Thursday, August 23, 2007

Con Man or Average Citizen? Pursuing Zany Jury Awards

--Legal adjudication. Situation comedy, or psychological fantasy? Today it is often difficult to tell the difference.

More and more plaintiffs and trial lawyers are chasing unconscionable quick buck pay-offs, using con man tactics. Which came first, pillage or burn? This seems to be the the question asked by these people in going to court.

Is it the water, something they're smoking? Or, is it just plain, blind greed played out to a ridiculous extreme? Whatever the reason, frivolous law suits, pursued by supposedly mentally-stable people, have literally gone through the roof of the U.S. court system. After reading the following sampler, you decide whether this more represents the American system of jurisprudence--or the Twilight Zone, featuring a cast of con man players.

> The Chicago Cubs sue freeloaders who watch their baseball games through holes in their Wrigley Field fence. This violates their copyright it's claimed. This sounds like a legal case filed by Goliath against David.

> In San Francisco a teen throws herself off the Golden Gate Bridge. This violates the teen's constitutional right not to be deprived of life without due process of law, is the charge of her mother in a law suit filed against the Bridge's Board of Directors. Deep pockets, anyone?

> A movie has bad guys driving a bulldozer. Manufacturer of the bulldozer sues, because showing bad guys driving their product "disparages" the brand's good name.

> Man, armed with shotgun, is confronted by property owner. Burglar attacks man who shoots in self-defense and kills him. The man's family sues property owner, and even though district attorney has declared the shooting justified, wins the case. Illogical? The whole thing sounds about as likely as peanut butter sliding off toast.

> A group of rowdies drive around throwing lit fireworks from a car window. A rocket explodes inside the car, and the car rental agency is sued. Outcome? Who knows? Still pending. Former Attorney General, Janet Reno, said it best, "I always wait until a jury has spoken before I anticipate what they will do."

> Lottery winner says his winnings were impaired because the vendor didn't explain there was a cap on winnings. The court rules in his favor. The jury must have felt that upholding the rights of downtrodden lottery winners was an important constitutional issue.

> Man who had legally changed his name to "Jack Ass" sues MTV for $50,000,000, claiming that their series, "jackass" disparages his "good name.." This shows that just about anybody can become a bottomless pit of needs and wants.

Sacred cows make the best hamburger. That seems to be the battle cry of a chunk of the legal profession today, using con-man-style tactics as they stake out anybody and everybody--especially those with "deep pockets"--for picking.


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