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Suing Because of Stupidity, October 22, 1995 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

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archived soapbox: October 22, 1995
"Suing Because of Stupidity" [permalink]
    keywords: Starbuck's, McDonald's, tort law, tort reform, legal system, suing
    soapbox #: 3
    written: October 22, 1995
    words: 772

"Suing Because of Stupidity", an Essay

You know who these people are. They're the people who have restaurants and businesses going nuts. Yes, they're people who are not only stupid and clumsy, but also think it's fine to get compensated for what screw-ups they do.

Still don't know who I'm referring to? Starbuck's Coffee has been a victim of this twice -- a customer buys some coffee and spills it on herself, and then sues because the coffee was too hot. One or two other restaurants which serve coffee also got sued because of people like this. About a year ago, a woman sued because she fell off the second floor of the Ballpark in Arlington (where the Texas Rangers play). Hundreds of other cases have won the "victim" money. These people are the target of my soapbox this week.

Okay, someone buys a cup of coffee and gets in the car, putting the coffee in her lap. Sure, lots of people do it. But this person manages to spill it in her lap, and then has the guts to sue Starbuck's Coffee because the coffee was too hot! And she won that case! That case set a precedent; numerous other people have "accidentally" spilled coffee in their laps, making big bucks from the settlement. No doubt they did it because they knew they could get away with it. Next, a woman, enjoying a Rangers games (with the help of a little beer, I may add), decides she wants to dance next to the railing. An attendant asks politely for her to stop, but she doesn't. Next thing she knows, she has a great seat in the bottom level behind the plate. And she gets money from her stupidity too!

Now, how do these people get the idea that they can sue for doing something most people would be embarrassed to even mention? Is it their lawyers? If so, then lawyers sure dig deep for cases these days. We already know how slimy lawyers are from the OJ Simpson case. They'll stop at nothing to win their case; not even if it extends to absurdity. Okay, so how do these silly people win their cases? I suppose it's because the lawyers are very good at pulling the sympathy vote. If I were a judge and this case was brought before me, I'm not sure I could take part without laughing. I'm sure real judges feel that way. They have a lot more important cases than examples of nonsense to deal with, such as murders, burglaries, and harassment suits.

For these above reasons, I bring to the debating table the "Stupidity Clause of 1995". Under this clause, all silly, stupid, or hilariously funny cases may be thrown out at any point during the cases' progression. A fine may also be given by the judge, the amount determined by the number and length of the laughs in the courtroom. "Did you slip on a water puddle outside a hospital? Poor thing, pay your $40 and get out of here. Wait, someone's still chuckling. Make that fine $45."

But seriously, these little cases affect not only the victim, but also everyone who is involved in the judicial system, the workers at the place where the blunder was committed, and everyone who goes to that place. For instance, I think I remember someone suing McDonald's because their coffee was hot. McDonald's, for their own safety, lowered the temperature of their coffee. So what about those many hard-working citizens in the US who like their coffee hot in the morning? Tough luck. You may do something dumb and spill it on yourself. As for the woman who fell off the balcony at the Ballpark in Arlington, the staff at the stadium had to install higher railings so that people wouldn't fall over those. This obstructed the view for many fans watching their team. Meanwhile, some woman's just become richer because she can execute a drunken-monkey swan dive off the second floor of a baseball stadium.

I know that yes, these people probably were seriously hurt. But it's no one else's fault. Take some responsibility and don't cause others to suffer because of your mistake. Once one person gets away with doing something stupid, a lot of other people will try it as well. In other countries, these people would be ridiculed, but in the US, they're awarded with money.

Awarded with money...hey, wait! Tune in next week when I tell you how much money I'll get for sticking my finger in this electricity outlet right here...! *zap*



 
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