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rebelgtp
rebelgtp Dork
8/15/09 7:10 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: I felel sorry for the kids.. they stand no chance in becoming normal people with parents like that. Having said that.. I hope the judge laughs it out of court

Actually they may have a chance it might be more the mom than the dad. After all he did warn her not to go out in the tornado.

Toyman01
Toyman01 HalfDork
8/15/09 7:16 p.m.
ignorant wrote: I blame liberals and obama.

You so funny!!

+1 on the loser pays, except the lawyers need to be the ones that pay the most. They are the ones that talk these people into suing. Makes me ill.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
8/15/09 8:59 p.m.
Lesley wrote: I agree. When the hell did misfortune become windfall?

It even has a name: 'jackpot justice'.

If you really want to get worked up, check out this site: http://overlawyered.com

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado HalfDork
8/16/09 12:47 a.m.
ignorant wrote: I blame liberals and obama.

ig, that can bend both ways..I could blame conservatives back to Regan for creating a society where suing someone is the only way you can scrounge up enough cash to pay the bills...isn't that why those stupid disclaimers (WARNING! COFFEE IS HOT!) are on everything? The new ones just frighten me..

"DANGER! GLASS WILL NOT WITHSTAND TORNADOS!"

"This vehicle is designed to be operated upon the surface of the Earth. Attempting to operate it while airborne will void the warranty."

No Hondas on the Flugplatz, eh?

keethrax
keethrax New Reader
8/16/09 9:30 a.m.
Jensenman wrote: The best tort reform of all would be 'loser pays', as in loser pays EVERYBODY'S costs: defendant, plaintiff, lawyer fees, court costs, etc. But that'll never happen.

Yeah. So then the company with much deeper pockets can hire a much more $$ lawyer and quite possibly win simply by outspending and then not even have to pay for having done so.

Loser pays is not a good idea.

NYG95GA
NYG95GA SuperDork
8/16/09 9:52 a.m.

Seems like any reasonable judge would throw this out as a frivolous case anyway.

Hal
Hal HalfDork
8/16/09 10:34 a.m.
TJ wrote: since they live in Prince George's County

That explains everthing. You have to live in the DC area to understand.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
8/16/09 11:18 a.m.

About loser pays: the way things are right now anybody can file a lawsuit. Okay, I'm all about that, it works for me, everyone deserves a chance under the justice system.

The problem is that in many cases people file lawsuits in the hope of nothing more than getting bought off. I have seen it more than once.

I worked with a guy who claimed sexual harrassment by the shop technicians and hired a lawyer, I understand that he was presented with a sizeable check to just 'go away'. The word on the street was that he took the check, went to work somewhere else and did exactly the same thing. He's found a 'honey hole'; a very touchy subject with allegations nearly impossible to prove from either side and that would never be brought up in a job reference check. So he collects checks with a little legal assistance. Since the company would have to pay its own costs to defend itself and you never know what a jury will do, it's not cost effective to go to court. In a just world, he'd have to prove his allegations and if he couldn't he should reimburse the company for their costs. Instead, that's not how it works.

I saw a large check written for an injury alleged to be due to a seat belt bolt not being tightened; if you saw what allegedly happened you'd see that it was very unlikely. Again, since the company would have to pay its own costs to defend itself, unpredictable jury yada yada it was deemed not cost effective to go to court.

My dad was sued once by a woman claiming he ran over her in a Wendy's parking lot. (BTW, cautionary tale: driving a red Jag XJS with a vanity plate can make you a target for such shenanigans.) Nothing of the sort ever happened, his car was inspected by the insurance company's investigators and no evidence of such an incident was found, she described my dad as short with 'flaming red hair' (he's 6'5" with medium brown) but my dad's insurance company paid her (and her lawyer) some stupid amount of money to just drop the whole thing.

So there's the 'loser pays' justification. If someone has a real grievance then they should have no problem taking that chance.

keethrax
keethrax New Reader
8/16/09 11:25 a.m.
Jensenman wrote: So there's the 'loser pays' justification. If someone has a real grievance then they should have no problem taking that chance.

If the playing field were remotely level, taking the chance would make sense. Since it's not, loser pays = immunity for the big guy in many perfectly legitimate suits. As who would risk everything (paying for the corporations fees probably = bankruptcy) for any but the most extreme cases?

That's not to say the system as it exists isn't broken. For many of the reasons you point out. Just that loser pays is at least as bad. It's simple and it sounds good, but like most simple solutions, it's not really a solution.

keethrax
keethrax New Reader
8/16/09 11:28 a.m.
Datsun1500 wrote: In reply to keethrax: Loser pays at the end would work. If you believe you will win, it doesn't matter what the other side spends.

People always bring that up, but it's horse E36 M3.

If I have a legitimate issue, I'm now going to risk everything I own and my family's future against a corporation that could outspend me by an order of magnitude or two? I don't think so. Hello corporate immunity in all but hte most extreme of cases.

Even if the courts had a 90% "success rate", I wouldn't take that gamble. And if you trust the court system to get it right on these issues 90% of the time I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

You can't have it both ways. If the system is getting it wrong often enough that it's financially feasible to take your chances on frivolous stuff, then you can't trust it to be right often enough for a loser pays system.

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro HalfDork
8/16/09 7:53 p.m.
NYG95GA wrote: Seems like any reasonable judge would throw this out as a frivolous case anyway.

Any reasonable judge should've thrown out the "I didn't know coffee was hot" case too but.. here we are.

Shawn

Toyman01
Toyman01 HalfDork
8/16/09 8:49 p.m.
keethrax wrote:
Jensenman wrote: So there's the 'loser pays' justification. If someone has a real grievance then they should have no problem taking that chance.
If the playing field were remotely level, taking the chance would make sense. Since it's not, loser pays = immunity for the big guy in many perfectly legitimate suits. As who would risk everything (paying for the corporations fees probably = bankruptcy) for any but the most extreme cases?

Not if the "looser" that is paying is the lawyer that brought the suit to start with. Most of these cases are initiated by some law firm that is making millions fleecing companies because they know that in most instances the companies will settle out of court. The people that abuse the system are costing this country billions. This is money that you spend to pay for the law suits because the companies just pass the cost on to you. We have the most abused system in the industrial world.

From the Foundation for Fair Civil Justice: http://www.legalreforminthenews.com/

“According to the Pacific Research Institute,” continued Dorigo Jones, “$589 billion would be saved per year for investment in new jobs and consumer spending if U.S. tort-cost levels were comparable in relative size with other industrialized countries. This amount equals an annual "litigation tax" for a family of four of more than $9,000."

That means every cup of McDonalds coffee is a little more expensive because some dumb ass cant hold onto her coffee. McDonalds didn't give her the money, you did, every time you eat there.

I have no problem with loser pays. If the company is really guilty the final say is in the hands of a jury. Not some high dollar lawyer that said "evil corporation" hired to stick it to the poor guy.

rebelgtp
rebelgtp Dork
8/16/09 8:59 p.m.
Trans_Maro wrote:
NYG95GA wrote: Seems like any reasonable judge would throw this out as a frivolous case anyway.
Any reasonable judge should've thrown out the "I didn't know coffee was hot" case too but.. here we are. Shawn

Just to play devils advocate maybe she was a time traveler from the future and thought she was ordering one of the crappy iced coffees that McDonalds now sells

oldsaw
oldsaw Reader
8/16/09 9:42 p.m.
rebelgtp wrote:
Trans_Maro wrote:
NYG95GA wrote: Seems like any reasonable judge would throw this out as a frivolous case anyway.
Any reasonable judge should've thrown out the "I didn't know coffee was hot" case too but.. here we are. Shawn
Just to play devils advocate maybe she was a time traveler from the future and thought she was ordering one of the crappy iced coffees that McDonalds now sells

Just to play devil's advocate advocate, she (or her counsel) would have to prove she was a time-traveler.

Otherwise she, her lawyer(s) and you would all lose.

Perhaps the bigger problem is with the judges who let this kind of E36M3 advance beyond the initial case filing.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/16/09 11:24 p.m.

When she decided to go back and argue her case at the school, God tried to kill her with a Tornado. Does she think that she will do better with a Judge?

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado HalfDork
8/17/09 12:56 a.m.
keethrax wrote:
Datsun1500 wrote: In reply to keethrax: Loser pays at the end would work. If you believe you will win, it doesn't matter what the other side spends.
People always bring that up, but it's horse E36 M3. If I have a legitimate issue, I'm now going to risk everything I own and my family's future against a corporation that could outspend me by an order of magnitude or two? I don't think so. Hello corporate immunity in all but hte most extreme of cases. Even if the courts had a 90% "success rate", I wouldn't take that gamble. And if you trust the court system to get it right on these issues 90% of the time I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. You can't have it both ways. If the system is getting it wrong often enough that it's financially feasible to take your chances on frivolous stuff, then you can't trust it to be right often enough for a loser pays system.

x2. Until cases are decided on merit, rather than on who has the "biggest" lawyer power to apply (moneymoneymoney), loser-pay systems are just another gift to big corporations.

In addition, I should mention that if there were still decent jobs for "blue-collar" people in this country, IMO, there woudn't be so many nonsense cases being brought to court in the first place. What's the old joke? "..any nation that graduates three times as many lawyers as it does engineers & scientists deserves what it gets..."

andrave
andrave Reader
8/17/09 9:40 a.m.

I love being a laywer on this board. You guys make me feel so warm and fuzzy.

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/17/09 9:45 a.m.

In re-reading the original news article post, why is the wife a defendant? Wouldn't she be a plaintiff? Or is the husband suing Honda and her??

Josh
Josh HalfDork
8/17/09 10:18 a.m.
Trans_Maro wrote:
NYG95GA wrote: Seems like any reasonable judge would throw this out as a frivolous case anyway.
Any reasonable judge should've thrown out the "I didn't know coffee was hot" case too but.. here we are. Shawn

I hate when people bring up this case in discussions like this. There are a lot of frivolous lawsuits but IMO that wasn't one of them. It is reasonable to expect coffee to be hot. It is not reasonable to expect it to inflict the sort of injury that it did. Maybe the woman who brought the suit didn't 'deserve' to gain financially as much as she did, but the fact is that serving scalding liquids in flimsy paper cups through the window of a car is an unnecessarily dangerous practice. McDonalds policy was to serve coffee at a temperature they knew was dangerous, and someone was actually seriously injured as a result (and she was far from the first). If anything, preventing this sort of activity is exactly why we have the right to sue, not an example of the abuse of this right. If the award was very small, it wouldn't have much effect on a corporation the size of McDonalds.

Buzz Killington
Buzz Killington Reader
8/17/09 11:57 a.m.

Josh, i admire your passion, but the "hot coffee" myth is one windmill at which it's useless to tilt here on GRM.

many GRM'ers hold that one near and dear to their hearts, and damn if the facts are going to get in the way of a good meme.

andrave wrote: I love being a laywer on this board. You guys make me feel so warm and fuzzy.

+1.

Datsun1500 wrote: In reply to keethrax: Loser pays at the end would work. If you believe you will win, it doesn't matter what the other side spends.

sure it does, when they have the ability to bury the little guy in paperwork. it's not hard to force the other side to run up thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in discovery costs before they get anywhere near a courtroom or jury.

there are plenty of good arguments on both sides of the "loser pays" vs. the "american system." it's not something that can or should be decided on sound bites or anecdotal evidence. for every "honey hole" story, there are five others instances in which the well-heeled have avoided accountability simply by outspending their opponents.

and there are plenty of companies that take a very aggressive stance toward what they perceive as frivolous suits; i can name at least five that do not settle any of them, partly to avoid getting a reputation as an easy target, and partly for the principle of the thing.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
8/17/09 12:09 p.m.
dyintorace wrote: In re-reading the original news article post, why is the wife a defendant? Wouldn't she be a plaintiff? Or is the husband suing Honda and her??

It appears that yes the husband is suing her. I haven't been able to find any details though.

The Mickey D's coffee case has been argued ad nauseam on this and many other boards. The short version: McD's coffee was (at the time) served at 180 degrees and that was allegedly too hot. I was told (on this board) that for instance home coffeemakers don't make it that hot; I posted a picture of my home coffeemaker and my infrared pyrometer aimed at the carafe showing 177 degrees. In Europe, coffee averages 190 degrees at serving. Here in the States, other coffee sellers tend to hit right around the 180 degree mark and many have faced lawsuits as a result.

The American consumer expects coffee to be hot, McDonald's (and others) responded to that expectation. Along with the sale of hot coffee there is an unspoken understanding that since said coffee is hot (just as you wanted it) then you have a duty to be careful with that hot product. It was sad that the woman spilled it and was injured, it was an outrage that the original award was $2.86 million, later reduced to $640,000 and then there was a sealed settlement which was allegedly less than $600,000. Still a lot of money.

The best comparison I can come up with was to buy a pistol, drop it and accidentally shoot yourself with it, then decide it's the manufacturers' fault. Oh, wait: http://productliability.cprlaw.com/Woman-Wins-Lawsuit-Against-Gun-Maker--3-7995-216.html

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/17/09 12:20 p.m.
Jensenman wrote:
dyintorace wrote: In re-reading the original news article post, why is the wife a defendant? Wouldn't she be a plaintiff? Or is the husband suing Honda and her??
It appears that yes the husband is suing her. I haven't been able to find any details though. The Mickey D's coffee case has been argued ad nauseam on this and many other boards. The short version: McD's coffee was (at the time) served at 180 degrees and that was allegedly too hot. I was told (on this board) that for instance home coffeemakers don't make it that hot; I posted a picture of my home coffeemaker and my infrared pyrometer aimed at the carafe showing 177 degrees. In Europe, coffee averages 190 degrees at serving. Here in the States, other coffee sellers tend to hit right around the 180 degree mark and many have faced lawsuits as a result. The American consumer expects coffee to be hot, McDonald's (and others) responded to that expectation. Along with the sale of hot coffee there is an unspoken understanding that since said coffee is hot (just as you wanted it) then you have a duty to be careful with that hot product. It was sad that the woman spilled it and was injured, it was an outrage that the original award was $2.86 million, later reduced to $640,000 and then there was a sealed settlement which was allegedly less than $600,000. Still a lot of money. The best comparison I can come up with was to buy a pistol, drop it and accidentally shoot yourself with it, then decide it's the manufacturers' fault. Oh, wait: http://productliability.cprlaw.com/Woman-Wins-Lawsuit-Against-Gun-Maker--3-7995-216.html

Boy, that must be a fun house to be around. "Honey, by the way, I'm going to sue you as well for being a dumb arse".

As for McDonalds, I'm in the camp of the woman was at fault. I've been drinking McDonalds coffee for years. I don't recall it being served in flimsy cups at any point. Nor would I put a cup of hot coffee between my legs, no matter the sturdiness of the cup.

Buzz Killington
Buzz Killington Reader
8/17/09 12:25 p.m.
dyintorace wrote: Nor would I put a cup of hot coffee between my legs, no matter the sturdiness of the cup.

Nor would I. The jury partially agreed with you; it found that she was 20% at fault.

interesting tidbit: she originally asked for ~$20k, the amount of her medical bills (third-degree burns, skin grafting, two years' treatment). McD's countered w/ an offer of $800.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
8/17/09 12:35 p.m.

Yeah, I have to admit that McD's could have done a better job of handling the thing at the outset. Of course, restaraunts go though that kind of thing all the time.

I knew a guy here in Chucktown who would, if he was short on cash, sometimes go buy dinner somewhere or other, then go by in the next day or so and tell them he had gotten sick and suspected food poisioning. Of course the restaraunt manager would freak, put the crew to scrubbing the place top to bottom and offer him a few hundred bucks to drop the whole thing; anything so there wouldn't be an investigation because that could lose them the 'A' rating on the door decal. This guy used to do this every couple of months. Me, I quit hanging around him.

S2Fella
S2Fella New Reader
8/17/09 1:19 p.m.

My wife works for an automotive glass manufacturer and she tells me they get hauled into court on a regular basis for cases just like this. As somebody pointed out, there would be just as many lawsuits if they put laminated sidelights in every vehicle in cases where a driver plunged into a river and couldn't smash his way out etc.

Just as a point of interest, the Chevy Malibu has laminated sidelights, so that is presumably a tornado proof vehicle.

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