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Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 07:13 AM   #1
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Poll: Have you ever been sued?

The "Speaking of liability protection" thread got me wondering how many people posting here have actually been sued? Yes, I'm aware it is influenced by what you do/did for a living, where you live, your age, etc., so the poll is for entertainment value only.

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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 07:23 AM   #2
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Do you mean sued successfully? As in, they actually got money out of you? The state of Maryland tried to sue me for a traffic light pole that I hit once, when I got run off the road, but they were unsuccessful and finally dropped it, after about 5 years.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 07:44 AM   #3
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969
Do you mean sued successfully? As in, they actually got money out of you?
No. Just a simple yes or no to whether or not you have been sued.

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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 07:49 AM   #4
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

I sit on a board of directors of a non-profit organization. Due to a consolidation one of the directors was let go at the end of her contract.

She sued for age discrimination first, failed.

Then she sued for sexual harassment, after a court trial and appeal, this also failed.

She got nothing. Our insurer did an absolutely excellent job defending us, they hired big gun attorney's from a large metro law firm and they really beat up the local yocal attorney the plaintiff had.

Last I heard, defense costs were approaching $300,000.

I don't like paying those premiums any more than the rest of you, but, after seeing it in action I would never consider not having at least $1,000,000 of liability coverage for any activity I'm involved in.

Remember too, it's your own responsibility to make sure you have adequate liability policies and coverage. Don't go blaming someone else that you didn't have it when you need it.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 07:59 AM   #5
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Pockets
I sit on a board of directors of a non-profit organization.

... I would never consider not having at least $1,000,000 of liability coverage for any activity I'm involved in.

... it's your own responsibility to make sure you have adequate liability policies and coverage. Don't go blaming someone else that you didn't have it when you need it.
I'm on the board of a newly-formed homeowners association. The board was discussing the cost of D & O insurance and questioning whether or not we really needed to spend money on insurance since there were much greater needs. I told them not only did we need it, but I would not serve on the board unless we had a minimum of a $1M policy. We got it.

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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 08:16 AM   #6
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Got a fishing phone call from a lawyer after a traffic accident but I've never been sued.

OTOH we've had two police visits to our house looking for its previous occupant. Luckily his customers friends seem to know where his new location is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
I'm on the board of a newly-formed homeowners association. The board was discussing the cost of D & O insurance and questioning whether or not we really needed to spend money on insurance since there were much greater needs. I told them not only did we need it, but I would not serve on the board unless we had a minimum of a $1M policy. We got it.
The surest sign that a HOA desperately needs D&O insurance is when they're dumb inexperienced enough to think that they can do without it. I hope the board's first decision is hiring a HOA's CPA or a professional management firm! I wonder who gets sued more often-- cosmetic surgeons, Howard Stern (either one), or HOAs.

As for liability insurance, I spent three years (plus a short encore) as treasurer on a non-profit board. The more I learned about director's liability & exposure the more concerned I got. I've noticed that many members of the association with high-net-worth name recognition or who are exceedingly generous with their donations (thus presumably of at least $1M net worth) would not serve on the board on the advice of their lawyers. They'd donate their time at fundraisers or organize an event but they wouldn't even attend meetings, let alone serve in a director's capacity.

It was interesting researching the organization & operation of nonprofits and I certainly learned a lot about the tax returns and the IRS' certification process. It'll make me a better volunteer & donor. But I don't think I need to serve on a board ever again.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 08:30 AM   #7
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Sort of. I had a contractor doing some technical work for me at work just before I ER'ed. Smart guy but one of those severely emotionally retarded guys you dont want to ever let talk to a customer, your boss or another employee for fear of what will come out of their mouth. Basically brilliant but like an 8 year old. But...he produced fabulous studies in particular areas of technical analysis that...wouldnt you know it? Proved a bunch of points in my sell-up programs and affiliated sales materials!

I managed to get a lot of useful work out of him for about 3 years while keeping his 'issues' in check until he finally erupted and became completely uncontrollable. Fired him and moved to the next whore contractor.

About a week later my doorbell rings on a saturday about 9am, and i got served with a suit. Company lawyers ended up deciding to pay the guy $25k and let him keep the equipment he had on loan to make him just go away as that was cheaper than fighting a suit. Something I'm still not particularly happy about.

Then he called the lawyer and said that as a further stipulation to the suit that he would like to be reinstated to his contract, but that he would work for someone other than me.

Uhhh...NO!
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 08:44 AM   #8
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

never been sued. probably had opportunity to sue once but instead i just made sure the problem was rectified.

i was biking on city sidewalk where a1a has no bike lane. all of a sudden the bike starts to slide like an skater. the thing turns around under me and i could swear for a few split seconds i'm biking backwards before i fall, take a nice skid and lose a bit of skin. what i can see right away is that i was on a new batch of concrete, recently poured with a mix so high in water content that it formed a surface slick as ice.

i called the police. the guy who showed up happened to be in charge of the department's bicycle patrol. his comment was "great spot to bring my men out and teach them how to fall."

i checked the sidewalk again three days later. the city had not only repoured the sidewalk with a proper mix of concrete but also broom-scratched the surface at the corner for better friction. my skin would heal and i was satisfied that no one else would break their neck there.

on a lighter note: these three lawyers invested in a chinese restaurant down the street from me. they renamed it sosume.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 08:50 AM   #9
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

...and they all went to the dentist at two-thirty. :P
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 09:20 AM   #10
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Wife was sued as trustee...just ended after 14 months...she "won"....we paid $100k+ legal fees
We had umbrella, but insurance company managed to avoid covering ... they like to write policies... they will try their damnedest to not cover...
Emotional/mental damages to us - priceless...
There's something about the smell of napalm and the writing of $8 - 15,000 monthly checks to lawyers in the morning...
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 09:35 AM   #11
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Believe it or not, no. Practicing since 1975. Knocking on everything in sight that's made of wood.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 09:49 AM   #12
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

When I was an HR Director I was sued in my personal capacity by a union president. He told me "nothing personal" he had just run out of other avenues. He concocted some sort of adverse impact civil rights violation out of our declaring some proposal non-negotiable or something. I was defended by the Department of Justice and the matter came to nothing but it was a bit of a wake-up call. He sued me, my wife, my LR Director and her wife, and the Administrator and his wife. DOJ routinely defends you in these cases but their obligation is always to the Government. If they see the Government's interests and your interests parting ways, you are on your own. I carried liability insurance after that.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 11:27 AM   #13
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

I clicked "no", but after reading the posts I should say I was named in a complaint by a fired employee for "hostile work environment/harrasment". This employee worked in Hawaii, I spent about as much time with her as I spent with Nords on my two trips out there. She named about a dozen people in total, but there was at least 40 people she spent more time with than me, so at first I was sweating bullets as to what I could have done. Ends up I made an offhand remark to another coworker in earshot of her stating another employee who was 72, had a 30 year pension from the military, and qualified for the maximum benefit from our employer, and was collecting full social security, was crazy for still working. She stated with that comment I had created a hostile work environment implying that old people (she is 60) should go away. :P

The company attorney said others were named for discriminating against her for other things ( like being from Norway....?), and that the company was just going to write her a check and make her go away. I was kind of upset about that because I wanted to rebutt the charges and defend my integrity. But I understand these things are about money and it was cheaper just to write the check.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 11:37 AM   #14
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Donheff and Laurence, both your experiences are unpleasantly familiar.

As the manager of a printing operation, I had terminated the employment of an individual who sought redress through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. When that failed, he filed suit against both the company and me individually. (One interesting side note: during the EEOC hearing in downtown Dallas, the building fire alarm went off. We evacuated and re-convened the hearing, gathered in a circle on the sidewalk.)

Although my company hired a law firm to defend “us”, I was never entirely comfortable with the arrangement. Especially when it went to trial and we gathered in the courtroom of Judge Harold “Barefoot” Sanders at the Earl Cabell Federal Building. As things were just getting started, the plaintiff’s attorney asked Judge Sanders to sever me as a defendant and prohibit the company from reimbursing me in any way for any judgment against me in the lawsuit. I soiled my pants fainted hyperventilated was not amused.

Judge Saunders asked the attorneys for both sides and the plaintiff to join him in his chambers. I was not invited to attend, so I sat alone at the table and waited. As the minutes dragged by I began to notice an unpleasant odor in the room. I looked back at the spectator section of the courtroom to see a growing audience of what appeared to be street people. As it was August and we were in Texas, they were, uh…”ripe”. I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on, but I later learned they were ‘protesters’ in town for the 1984 Republican Convention. They had been camped out for several days under a downtown bridge and were seeking an injunction against the City of Dallas to move their protest area closer to the convention delegates. They had been granted a hearing by Judge Sanders immediately following the outcome of my lawsuit.

After what seemed an eternity but was actually less than an hour, everyone returned. Judge Sanders had denied their motion to sever me as a defendant and had convinced the plaintiff it would be wise to accept the (token 4 figure) offer we had placed on the table months prior, just to get him to go away.

It was an "interesting" experience.

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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 11:51 AM   #15
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

I haven't, but my father was.

He was an OB/GYN and was one of several doctors attending at a delivery where there was a bad outcome. A few years later, the mother brought a malpractice suit against all of the doctors, the nurses, the hospital, and the corp that owned the hospital. Some of the defendants' insurance companies settled. My dad and one other doctor involved and their insurance companies decided to go to trial. The jury awarded a judgment to the mother. The amount was less than what the settling parties had already agreed to pay, so my dad and his insurance company did not have to pay anything other than their costs to defend themselves.

Present company excluded, Martha in particular, but I can understand why my dad hates attorneys. It really took a lot of the joy of practicing medicine out of my dad. He retired a few years after the suit, probably five years earlier than he would have otherwise.

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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 12:00 PM   #16
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Not sued, but it was heading in that direction. I sold a motorcycle about 25 years ago just before heading down to Mexico for a summer of field work. When I got home at the end of the summer there was a letter from a lawyer demanding $83,000 to avoid a lawsuit over the motorcycle crash. It turns out that the new owner of the motorcycle had immediately gone on a trip to Yosemite and had run into another motorcycle which pulled in front of it from the shoulder. I think the girl on the back of the bike lost her foot in the accident. I had submitted a change of ownership form when I sold the bike, so immediately called the state and asked when the ownership transfer was recorded. It was 2 days before the accident. I wrote a nice letter back to the lawyer expressing sympathy for his client and telling him to stuff the $83,000 request. Never heard another word from him.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 12:11 PM   #17
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Never been sued. Let's keep it that way.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 12:28 PM   #18
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

My step-mom's work had a cranky guy who did the LAN admin work. Had posters on his wall proclaiming himself to be an angry white male gun totin' American Patriot and all that. All about self reliance etc. But he did his job very poorly, and treated everyone like crap. He finally got fired, and immediately lawyered up for wrongful termination, claimed all sorts of discrimination and his attorney told the owner that if he didn't settle they would file a complaint that the programmers were working unpaid overtime ( some violation of CA law ). My Dad ( retired attorney) explained that what the attorney was doing was a class 1 misdemeanor (whatever that means), but only after the owner caved, paid the settlement, and istalled time clocks.

What I found bitterly ironic was "Mr. Self Reliance" liberal hating, business loving, union bashing man was instantly transformed into a populist woe is me the big bad company is hurting the little guy progressive - as soon as there was a dollar to gain in it. A lot of people are so full of it.

There are a lot of good lawyers out there, but the bad ones really sully the proffesion's name. If I had a billion dollars, it would be tempting to set up some sort of law firm or group that went after these types aggresively and didn't make unscrupulous law suits such easy pickings.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 12:42 PM   #19
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

When I was about 10 a friend of mine was killed when he ran onto the tail fin of a 58/59 Cadillac (very pointy foot long fin). He was going out for a pass in street football and was looking back as he ran. To my knowledge the family never sued or at least they never moved from their modest house. To them it wasn't anyones "fault" - it was just a freak accident. Can you imagine that today?
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 12:57 PM   #20
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
. . .and his attorney told the owner that if he didn't settle they would file a complaint that the programmers were working unpaid overtime ( some violation of CA law ). My Dad ( retired attorney) explained that what the attorney was doing was a class 1 misdemeanor (whatever that means),
Probably extortion.
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