Crazy Lawsuits Should be Outlawed

We’ve heard stories of completely ridiculous lawsuits in the past. Do you remember the McDonald’s coffee suit? What about the case of a burglar breaking into a lady’s home, hurting himself and then successfully suing the homeowner? There are thousands of cases on the books, and they are often won in a court of law – to the tune of a lot of money. Unfortunately, the trend doesn’t seem to be fading away, as evidenced by three recent separate filings. Each case is nearly identical other than the defendant.

Twitter, MySpace and Facebook are all being sued for sending confirmation messages to a cellular device. In each case, the plaintiffs chose to activate the text-message feature within the service. At some point later in time, the three people each changed their mind and replied with “stop” so that they would no longer receive the communications.

As with any other service out there, the three services all then sent back a confirmation message. This is standard procedure, folks. It’s been done forever, and I’ve honestly never seen someone complain. However, these three individuals have seen the opportunity to make a few bucks, and are pointing to a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This Act was designed to prevent unsolicited communications to cellular devices. It’s used when companies are spamming people and when you have cases of harassment, even. It shouldn’t apply to something that you signed up for willingly and then changed your mind about later on.

I don’t know about you, but I am glad I receive confirmation messages. Imagine you want to receive these little tidbits on your phone. Another person is using your device and decides to play a prank on you by replying “Stop.” Or… perhaps you accidentally do so. Whatever the case may be, it’s good in my mind to have that extra little layer of security in place. The companies are simply making sure there was no error. They don’t continually harass you and try to get you to stay signed up. They don’t send message after message. You receive ONE confirmation notice. Why is that so wrong?

Personally, I think this is a load of hogwash. What are your thoughts?

32 thoughts on “Crazy Lawsuits Should be Outlawed”

  1. I agree, and people who file ridiculous lawsuits ought to be fined or forced to pay the individuals or companies they harass.

  2. Not going to take credit for this. I read it in Gary Shapiro’s book “The Comeback”. Amazing read, highly recommended. But what he suggests is to make the plaintiff pay the defendants legal costs and damages for every lawsuit that is lost, without the defendant having to countersue. I agree with Shapiro in that this would give actual risks to plaintiffs who currently have nothing to lose other than their own legal fees, and would dramatically reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits in this country.

    1. Lawyers ban together and most are very reluctant to sue another of their club. Affordable access to legal recource is the most frewuant rationalization when forcing planitufs to pay defendants for costs comes up as an option. Ever wonder why the trial lawyers lobby gives so much money to support liberal minded representatives? The Declaration if Independance has been replaced, now is the Declaration of Entitlement and Dependance.
      Train up your children in the way they should go.

  3. It’s just people wanting to gain on someone else’s success, it happens all the time and it really should be banned. I am being sued because water falls down my rainpipe(which was constructed by the company owning my apartment) into my neighbour’s balcony and he claims that I make alot of noise, especially in the afternoon, while I am never home at that time, since I am working…

  4. The major problem is that most inurance companies settle out of court because it is typically cheaper to do so. I totally concur that if you bring a frivolous LS tocourt and lose, you should pay. This will most certainly reduce the number of these nonsense matter but we live in the land of stupid politicians and special interest, so it will never happen.

  5. I wish people would stop listing the McDonald’s coffee suit as ridiculous. The victim suffered second and third degree burns, and it came out that McDonald’s had known for a long time that they were serving coffee at a dangerously hot temperature (180-190º), showing negligence on their part.

    1. To all who believe the incredible “PR” put out by those that want “tort reform” perhaps you should do a little more research. Has anyone actually read the “McDonald” case? This case did NOT happen in a car, nor did the plaintiff put coffee between her legs. She won the case because McDonald’s coffee was heated to dangerous levels to keep it hot longer and others had been seriously injured prior to this case. Her award was the equivalent of appx. 3 days profit McDonald’s made on the sale of coffee alone. Those other cases often quoted by the “spin doctors” are often deliberately misquoted, facts twisted or in some cases can not even be found in the law journals, court records, internet searches, or elicit no response when queried for more information to the reporting persons. (Meaning they may even be fictitious) So called “frivolous lawsuits” are often subject to mis-reported facts and even deliberate misleading reporting. As to making losing plaintiffs pay legal costs, that may be a solution but only if losing defendants must also pay the winning plaintiff’s legal fees. (In many, if not most, cases the plaintiffs pay their own attorneys fees from any award they may receive.) The push for “tort reform” is an attempt by many who hope to allow the business community to avoid the costs of their mistakes by denying people the opportunity to get redress for injury. Also, remember that the legal system is part of the free market system that business loves to tout as the greatest economic system the world has ever seen. (They just don’t want the “safeguards” that might cost them money to be a part of that system.)

    2. To all who believe the incredible “PR” put out by those that want “tort reform” perhaps you should do a little more research. Has anyone actually read the “McDonald” case? This case did NOT happen in a car, nor did the plaintiff put coffee between her legs. She won the case because McDonald’s coffee was heated to dangerous levels to keep it hot longer and others had been seriously injured prior to this case. Her award was the equivalent of appx. 3 days profit McDonald’s made on the sale of coffee alone. Those other cases often quoted by the “spin doctors” are often deliberately misquoted, facts twisted or in some cases can not even be found in the law journals, court records, internet searches, or elicit no response when queried for more information to the reporting persons. (Meaning they may even be fictitious) So called “frivolous lawsuits” are often subject to mis-reported facts and even deliberate misleading reporting. As to making losing plaintiffs pay legal costs, that may be a solution but only if losing defendants must also pay the winning plaintiff’s legal fees. (In many, if not most, cases the plaintiffs pay their own attorneys fees from any award they may receive.) The push for “tort reform” is an attempt by many who hope to allow the business community to avoid the costs of their mistakes by denying people the opportunity to get redress for injury. Also, remember that the legal system is part of the free market system that business loves to tout as the greatest economic system the world has ever seen. (They just don’t want the “safeguards” that might cost them money to be a part of that system.)

  6. As for the hot coffee lawsuit: “Caution: knife is sharp; do not stick in eye; pain and/or blindness could result.” Yes, the McDonald’s suit was ridiculous. “Yes, lady, the coffee is too hot to pour on yourself. We recommend that you leave it in the cup until you want to drink it, and we’ve even invented a way to drink hot coffee: it’s called slurping and we’ve got a video up on YouTube that can teach it even to you.”

  7. Here in Australia I have heard of 1) guy goes swimming/surfing in a rough area. Billboard said no swimming, big waves. Guy ignores sign and goes anyway. Wave breaks his back and guy is paralyzed. Guy sues the government cos they didnt say on the sign “Waves big enough to break your spine” 2) guy breaks into old woman’s house, dog bites guy, guy loses finger. guy sues woman, her dog is put down. 3) woman sues man for walking on her lawn.

  8. Who gets to decide what is frivolous? Who gets to rule, “The grievance you suffered doesn’t seem important to me. After all, ‘the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.'”

  9. You need to do a bit of research as to the claim about the McDonald’s lawsuit. The woman had tried to be civil about the issue, but, McDonald’s chose to be arrogant. The whole issue of it looking like a frivolous suit stems from McDonald’s PR campaign about the issue before the trial ever took place. Talk about tainting the jury pool!

  10. There is a lot of hype about the McDonalds’ scalding coffee case. No one is in favor of frivolous cases of outlandish results; however, it is important to understand some points that were not reported in most of the stories about the case. McDonalds coffee was not only hot, it was scalding — capable of almost instantaneous destruction of skin, flesh and muscle. Here’s the whole story.

    Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was in the passenger seat of her grandson’s car when she was severely burned by McDonalds’ coffee in February 1992. Liebeck, 79 at the time, ordered coffee that was served in a styrofoam cup at the drivethrough window of a local McDonalds.

    After receiving the order, the grandson pulled his car forward and stopped momentarily so that Liebeck could add cream and sugar to her coffee. (Critics of civil justice, who have pounced on this case, often charge that Liebeck was driving the car or that the vehicle was in motion when she spilled the coffee; neither is true.) Liebeck placed the cup between her knees and attempted to remove the plastic lid from the cup. As she removed the lid, the entire contents of the cup spilled into her lap.

    The sweatpants Liebeck was wearing absorbed the coffee and held it next to her skin. A vascular surgeon determined that Liebeck suffered full thickness burns (or third-degree burns) over 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas. She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she underwent skin grafting. Liebeck, who also underwent debridement treatments, sought to settle her claim for $20,000, but McDonalds refused.

    During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims involved third-degree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This history documented McDonalds’ knowledge about the extent and nature of this hazard.

    McDonalds also said during discovery that, based on a consultants advice, it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to maintain optimum taste. He admitted that he had not evaluated the safety ramifications at this temperature. Other establishments sell coffee at substantially lower temperatures, and coffee served at home is generally 135 to 140 degrees.

    Further, McDonalds’ quality assurance manager testified that the company actively enforces a requirement that coffee be held in the pot at 185 degrees, plus or minus five degrees. He also testified that a burn hazard exists with any food substance served at 140 degrees or above, and that McDonalds coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured into styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn the mouth and throat. The quality assurance manager admitted that burns would occur, but testified that McDonalds had no intention of reducing the “holding temperature” of its coffee.

    1. So out of MILLIONS of cups of coffee served by McDonalds in the 10 year period from 1982 to 1992, 700 people were burned.
      Sorry for their clumsiness.
      So fine McDonalds X millions dollars, give the woman her 20K and her lawyers their percentage of the 20k.

  11. I wish to add an additional comment to a reply I made to David “Lefty” comment above. All of the above comments may be meaningless in light of a very recent decision of the the U. S. Supreme Court. The Court found that a Federal Law dealing with shipping on waterways form the ’20s applies to all contracts baring plaintiffs from suing in court where they sign a contract forcing arbitration and forbidding “class action” suits. This is enforceable no matter how “unfair” the circumstances or overreaching the contract or whether the consumer had any “real” choice. This decision by a very, very business friendly Supreme Court strips virtually all consumer protections from the public where they have been cheated by a business of relatively small amounts. As had been said before, “Be careful what you wish for, it might be granted”.

  12. Amazing how many attorneys that fill complelled to justify this lawsuit. What is the matter…getting a complex?

  13. Those ridiculous law suits only happen in the US. You guys have a anglon-saxonic law system, except for the Uk and Germany who share the same system, the majority of the countrys in Europe have a roman-germanic law system. In that way i dont see so many of those type of law suits, anyway i would have a blast to see a burgler law suit the homeowner cause he injured himself breaking in lol

  14. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, so there’s another side to the story.
    Chris, are you a lawyer?
    Ever been sued?
    EVER HAD TO SUE?
    I hate to hear people scream “Frivilous Lawsuit!” or Fraud!”. We solve our problems with 1:1 communication,arbitration or litigation. Shall we make it harder for PEOPLE to sue for the sake of making it easier for business and corporations to avoid suit and essentially do as they please.
    NO!
    I am not a lawyer and there aren’t any lawyers in my family.I have been to court-on both sides as plantiff and petetioner and I like it that way. If a suit is without merit let it die within the system.
    Everyone hates cops,lawyers and undertakers until they need one.

  15. I, personally, like the idea of getting a confirmation. And I honestly can’t think of a good reason for them to get mad enough to sue. However, that’s MY opinion. If there is some good reason for them to sue, then they will win. If it’s totally bogus, then they’ll lose. I’m probably just naive, but that’s the way it works, right?

  16. If that one confirmation notice is the only message they received, then I don’t know that they have a chance to win a lawsuit. The reason these things get filed, though, is that lawyers are going to do whatever they’re paid to do.

  17. Here in Europe a lawsuit like that could not happen because we assume you as consumer is not stupid. If you drive a Porsche to fast it is always you fault not the car. If you drink/spill hot coffee it is you to blame not those who sell coffee. What will be next? If choke of eating a burger. Is it to blame MC Donald for making buns like that. If I cut my finger, should I sue those who made the knife? If we start lawsuit for every dumb thing people do there will be no time over to take care of real crimes.

  18. Here in Europe a lawsuit like that could not happen because we assume you as consumer is not stupid. If you drive a Porsche to fast it is always you fault not the car. If you drink/spill hot coffee it is you to blame not those who sell coffee. What will be next? If choke of eating a burger. Is it to blame MC Donald for making buns like that. If I cut my finger, should I sue those who made the knife? If we start lawsuit for every dumb thing people do there will be no time over to take care of real crimes.

  19. Unfortunately, for those who continue to spread the myth of McDonald’s “frivolous” lawsuit, the woman in question received 3rd degree burns when she spilled the coffee, which was heated to 190 degrees F. McDonald’s had been warned previously about having its coffee too hot, and chose to ignore the warnings. If you conduct an appropriate online search , you will see that this case was not frivolous.

    And, yes, there are plenty of ridiculous lawsuits out there and there are plenty of ambulance-chasing types of lawyers. This case was not one of them.

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