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Litigation Gone Wild
Old 04-19-2011, 07:33 PM   #1
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Litigation Gone Wild

No good deed goes unpunished

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The family of the late Roger Kreutz filed a lawsuit in St. Louis in March over the fatal head injuries he received when a car knocked him down in a Starbucks parking lot in 2008. The driver was Aaron Poisson, who was trying to get away from Kreutz, but Poisson was not sued. According to the lawsuit, the cause of the fatal injury was negligence by Starbucks -- because it had mindlessly placed its tip jar in full view on a counter, thus (according to the theory of the lawsuit) goading Poisson into snatching up the money and running out the door, and inspiring Kreutz, as a good Samaritan, to chase Poisson and try to retrieve the employees' tips. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 3-9-2011]
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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This is insane. I would never want to be a lawyer.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:51 PM   #3
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Ya go for the deep pockets....


I don't think this will go far.... but still Starbucks has to shell out many thousands of dollars....
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:37 PM   #4
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Ya go for the deep pockets....


I don't think this will go far.... but still Starbucks has to shell out many thousands of dollars....
Lawyers are the most completely pragmatic people on earth. Who cares what happened? We need to find some entity with money, and then we hit the library and find a legal theory to get to them. If we can't find one, we invent a new one.

Fortunately other lawyers, judges, etc are in this same game, so there are many theories for almost any situation- these are charmingly called "precedents."

Ha
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:52 AM   #5
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The tactic.... go for the deep pockets and hope for a settlement.

This one is absurd... but the tactic happens all the time!

This is one of those cases that makes tort reform look like a good idea.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:42 AM   #6
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It's also one of the cases that causes lawyers to be called shysters.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:49 AM   #7
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Of course it will go nowhere but what a PITA to defend against. That's one of the reasons I have an umbrella policy. But then the insurance industry is so despicable that if you lost such a frivolous suit they would probably pull out a well hidden policy statement that losing demonstrates contributory negligence allowing them to refuse to pay.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:58 AM   #8
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There are lawyers, and there are the people that hire them. Blaming the lawyer is like shooting the messenger.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:31 AM   #9
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There are lawyers, and there are the people that hire them. Blaming the lawyer is like shooting the messenger.
+1

Lawyers don't sue people, people sue people. Treat the cause, not the symptom.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:35 AM   #10
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+1

Lawyers don't sue people, people sue people. Treat the cause, not the symptom.
Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:38 AM   #11
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Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people who push the big red button kill people
Fixed it for you.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:46 AM   #12
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:26 PM   #13
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Lawsuits like these happen all the time. When it becomes something other than laughed out of court by a jury, then it'd be something I'd drop my jaw at.

There's a really bad law firm around here that's notorious for crap lawsuits. A wheelchair bound lawyer headed up to a tourist trap in the mountains and started randomly handing out notices for lawsuits to all the businesses for not having wheelchair ramps (they all do, and I've been there so many times I've lost count), but his goal was to have them pay him off before going to court. This kind of crap happens all the time too.

It sucks though, that sometimes legitimate lawsuits are swept up in these categories. Like that famous one with the woman who was burned by her McDonald's coffee.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:54 PM   #14
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:19 PM   #15
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:43 PM   #16
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Lawsuits like these happen all the time. When it becomes something other than laughed out of court by a jury, then it'd be something I'd drop my jaw at.
There's a tremendous cost just to bring the frivolous case to the point of being laughed out of court. The cost to the taxpayers for all the court overhead not to mention plaintiff will bear cost to defend against the action. I know this first hand. Not to say it's a jaw dropper, but it is way too easy to initiate these ridiculous actions.
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Old 04-23-2011, 12:09 AM   #17
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I have to deal with frivolous lawsuits at work every couple of years. They really make me angry. There is no justice for the companies. The insurance company will settle instead of fight. One grandma picked her child up from our child care center, lost control of him in the parking lot, fell and hit her face on a car's fender. She didn't appear to be hurt other than a bruise. Two years later, she sued because she said the fall caused her teeth to get infected two yrs later, then she had to have them removed and she sued to make us pay for dentures. The insurance co said it was cheaper to pay for her dentures than fight it. So frustrating!
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:31 AM   #18
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I read a while back that McDonald's was so fed up of being sued "speculatively" that they had made a corporate decision to defend every single suit in court, even when they knew that they were probably in the wrong, because it was costing them and/or their insurers more to settle the frivolous claims, than to lose big on the occasional genuine claim.

Many Europeans seem to have believe view that Americans are always suing each other for stupid things like this and winning. This is made even worse when a jury on crack sometimes actually finds for the plaintiff in one of these crazy cases, even though 99% of the time this gets corrected on appeal.

(Actually, I had some sympathy with the plaintiff in the McDonald's coffee case. IIRC she placed the cup of coffee between her thighs and it spilt, scalding her. She was probably stupid to the extent that she should have expected to get her pants wet, but she was entitled to expect that the product would not cause burns requiring medical intervention. McDonald's should really not have been selling what was, for the next ten minutes or so, a dangerous product in such a flimsy cup. Suppose she had walked out of the store holding the cup and bumped into a woman pushing a stroller, spilling the coffee all over the child in it?)
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:36 AM   #19
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It is always easy to 'what if' a situation into another more horrific. The fact is, that did not happen. If it had then that would have been the lawsuit. It wasn't and as you said 'She was probably stupid......'
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:22 AM   #20
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It's coffee in a PAPER cup. It's supposed to be hot. Was the coffee in that one store extra dangerously hot that one day? No, that's the way they consistently were making it and had been for a long time. How sturdy is a paper cup supposed to be? So reliable that only one in a million will fail? One in ten million? They've probably served billions of cups. Is it supposed to be the case that paper cups are so unimaginably reliable that no user of them can ever conceive of breakage and any company dispensing such a cup is liable for everything that happens? Apparently so, but it's absurd no matter how much sympathy one has for the woman's injuries.
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