Thursday, June 01, 2006

Frivolous Lawsuits

Every day there is another civil lawsuit. Somebody wanting an inordinate amount of money for what usually is a minuscule wrong, if a wrong has even occurred.

I am here to provide my two cents about how this has gotten out of control. You want to know why healthcare is a sham in this country, a big part of it is the malpractice insurance healthcare providers have to carry to protect themselves from those who wish to profit on death and illness of loved ones. Though the United States still touts itself as a land of opportunity, that opportunity is coming more and more in the form of litigation opportunities. When can I sue someone? How can I get a rich person or entity to do me just wrong enough so I'll be set for the rest of my life?

What makes a lawsuit frivolous? In my opinion, it comes down to a couple of things. The amount of money being sued for (in particular the purely subjective punitive damages), the cause for the lawsuit (the actual incident), and the consequences requiring such large payouts (the ever useful emotional distress etc). If the combination of these things leads to too much money for subjective consequences based on a relatively little incident, we got ourselves a frivolous lawsuit.

In our first installment, we have an Iraq war veteran suing Michael Moore for 75 million dollars for emotional distress and loss of reputation.....oh and his wife suing for 10 million additional dollars for emotional distress to her husband. Sgt. Peter Damon states his feelings were hurt (not his words, but that's what it amounts to) when Michael Moore took a snippett of a quote Damon made and used it for his own purposes in Fahrenheit 9/11. Just to get this straight, the things he said were used out of context. And this out-of-context use caused him 75 MILLION dollars worth of reputation loss and emotional distress. Now, if he were to win the money, his reputation would be able to recover as well as his emotional well-being. I'm sure every day, a stranger walks up to him and comments on his 'cameo' in Moore's film. Now to be fair, I do believe that his comments may have been used out of context and he deserves to let that be known. And maybe a $25000 settlement should come his way. Or better yet, as so many involved in frivolous lawsuits say it's the principle of the matter, perhaps the money should be sent to a charity of Damon's choosing. But 75 million is excessive. And the fact that his wife is suing in a separate lawsuit for, as the article states, because of emotional distress to her husband (not herself) makes this a prime example of what this category will be about.

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