Sunday, June 8, 2008

Out of Control Lawsuits a Drag on Consumers

Every so often you hear of lawsuits for crazy things like suing PetSmart because a transplant donor got a sick hamster from there, and after dying and having donated organs, various recipients died.
I’m sorry for your loss, but poor testing of the donor’s organs to find out if they are healthy to donate, is hardly PetSmart’s responsibility.

Just google “ridiculous lawsuits, and a whole host of sites will pop up telling you notorious lawsuits.
Discusses what they consider to be the 10 most ridiculous lawsuits of all time. While most of these were thrown out, fighting these lawsuits can cost companies millions of dollars, which are factored into the cost of doing business, aka the cost of goods or services sold, meaning defending and or settling these lawsuits are factored into the price that you and I pay for these goods and services.

Many of you may remember the phony finger in the chili at Wendy’s lawsuit that was planted by the plaintiff. Not only did Wendy’s have to defend themselves, they had to do some serious damage control after their image suffered because of the false accusation. Even if sales are back to normal, that income is lost forever. Who is supposed to pay for that? Who’s deep pockets can they go after to sue to recoup that money?

My solution is to pass loser pays legislation. And if the client doesn’t have the money, then the law firm representing them assumes that responsibility. And if either say “so what, I have no money for them to take,” then both the client and the lawyer become employees of the company they sued at minimum wage until the debt has been satisfied.

Unfortunately there are many legitimate reasons and needs for lawsuits, but they seem to pale in comparison to frivolous lawsuits that are in court. And the only people winning are the lawyers. They are walking away with most of the money. And they are ruining what could be a perfectly useful legal system at the hope of hitting a lottery of a case. At least this way, they would have assume more responsibility and do more research and fact checking before agreeing to represent a client and proceed with a lawsuit.

I’m sure there are many honest and responsible lawyers out there doing good, we just hear about the ones moving forward with the ridiculous lawsuits that are costing the hardworking people their hard earned dollars. And now you know the story of how lawyers got a bad rap. (or is it rep?)

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