03 November 2010

Sue-Happy America


America's favorite pastime when I was growing up was baseball. Now it is suing other people. Justice usually isn't at the heart of these frivolous lawsuits we hear about so often in the news, but rather money. Greed is the underlying reason. People see a chance to exploit others and get money. Usually it is a corporation with deep pockets who gets targeted, because people feel that the corporation "has so much money, they won't miss a few million and might even settle out of court." Also behind this are greedy and unscrupulous attorneys who would sue their own grandmother if they thought there was a profit in it. I don't mean to insult all lawyers, of course, but only the ones to whom this letter applies.

A lawyer friend of mine recently told me that only around one-third of graduating law students on average gets a job right out of law school. I don't know if this is the precisely correct statistic, but the point is still clear. Law students graduate and need work in their chosen field. They need to find work. So, when they can't find decent jobs in the legal profession... Well, it isn't a surprise there are so many frivolous lawsuits.

Today by email I received notification that I was on the winning side of just such a frivolous lawsuit against Google. I didn't even know I was part of such a thing. Apparently all people with GMail accounts were included. Perhaps some of you received this very same email as I did. As I understand the story, the argument was over Google Buzz and privacy, and some people thought their privacy was violated. Google I gather denied it, yet chose to settle out of court for $8.5 million. However, the money doesn't go to the people represented in the class action suit. It goes to support organizations about internet privacy AND...it goes to pay the lawyers! Now isn't that interesting? If I understand this correctly, the people who brought the suit get nothing, but as usual, the lawyers make out like bandits.

And I'm sure we all remember the insanity of the million dollar lawsuit against McDonald's over a cup of spilled hot coffee. Apparently you don't cry over spilled coffee, you take the restaurant to court. At least that suit did have a positive outcome. Now we are all thoroughly warned that our McDonald's coffee is hot! (Did any of us really have to be told that coffee is hot?)

It is time that Americans return to having respect for their fellow human beings instead of putting the pursuit of the "almighty dollar" above all else. A little love and Christian charity goes a long way to solving problems.