If you do a quick search online for the word “lawsuit,” you’d be surprised to see just how many results come up. American Airlines recently lost a big lawsuit against a 22 year-old that discovered a way to get very cheap tickets, and the company is currently scrambling to pick up the pieces from the embarrassing loss. Paul Brodeur, an investigative science journalist, is still upset with the makers of the 2013 movie American Hustle because in it, Jennifer Lawrence’s character says that microwaves are unsafe and take the nutrients out of food, and cited Brodeur as a source. The journalist is claiming defamation, since he never made such claims about microwaves and says that the movie has hurt his credibility and career. However, the claim is questionable, since the character in the movie is portrayed as being rather uninformed, and the movie is considered a comedy. The microwave case has been in the legal system for months and, against all odds, is actually going to go to court.
Lawsuits are supposed to be filed because somebody has suffered a terrible wrong, or because there’s no other way for them to get justice. They aren’t meant for settling petty wrongs or “he said, she said” situations, but that’s exactly what they’re being used for. It’s crazy to think that multi-billion dollar companies are willing to fight such seemingly silly cases in court but, in today’s sue-happy society, it seems that lawsuits can be issued over virtually anything.
If there’s one thing Barry LaBov knows, it’s lawsuit abuse and its disturbing prevalence in American society. According to a study done on the international comparison of litigation costs, the United States has the world’s most costly legal system as a share of its economy. According to a public opinion survey conducted by Penn Schoen Berland and Public Opinion Strategies, 87% of American voters view the number of lawsuits filed in the country as a serious problem.
A whopping one and three American voters, along with nearly half of all small business owners, report having either been threatened with or involved in a civil lawsuit. Filing or threatening a lawsuit doesn’t take a lot of time, but the toll it can take on a person is immeasurable. People often feel stressed out and scared about the potential of an ongoing legal battle: they have to waste precious time and money researching lawyers, going to court hearings, and having to explain to confused friends, relatives, and business associates why they’re fighting a lawsuit in the first place. The worst part of lawsuit abuse is that, half of the time, the suit is barely worth dealing with. Those involved could spend weeks, months, or even years fighting something that won’t matter in the long run. But since there will still be records of the suit online and in other places, they’ll still have to suffer the stigma of having a lawsuit filed against them.
Are you a victim of lawsuit abuse?