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Tort Reformers Are Back With Their Frivolous List Of Lawsuits

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It’s time for the yearly lists and awards for the top things of 2010. As usual, the tort reform group arm of The US Chamber, The Institute for Legal Reform, is out with their list of the most ridiculous lawsuits. Couple of things to note about the list:

  • It seems that with all of the business litigation out there, a business isn’t in the bunch.
  • They seemed to have had to dig to the bottom of the barrel to get to many of these.

History tells us that there is a sense of "eye of the beholder" with each. There also are often times urban myths that are included because they spice up the pieces.

The top five Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2010 are:

  1. Woman sues Oprah and President Bush, declaring they "implanted a camera with wire sensors into her with the intent of reincarnation."

  2. Girl sues estate of pregnant woman she killed during suicide attempt

  3. Convicted killer sues to receive electrolysis as part of state-funded sex change

  4. Child-molesting teacher countersues boy’s parents over negligent supervision

  5. Restaurant sued for failing to offer artichoke-eating instructions

Let’s take a closer look

  • Number one: I wonder if it would have been included if just Oprah was sued. My guess is that this one got dismissed quick and might have been written on a napkin. Threat to society or reason to shut the courthouse? No
  • Number two: I don’t even understand this one. My guess is that the background story is a little more in depth.
  • Number three: Prison lawsuits. These guys don’t have anything but time. They love to come up with this type of thing. The U S Chamber likes to exploit them as examples of what?
  • Number four: Looks like possibly a frivolous defense.
  • Number five: The typical food inclusion. This one probably has a lot more to it.

So what can we learn from the list:

  • Not one of these cases would be changed if caps were imposed. Sure, maybe damages claimed would have to be less, but do you really think some of these "crazies" would be deterred by the limiting of the rights of the most injured?
  • What about the real frivolous defenses? Shouldn’t doctors who make up opinions, defendants who deny that they are at fault in even the most egregious cases, and defense lawyers who are churning files to get paid be on the outrageous list somewhere?
  • There really isn’t any money to be made by anyone in these cases. So why would a trial lawyer have any interest in this type of case? I guess if they are a defense lawyer, at least they could bill it.
  • Few of these examples include people who are actually represented by real lawyers. So maybe the point is that people shouldn’t have a right to bring claims for themselves.

This frivolous list of goofiness is used by the U S Chambers and others to bar the claims of legitimately injured individuals. I look at the list and don’t see any that I think are going to be successful. But, that isn’t the reason for these lists.