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Old 05-05-2009, 09:36 AM   #21
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I think there are crazies everywhere, and many of them own their own homes. I once got advice about moving to a new town, that is, treat new neighbors as if you were dating - take your time getting to know them, don't rush into a relationship... Thereby giving you more time to assess them on a crazy scale.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:20 AM   #22
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Regarding some of the comments above: unfounded criminal charges are indeed far less common because the accuser must convince the police and prosecutors that the case is valid. But if charges are filed against you, the cost of defense can be huge. And if you lose, maybe you go to prison.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:35 AM   #23
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Regarding some of the comments above: unfounded criminal charges are indeed far less common because the accuser must convince the police and prosecutors that the case is valid. But if charges are filed against you, the cost of defense can be huge. And if you lose, maybe you go to prison.
Completely unfounded civil lawsuits are not as common as some might think. There has to be an attorney that thinks the suit is worth something in order to bring suit. Even when they take a case on a contingency fee, there has to be at least some merit to it. They are motivated to spend their time pursuing cases that will make them money after all.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:51 AM   #24
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Completely unfounded civil lawsuits are not as common as some might think. There has to be an attorney that thinks the suit is worth something in order to bring suit. Even when they take a case on a contingency fee, there has to be at least some merit to it. They are motivated to spend their time pursuing cases that will make them money after all.

The problem is that some of the people ARE attorneys and can do it for 'free'...

I remember a long time ago on one of the news magazines that there was this lady in California who had so many lawsuits going on at once (and most were unfounded) that the courts ordered her to get approval prior to her filing any new cases... it seems that she made a lot of small settlements which gave her a good income... wish I could remember more... but it was awhile back...
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:53 AM   #25
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There are pros and cons to our well developed system of jurisprudence. Lots of suits but also lots of legal stability.
Well said, fuego. Not just stability, either. Often, the difference between unwarranted litigation and important legal protection is when it affects someone else (frivolous) vs me (a critical aspect of our social fabric).

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Another reason to move outside the country to a less litigious place.
I think our legal system is hands down the best in the world, and the only other in the world that comes close is the UK. The advantages of our much criticized legal system and judicial process are best appreciated when one is deprived of recourse, unable to pursue reparation or accused of criminal acts.
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:01 PM   #26
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Another reason to move outside the country to a less litigious place.
Depends. As Fuego pointed out it does bring some benefit that we probably take for granted.

Plus when you're living in Chiang Mai and your neighbor changes your propertly line by 10 feet by building a new fence, or poisons your dog for barking, or opens a night club in his back yard, etc. and you can't do anything because his brother is a local official...
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:31 PM   #27
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Depends. As Fuego pointed out it does bring some benefit that we probably take for granted.

Plus when you're living in Chiang Mai and your neighbor changes your propertly line by 10 feet by building a new fence, or poisons your dog for barking, or opens a night club in his back yard, etc. and you can't do anything because his brother is a local official...
This is what I was getting at. We have a well developed system that will give you your proverbial day in court to argue your case and if you win, a system that will enforce judgments. Compare that to the lawless societies of informal justice, favor trading, bribery and graft and you'll see the advantage of our system.

There is also something to be said of a well developed system of laws and its effects on those governed by the laws. Take, for example, Delaware's well developed business laws. Companies love incorporating there because of the well settled legal principals in their business courts. The laws are a known quantity (in large) and businesses know what they are getting.

Also consider the deterrent effect that litigation has on businesses and individuals. We all carry insurance. We all have a great incentive to minimize our negligence to the extent possible. We take care when driving. We keep our properties free of hazard so as to not invite liability. Businesses and individuals selling goods and services have incentives to produce products that won't injure consumers and provide services without causing economic or physical injury and in the case of professionals, with standards of care ordinary for members of the profession. In general, the "stick" that is the legal system forces individuals and businesses to act with a certain degree of care for others that they deal with.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:06 PM   #28
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It is really sad we have to worry about this so bad in this country.

Remember the French man that came to America to find the secret of our greatness, and he said "America is great because her people are great and good".

Hence now we see the downfall of our country, because a good majority of the people are no longer good, the morals are gone, people will turn on their grandma for a dollar.

Sad Sad stuff.
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Malicious Prosecution
Old 05-06-2009, 02:29 PM   #29
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Malicious Prosecution

Responding to the poster who asked if one can counter-sue pesky frivolous tortfeasors.

There is a legal action called "Malicious Prosecution" that covers this.

From Wikpedia:

"Malicious prosecution is a common law intentional tort . . . its elements include, intentionally and maliciously instituting and pursuing a legal action that is brought without probable cause and dismissed in favor of the victim of the malicious prosecution".

Malicious prosecution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Look to your state judicial opinions for specifics. In Canada, you can also sue the police, crown attorney, or attorney general -- they are not immune.

Of course, a "malicious prosection" suit could also be brought (in theory), frivolously and maliciously, against someone who goes to court for perfectly legitimate reasons.

And so it goes . . .
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:46 PM   #30
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Re: frivolous lawsuits against property owners...I've taken the simple approach. I actively limit the number and type of persons who enter my property and home. It is so much easier to meet in public places.
For contractor w*rk, I stick with a select number of known ones, most of whom are good friends and are
self-INSURED.
Sounds a little eccentric, I realize, but it lines right up with limiting my personal exposure to those who love to bring lawsuits just because.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:49 PM   #31
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You cannot insure to protect against your own intentional acts. The law of torts, at common law, is broken down into two broad categories of theories of liability - intentional and unintentional/negligent. "Intentional" is acting for the purpose of doing something or with substantial certainty that a particular result would occur. Negligence covers the majority of the rest - those cases where you (1) have a duty of care, (2) you breach that duty, (3) your breach of duty results in damages, and (4) those damages are "caused" by your breach of duty - notice no requirement for intention here for negligence. Strict liability is a third type of liability.

Insurance for intentional acts would reward those doing wrong (or at least let them act with impunity from civil claims) and would also suffer from severe adverse selection in the insurance pool.
People who bring suit try to couch the suit in terms of negligence. They know the money is with the insurer.
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:13 PM   #32
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Voyager,

Thank you for the post. I did ask if you could counter sue for the legal expenses, because.. well, someone (my relative S - for Sane) got sued by another relative C (C for Crazy - claimed S owed C money) and there was no foundation to the alligation. In fact, I found out from C that she couldn't get a lawyer to represent her since she had no evidence. C in fact went to S demanding S create some proof for the loan (what I know. C is a mental case. Bipolar, but she is simply an evil person in my book.) Anyway, I advised S that she should have a lawyer represent her so she won't have to deal with C in person (C was calling S several times during daytime and in the middle of the night, coming over banging on the font door, sceaming, yelling etc.). I also advised S to counter-sue C for the legal fees so C would think twice about suing S again. S did get a lawyer to represent her but decided not to counter-sue.

Anyway, S met with her lawyer twice and C and S's lawyer went to court twice, and to make a long story short, C dropped the suit when the judge requested some evidence of the loan. After S's victory, S still had to pay $3000 to her lawyer.

All this happened not in US, but I just wanted to see if counter-suing for the legal fees when you get sued is a choice in US.
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:24 PM   #33
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because a good majority of the people are no longer good, the morals are gone, people will turn on their grandma for a dollar.
I don't believe for one second anything has changed, as in the majority of people have become bad. It's a perception.
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:00 PM   #34
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The problem is that some of the people ARE attorneys and can do it for 'free'...
There was an infamous case here in DC a couple of years ago. A wacky administrative law judge sued a cleaners for not achieving "satisfaction guaranteed" as promissed on their sign. He claimed they damaged his suit, they claimed it came in damged damaged. They eventually gave him a refund but he said that wasn't satisfaction as he understood the term. He sued for some life destroying fortune claiming pain and suffering. The guy became a laughing stock and embarrassed the courts. He ultimately was reprimanded by the civil court judge and was fired (which pleased everyone). Unfortunately, the cleaners took a bath as well and had a horrible year or two.
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:13 PM   #35
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So they took that crook to the cleaners?
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:51 PM   #36
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Here's the most recent article I found about the pants lawsuit. I live(d) in the area and followed it for the massive entertainment value. The judge eventually lost his job, but the defendents lost a lot in legal costs and time.

The $54 million pants suit unravels again - CNN.com
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:18 PM   #37
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Knowing what I know now, if I were considering a house to buy, I would first check the county auditor site and get the names of the property owners nearby. Then I'd check the county common pleas site and see if they are potential problems. If you have ever lived next door to a bipolar alcoholic who likes guns, you would be sure to do due diligence and check BEFORE you buy. Doh!!!
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:28 AM   #38
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I guess in some cases if someone falsely accuses you, you are going to loose money defending yourself.

Personally I would rather someone steal my car or some of my stuff than falsely accuse me of something.


As far as neighbors go it probably sounds like I live in a slum but it's just average suburbia.

The criminal lady that causes so much trouble inherited her place for nothing from her family. So you never know when that will happen or when a neighbor will move out and a nightmare will move in!

I got to talk with one of my neighbors the other day and she and some of the others actually go to court over the criminal neighbor....it's unreal how much grief a bad neighbor can cause.

I think one of the solutions is redefining who a "victim" is! If you are falsely accused YOU are the victim and the person falsely accusing you should be punished.

And lawsuits being filed on people that are innocent should be treated the same way as attempted robbery is treated.....because that is what it is.

Jim
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:12 AM   #39
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As far as neighbors go it probably sounds like I live in a slum but it's just average suburbia.
Jim
I once had a neighbor (who owned her own home BTW) who imagined other neighbors as her enemies - she slashed tires, made false police reports, put raw eggs in mailboxes, made false child abuse claims to Child Protective Services, sent anonymous threatening letters through the mail... There may have been more activites by this crazy lady, but I've put it out of my mind since I've moved.

I've since read something along the lines of... the good neighbors move to get away from the bad neighbors. Bad neighbors rarely move.
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:57 AM   #40
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...I've since read something along the lines of... the good neighbors move to get away from the bad neighbors. Bad neighbors rarely move.
Uh oh...I'm the longest term home owner in a stretch of a dozen or so homes nestled between open farmland and woods.
This area is known for its very tough j*b market. Longevity at 1 company is rare and business closures & staffing drawdowns are commonplace.
As a result, I've had a cornucopia of neighbors since 1984. Some were excellent. Some were awful. The awful ones precipitated the full fenced in yard. It solved a lot of problems.
I've learned to keep it to a "friendly hand wave and short chat by the driveway" relationship. That goes against my friendly nature ,
but it is really for the best.
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