Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Blame Game

Contributed by Auggie
Proud member of the dwindling "never-been-sued" group
We live in a blaming society, pure and simple. I’m not sure how it devolved to this point but negligent behavior is never the fault of the perpetrator, and accidents simply don’t happen. Every undesirable event can ultimately be blamed on a person or organization. This fact is clearly evident in the quantity and content of lawsuits that flood our legal system. There is purported to be a law against frivolous lawsuits, and lawyers could purportedly be disbarred for bringing such suits. But the frivolous lawsuit is a lot like Bigfoot – it’s never really been proven to exist.

I never cease to be amazed by the absurdity of lawsuits I read about. I believe you would be hard pressed to present a hypothetical lawsuit that could be deemed frivolous in the actual world. A hypothetical example I have often used when discussing the topic is this: If I went to the sporting goods store, purchased a baseball bat, and then beat myself to a pulp with the bat, could my family sue Hillerich & Bradsby? After all, the bat has a nice grip and it’s certainly made for hitting things. It’s “foreseeable use” as they like to say in the legal community.

I always thought of my hypothetical example as a sarcastic diatribe against our society’s pervasive and illogical pursuit of legal recourse. So imagine my surprise when I opened the paper this morning and read that someone had indeed sued H&B - and won! Not for the reason I described above, but on the spectrum of absurdity it’s darn close. The case involved the family of a 17 year old boy who was pitching in an American Legion baseball game when he was struck and killed by a batted ball. This is a sad and tragic story beyond words, but does that make the bat manufacturer negligible? Perhaps the family should go after the ball manufacturer as well, and even the organization that built the ball field. And the descendants of Nelson Doubleday could certainly be had. Honestly, I don’t know how any company dares to put any product on the market.

I’ll need to come up with a new hypothetical question to demonstrate how ludicrous I think our legal system is, but I’m no longer sure there are limits. Can I sue my neighbor for emotional distress if they don’t say ‘good morning’? Can I throw my dog out of a moving car and then sue the auto manufacturer for making windows that open? I would no longer be surprised if the answer to both is yes.

If anyone is offended or annoyed by anything I’ve written please remember, it’s not my fault.


  1. This is probably one of the few things on this planet that truly angers me. A lot of stuff bugs or annoys me, but this really makes me angry. It is at times shameful to live in the world we do where everyone lives there life with a certain self-entitlement mentality.

    I read a story of a family who is suing the city because their daughter was texting while walking, didn't see an open manhole cover, and fell in. This family should be sued for raising such a moron.

    I truly feel that frivilous lawsuits should be a capital crime punishable by death.

  2. my only comment is from the greatest lawyer to roam the earth: Lionel Hutz

    Hutz: Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film 'The Never Ending Story'

    Homer: So we have a case?

    Hutz: Homer, I don't use the word 'hero' very often, but you are the greatest hero in American history.

    As voiced by the great late Phil Hartman on the Simpsons.

  3. Anonymous10/29/2009

    Considering my career has been on the casualty side of business insurance-- you can't make the stuff up that people get sued for, and what lawsuits are lost. The jury looks at the poor severely injured kid who got hurt by the batted ball-- looks at the products insurance coverage that H&B has, see's that the parents can't pay the medical expenses, and says 'somebody has to pay'. Lawsuit lost. JD