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Perhaps the Jury System is flawed after all
Old 10-30-2009, 10:24 AM   #1
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Perhaps the Jury System is flawed after all

Yeah, I know. I don't have all (if any) of the facts but this dropped my jaw.

Montana jury finds H&B at fault in baseball bat lawsuit

In any event, I suspect that The Consumerist captures the essence of what happened:

Quote:
I imagine it went down like this: One night over drinks, a couple lawyers got together and started one-upping one another with crazy boasts. At the end of the night, one of them said, "Dude, I could sue Louisville Slugger for making baseball bats. And win!"

The other lawyer thought this was ludicrous and bet him that he couldn't. Well, the other lawyer lost that bet.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:40 AM   #2
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More runaway juries supporting lottery-style jackpot justice. Lovely.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:41 AM   #3
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This decision is crazy!
Why stop there? Sue the baseball and glove manufacturers too.

Um...aren't liability waivers (for injuries) signed when kids participate in team sports ?
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:45 AM   #4
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Um...aren't liability waivers (for injuries) signed when kids participate in team sports ?
Yes, generally so, but:

1) Those are generally to indemnify the sports league and the folks associated with it -- not the equipment makers.

2) Juries are largely free to ignore the waivers if they see fit. Judges sometimes have the authority to overrule an obviously flawed verdict, but in reality they rarely do.
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:18 AM   #5
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Hmf. Never underestimate human stupidity. I like the one about the dolt who tried to use a lawn mower as a hedge trimmer and then sued Briggs & Stratton when he cut his fingers off. B&S didn't even make the lawn mower, only the engine on it.

That's why you see such strange labels on lawn mowers and other power equipment saying "Do not use as a potato peeler."
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Old 10-31-2009, 06:53 AM   #6
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Hmf. Never underestimate human stupidity. I like the one about the dolt who tried to use a lawn mower as a hedge trimmer and then sued Briggs & Stratton when he cut his fingers off. B&S didn't even make the lawn mower, only the engine on it.

That's why you see such strange labels on lawn mowers and other power equipment saying "Do not use as a potato peeler."
snopes.com: Lawn Mower as Hedge Trimmer
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:30 AM   #7
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Oh! I was so hopeing that this, too, was an "urban legend" so I could better sleep at night but it seems to be well vetted:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009...t-Lawsuit.html

Jury awards $850,000 in aluminum bat lawsuit
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:50 AM   #8
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I'm generally not one in favor of nanny-statism nor the legal system run amok, but there may be something to this. These newer aluminum bats are capable of creating tremendous speeds, significantly faster than what you would get off a wooden bat or even the older aluminum bats. I remember a co-worker who was a softball player talking about how he was saving up the money to buy one a few years ago after borrowing one during a game (they were $300-400). He did admit that they were at least a little scary to play against in the infield because the speeds coming off of them cut reaction time to almost nothing.

I used to deride the jury system over cases like the often cited McDonald's coffee burn case, then I read the facts and rethought that.

Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

McFacts abut the McDonalds Coffee Lawsuit
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:16 AM   #9
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The outcome of the aluminum bats case may have more to do with the quality and effectiveness of the lawyers than the jury system.
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:24 AM   #10
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The outcome of the aluminum bats case may have more to do with the quality and effectiveness of the lawyers than the jury system.
Not only that, but the plaintiffs claim they want to outlaw aluminum bats or some such. This gives me a couple of talking points:

1 -- if that is the goal and it wasn't "about the money," can I assume the entire reward (less the huge chunk going to the lawyers) is going to some charity that is working toward that end? If not, then claims that it's "not about the money" ring very hollow.

2 -- So we go back to wooden bats, then what? A repeat of what happened in 1976 with Dodgers catcher Steve Yeager, who was struck in the neck and almost killed by shrapnel from an exploding wooden bat? Then we sue wooden bat makers?

I'm actually fairly neutral about the issue of aluminum bats and I don't much care whether they are or are not "banned" by leagues in play. But that doesn't mean I support junk lawsuits. And I think giving several hundred thousand as "lost wages" for an 18-year-old who wasn't supporting anyone is ridiculous, too. If he left a family behind who was reliant on his current and future earning potential -- or if he were merely injured to the point where he could no longer work to take care of himself for life -- I might think differently.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:28 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Leonidas View Post
I used to deride the jury system over cases like the often cited McDonald's coffee burn case, then I read the facts and rethought that.

Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

McFacts abut the McDonalds Coffee Lawsuit
I agree that this McDonald's coffee case is not as ridiculous as it is usually made out to be (surprising to some, considering my strong libertarian leanings?).

But McD is a big company that is doing this thousands of times each day. They ought to take proper precautions. Handing off a boiling hot cup of liquid to someone behind the wheel and effectively saying "deal with it" is not being responsible, IMO. As you can see from the evidence, that cup of hot liquid *is* dangerous. It's not a joke.

If I go to a kitchen supply store and buy a big razor sharp knife, I know it is dangerous and I should have a reasonable expectation that the store will package it up properly for the trip home. If the check out person just threw it at me and said "catch", that would be irresponsible. That is pretty much what McD does at the drive up window thousands of times each day. Irresponsible on their part, IMO.

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Old 10-31-2009, 11:47 AM   #12
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I agree that this McDonald's coffee case is not as ridiculous as it is usually made out to be (surprising to some, considering my strong libertarian leanings?).

-ERD50
Though the gumment nanny has run amok, it's worth remembering that many of these safety, environmental, and finanacial regulations came about because businesses, and individuals, were not willing to use common sense/decency...

Of course, in order for democracy and capitalism to work, there has to be some responsibility attached to "freedom"... Too bad it seems to be in short supply...
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Old 10-31-2009, 02:38 PM   #13
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Beware of taking the chain of responsability too far, and suing left and right. Otherwise in an adultery case weŽll end up suing the carpenter that made the bed.....
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Old 10-31-2009, 02:47 PM   #14
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Beware of taking the chain of responsability too far, and suing left and right. Otherwise in an adultery case weŽll end up suing the carpenter that made the bed.....
Very funny! All the more so because it is true here in the U.S.
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Old 10-31-2009, 02:56 PM   #15
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Very funny! All the more so because it is true here in the U.S.
I hope you slow down on the trend, .....Žcause we are starting to mimic some of your questionable lawsuits.
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:18 PM   #16
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It's ok - justice will prevail:

Lawsuit of the Day: Defective Underwear Causes Penis Pain - Above the Law - A Legal Tabloid - News, Gossip, and Colorful Commentary on Law Firms and the Legal Profession

"Lawsuit over defective Hanes dismissed after examining the briefs"

Oh, Fark - news we can use!
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:51 PM   #17
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I agree that this McDonald's coffee case is not as ridiculous as it is usually made out to be (surprising to some, considering my strong libertarian leanings?).

But McD is a big company that is doing this thousands of times each day. They ought to take proper precautions. Handing off a boiling hot cup of liquid to someone behind the wheel and effectively saying "deal with it" is not being responsible, IMO. As you can see from the evidence, that cup of hot liquid *is* dangerous. It's not a joke.

If I go to a kitchen supply store and buy a big razor sharp knife, I know it is dangerous and I should have a reasonable expectation that the store will package it up properly for the trip home. If the check out person just threw it at me and said "catch", that would be irresponsible. That is pretty much what McD does at the drive up window thousands of times each day. Irresponsible on their part, IMO.

-ERD50

I am more on McDs side.... this was not her first cup of coffee from them... so she had reason to know that it was HOT... hotter than others.. in fact, that is why people bought from them... she opened it up while holding it between her knees (not sure if her knees were holding it or not, but that is what I remember reading back when)...

Now reading what was provided, she was in the coffee for a long time.. so even less hot coffee would have caused problems... she still would have been burned badly... so what temperature is liable and what is not...


As far as the current lawsuit... I do agree that they should not have won.. why not sure the guy who HIT the ball, since it was him that caused the problem.... (and where was he hit? in the head? the heart? both can kill)... and finally for me... how do we know that even with a wooden bat he would not have been killed


If there are newer bats that make the ball faster, then the leagues can 'ban' those bats... if you get caught with one, you are banned from playing in that league for life.... one of the reasons they went to aluminum was the costs... wood broke all the time... and talk about dangerous... I remember my next door neighbor who would crack a bat and then use wood screws to put it back together because he could not afford a new one...
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:42 PM   #18
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Texas Proud...I definitely agree with you on the hot coffee/McDonald's suit. When I read "opened it while holding it between her knees" that did it for me. You know it's hot, why not put it on a stable surface to open it. Case closed, no award!
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:38 PM   #19
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Texas Proud...I definitely agree with you on the hot coffee/McDonald's suit. When I read "opened it while holding it between her knees" that did it for me. You know it's hot, why not put it on a stable surface to open it. Case closed, no award!
While I'll agree that McDonald's case was not quite as ridiculous as the first media reports made it out to appear. I still think it is a nice case study in the American Lottery Legal System.

After buying two or three cups of McDonald coffee. I quickly figured out the coffee was way too hot for me and quite painful to drink or spill, so I stopped buying it. It is pretty obvious to me that plaintiff had a reasonable expectation that opening the coffee between her knees was a risky thing to do.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:00 PM   #20
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I am more on McDs side.... this was not her first cup of coffee from them... so she had reason to know that it was HOT... hotter than others.. in fact, that is why people bought from them... she opened it up while holding it between her knees (not sure if her knees were holding it or not, but that is what I remember reading back when)...
I agree that the lady probably (I have not read all the details) shares some blame - she should have been more careful. But here's how I tend to look at these things in general - the business providing the service is the "expert", they deal with the issue every day. And since they are making a profit I think they also hold a higher level of responsibility than a "once-in-a-while" customer ( a first time customer could have the same problem).

I just think that if a business is going to routinely hand near-boiling hot liquids to people in a car, that business should do it in a routinely safe manner. Offering one of those cardboard carrying cases (kind of like an egg carton) so that you could set the drink on the floor without it spilling on a turn would be a minimum I would say.

-ERD50
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