Lawsuits: a way of life

The VIEW from here



Suing people has been a way of life for a number of years now. People will sue other people for the most miniscule of reasons., so much so as we have, at times, lovingly called ourselves a sue-happy society.

It seems people can’t just resolve their differences by talking it over, they almost always resort to the hiring of an attorney and the filing of a lawsuit.

I’ve even had my 7-year-old son has, at times, declared he was going to “sue” if he didn’t get what he wanted — prompting me to remind him of how dad’s legal system works.

I did a little research into frivolous lawsuits before writing this and felt I should share with you some of the stories I found.

• In 1991, Richard Overton of Michigan sued Anheuser-Busch for false and misleading advertising. Overton’s complaint was he did not experience the fantasies of beautiful women and a lush tropical settings for the Bud Light truck, as depicted in Bud Light ads on TV. He further complained to have suffered emotional distress, mental injury and a monetary loss of more than $10,000 due to the misleading ads. OK, seriously, this man believed the beer company should compensate him because he didn’t get the girls shown in the ads? Good thing the Axe body spray commercials weren’t out back then, or he would expect to be mauled by women no matter where he went.

• In 1995, a man named Robert Lee Brock sued himself for $5 million. He claimed he violated his own civil rights and religious beliefs by allowing himself to get drunk and commit crimes. His lawsuit was tossed by a Virginia judge with good common sense. I’m not sure how he actually expected to pay himself when he was in prison at the time, looking at a life sentence. Last time I checked inmates didn’t receive a paycheck. Strange.

• With lawsuits you no longer need to be responsible for your own actions, you can just blame it on Hollywood. Back in 1996, the family of Patsy Ann Byers sued director Oliver Stone, Warner Brother and others involved in the making and distribution of the movie Natural
Born Killers.
The family tried to claim the movie caused two young people to go on a crime spree which resulted in one suspect shooting

the other during a robbery, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. While it was the couple that perpetuated the crime, in the end the family chose to blame it on the movie. The portion of the case aimed at Stone and his associates was dismissed in 2001.

• If you get scared at haunted houses, maybe it makes sense not to go through one of the Halloween attractions, right? One woman sued Universal Studios for $15,000 back in 2001 claiming to have suffered extreme fear, mental anguish and emotional distress after visiting Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights haunted house. OK, so if you’re going to a haunted house attraction, isn’t the “haunted” and “Halloween” parts enough to warn you it might be TOO SCARY? Next time stick to theme parks like the Magic Kingdom instead of the one’s you know are going to scare you.

This is just a sampling of the frivolous lawsuits out there. Sometimes its hard to believe half these cases get as far as they do, but let’s hope our legal system continues to weed out the good lawsuits from the bad.

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