greater than the occasional segment on the nightly news.

To keep the clicks coming, FacesofLawsuitAbuse.org hosts an interactive poll where you can vote for the most ridiculous lawsuit of the month.

Log on for the laughs, stay for the outrage. It's going to take public awareness and engagement to prompt action on lawsuit abuse.

(Thanks to "Terms + Conditions" blogger Claire Wilkinson at the Insurance Information Institute for tipping me to this important site.)

Follow me on Twitter: @omnisaurus

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52 Comments
BabyGirl
January 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm

And Lou Kady probably was the lawyers on all of those. His style.

jeff
January 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm

i think i'll sue you all who commented on here!!!

Ed Keegan
January 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm

If it were not for lawers we would have televisions, coffee makers, automobiles and a host of other products that would catch on fire, electricute or harm us. And yes, I like loser pays.

Craig Glover
January 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Solution? What Great Britain does - loser pays. If a frivolous suit is dismissed the plaintiff pays all the court costs and lawyer fees.

mike G.
January 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm

OMG,how nice it would be if we didn't have lawyers. O yes, that's right. No A. lincoln and No T. Jefferson and friends who wrote our constitution, No bill of rights, no first and second ammendments. Where would we be???

Ken
January 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Most, if not all, frivolous lawsuits are dismissed and thrown out of court. Does the writer of this article say that and give a balanced picture of this point? No.

hate lawyers
January 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Lawyers ruined everything. They're social leeches. And Ivy league colleges are pumping them out left and right. The senior lawyers make a never ending stream of new laws to keep their preferred lawyers in business, and the colleges full.

Truth is we've to 10x the amount of laywers we need. And we'd all be better off with many many fewer lawyers out there. High paid liars. But if you have enough money, you can bribe your way out of anything, as long as you have a lawyer or a lobbyist.

David D
January 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm

People can sue for anything, but it doesn’t mean that they won their case. I can sue any one for a bad remark to my comments as injurious to my reputation. If I could win the case, I would have a gold mine just on this site.

God bless the US Courts of America!! Now go out there and SUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

George Jake
January 21, 2013 at 11:41 am

People will be greedy and stupid! It's the judges that support these lawsuits that scare me!

greatmomof3
January 21, 2013 at 9:58 am

Well, All I have to say is I fear for my children and hope in teaching them the values I was raised with (the old fashion ones where you treated outhers with respect and yourself)things will circle back to a better society! Hey Gneration "Give it to me" yeah most of you 25-32 year olds! You have to have respect for yourself, others and get your behind working hard if you want something...stop looking for easy ways out or expecting others to hand it over! DONT GO RANTING for those of you not fitting in here...I said MOST mot ALL! Love one another for the greatest of these is Love.