Litigious Society

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by Manny Laureano, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Okay, order and drink and I'll get the skins with bacon and sour cream... I wanted to run something by you folks...

    So, I was thinking about how incredibly litigious our society and that of others around the world have become. In other words, the idea that things that used to be settled by folks just talking and shaking hands are now micro-managed by lawyers as though we aren't capable of doing so on our own any more. You have sexual harrassment laws that go over the line in terms of taking things out of the laps of people (no pun intended!!!) talking about it and making everyone into a protected class that needs representation.

    On the one hand it's important to note how now it's easier for, say, a child to get help when an abusive situation arises. Adults can't get away with abuse these days because there are a variety of mechanisms to keep that child safe. That's a good thing. The other good thing is that bosses can't abuse the privelege of power in order to subjugate workers. That's another good thing.

    But we've got huge problems in the other direction where it would be fairly easy to accuse someone of something heinous without them even knowing until they're brought up before superiors! In the old days, what likely would have taken place is a private conversation between the two parties and have it settled without incident. The standard for this has to do with how you made a person feel even if it wasn't your intention to make them feel that way.

    Truthfully, the unique situations are what probably get the press but what is disturbing is how gutless judges are in their seeming inability or lack of desire to just say "This is stupid! This case has no merit and will not go to trial!"

    So, there's the real point: have we reached a point where everything is valid, every point of view? Is it possible that there is no way to discern what has validity legally, that everyone must have their day in court irresepective of how nonsensical their claim may be? How did we get to this place? It's been an insidious process, everday chipping away at societal common sense for what seems to be the last 30 years.

    I think I like the British system where, if you bring a stupid claim against someone and you lose, you pay the court costs for the other person. It would tend to make you think twice about how you went about solving a problem. I can't imagine there aren't provisions for people of modest or little means.

    If I were writing an editorial or something like that I'd probably edit and re-edit this but seeing as we're just sitting around chatting after the gig, I'd like to know your thoughts.

    ML
     
  2. Lazorphaze

    Lazorphaze Piano User

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    Feb 3, 2004
    Well, (after looking up the word "Litigious") I think people go to court over the drop of a hat. in fact, that's probably happened before.

    There was a suit by an old woman who sued McD's, Caribou, or Starbucks because their coffee was too hot. she spilled it, and got 3rd degree burns on about 10% of her body. Now that may be stupid, but some cases are.

    Like the Micheal Jackson case. Now he does deserve to be sued for every penny he has, but the kid who is suing him should have known that something might happen, seeing as how Jackson was sued before for child molestation.

    So really, these are preventable cases, but only with a bit of forethought.

    Now onto Manny's post ;-)
    I think that while no person should be denied the right to voice their opinion, some court cases can be just plain stupid. I say stick them in a locked room for a day and duke it out.

    Well, I guess that's all I have to say. Although most of it was offtopic :twisted:
     
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Forte User

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    What is that quote, attributed to Wm. Shakespeare about lawyers?
     
  4. Bear

    Bear Forte User

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    Yeah, I do think people are "sue" happy... You get tapped by a lil fender bender and you end up in court... Might get settled for $100 for the fender but court costs are about $500... Seems ridiculous.

    Of course, I can see why people are so sue happy. It used to be that your word was your bond. You could be trusted to do somethign if you said you were going to do it. People had respect, morals, standards, etc... All that is down the tube now. Now you have to doublecheck the electrician to make sure he installed the lightswitch correctly...


    Grrr... so sad.
     
  5. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Yes, it is totally and entirely out of control.

    Many people today sue and go to court to solve any and every problem imaginable. Someone will probably want to sue me for writing this post. Someone doesn't like the color of my shirt - I'll probably get sued. Courts are expected to be the arbiter of every single dispute or difficulty - real or imagined. There needs to be a real limitation placed on what kinds of lawsuits can be brought and also on outrageous jury awards.

    Many people don't sue nowadays just to resolve problems that they can't solve for themselves, or because they have real damages and/or injuries; they sue because they are mad or because someone "disrespected" them. Many people today sue to GET THEIR OWN WAY...just like spoiled children.

    Many pople today sue becasue they think they can MAKE MONEY! It becomes a way to rip someone off...

    It has gotten way out of hand. Total crap...
     
  6. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Yee HAW!
    I'll agree that our North American societies have become "law happy". Give you a couple of examples:
    1) a woman has one of those coil spring exerciser things. She hooks it onto the doorknob of her hotel room and starts "working out". The doorknob comes loose and the springs whang the thing into her front teeth, busting the hell out of her choppers. She sues... SUCCESSFULLY... the hotel (for not posting a warning), the maker of the exercise device for making something that COULD be hooked to a doorknob... and the doorknob maker (for not posting a warning). Dumb, dumber, and dumbest.

    2) A couple purchase a house (this in our community). Our city is on a very wide (2 miles across) and deep (400 feet deep) "coulee". If you ever watched the Gene Wilder movie "Silverstreak" (about a train) and saw it going over a long, high trestle bridge... that is the bridge across the "coulee" in our city. They buy their house on the edge of the coulee (clay soil). After a while ( and some very heavy rain), their back yard starts to slide INTO the coulee. They sue the city for allowing the house to be built there in the first place. DUMBER, DUMBEST, AND ANTI-SOCIAL! Don't they realize that when they sue a government they are really suing their neighbours and all the other taxpayers... who had absolutely NOTHING to do with their own stupidity in buying a house in such a location in the first place?

    How about this one... here in Canada we have a huge number of "First Nations" People suing the government all the time for everything that lawyers can think of. The lawyers go to the bands and suggest that 'we think we can help you with..... (insert claim). Then the government has to defend the action. The taxpayers end up paying for BOTH sets of lawyers (treatied natives do not pay much (if anything) in the way of taxes), the government lawyers are paid by........ yup.... taxpayers. And the claim settlement is paid for by ...... taxpayers. Guess whose interest it is to see that the legal action is as lengthy and protracted as possible? Uh huh.... the lawyers.

    Remember folks, it's 99.9% of the lawyers who give the rest a bad name!

    Manny.... thanks for the opportunity to rant! I needed that. :cool:
     
  7. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Toots,

    Regarding Legal Disclaimers" try this one on for size:

    We have a local talk show with a fellow who came up with the fantastic notion that disclaimers have upset the natural order of things, in a Darwinian sense.

    It used to be that the truly stupid among us would die horrific deaths from accidents caused by a breathtaking lack of common sense. Occasionally, the would take unfortunates with them that were innocent bystanders. By and large, however, they became articles in a newspaper about someone seeing if they could survive a three story jump with pillows on their feet or some such thing.

    Well, now that every item you buy has a legal disclaimer on it, perhaps advising you that is inadvisable to jump into a swimming pool with your new TV set, common sense is no longer necessary. Therefore, those with less common sense yet posessing the ability to read are breeding! The herd is not being culled.

    Man... does that ever explain a lot.

    ML
     
  8. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

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    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Though I completely agree with this particular statement, I must say that the word "abuse" has definitely changed meaning since I was a child (and I'm only 21!). I personally don't like the fact that parents can't handle kids like they used to, my parents administered corporal punishment and yelled at me all the time when I was a kid, and you know what, when they did it, I deserved it. I don't hate my parents in any way, I love them to death, and I'm a lot better off generally speaking than a lot of friends that I grew up with, and I thank them for that. Now, you can't even yell at your kid without the neighbors overhearing and calling the cops or something. I know of a close friend who's younger sibling is quite a troublemaker, one time when the kid came back home escorted by a cop ( I won't mention what they he was doing), the parent administered punishment, nothing extreme, just your typical punishment. The next day the kid goes to school, tells his teacher, next thing you know, there's phone calls galore to the parent's house and when asked to appear in court, they warned him if this were to happen again, they'd take the child away, and the parent was stuck with a hefty fine. To me, this just doesn't make sense, it's really something very disturbing. Again, I want to imply that I totally agree that it's a good thing that there are programs and laws out there preventing child abuse, but I think they should maybe consider defining the word abuse a little better.
     
  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Yee HAW!
    Manny... I think it is fair to say that many of today's "problems" have come about because our society has lost the ability to take responsibility for it's own actions! We seem to have developed this cushy "let's see who we can blame for our own poor decisions!". This attitude is perpertrated NOT ONLY by the legal profession, but by the insurance industry as well!

    Really... I mean that. Consider that the insurance industry gets its money from two places: 1) your pockets, and 2) the stock market. If #2 fails then they just take that much more from #1. Eventually every dollar that gets paid out in claims has to come from somewhere..... plus a little extra to keep the entire industry of accountants, secretaries, brokers, adjusters, investigators, lower, middle, upper, senior and executive managers....oh... and the lawyers too! And naturally the insurance firms MUST show a healthy return on the "investors" investments so they have to be cranking out profits too! (After all, there is no "money pit" from which to obtain the cash that gets doled out..... well, there is but it's YOUR POCKETS!)

    Really, it is like gambling. Everyone bets with the premise that one day they will get lucky. But, on average, the luckiest the "average" player gets is to receive back about 10 cents for every dollar he bets!

    So what can we do as a society? Well, it seems to me that if I act maturely and put the same amount of money into a savings account that I would normally put into insurance policies then eventually I would have enough (and more) to pay for any expenses that I caused (windshield insurance for example). But... wait... there are those darn lawyers who are trying to sue me because nobody else subscribes to the same philosophy as I do (including the court system... but they are all lawyers too). So what is my recourse? (besides living like a hermit where nobody can find me to serve papers?) Gotta join the crowd and help pay for the various insurance guys with their Brooks Brothers suits ... and the lawyers and.... the profits to keep the stockholders happy and....

    Now then, since you brought up the topic, if you have ever read about the Darwin awards, then you may remember the one about the paralegal in Toronto. For those who did NOT know the story.... :?:

    An aspiring lawyer in Toronto got into a discussion about the strength of the glass that forms the "curtain" wall of their office in an upper story of a downtown highrise office building. To prove his point he hurled himself at the window. :bash: He lost; the window broke. He went through. *splat*.

    The only real surprise is that nobody sued the building owners for putting up a "weak and inadequate structure" because they "should have known or at least anticipated that someone might one day wish to test the breaking strength of the glass"!!! :dontknow:

    But (hopefully), he never had a chance to reproduce his particular (and rather peculiar) set of genetics! :whistle:


    (Doggone, I'm full of agro this evening... I think I need a rum n coke to calm down.... as soon as I've finished my practice!)
     
  10. Mikey

    Mikey Forte User

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    Oct 24, 2003
    Sounds like Toronto has one less lawyer now..........


    :D
     

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