Lawyers, Guns and Money

In Florida, members of a class action suit against Microsoft stand to gain vouchers (towards the purchase of Microsoft products, no less) valued at a whopping $5-12 per product. Gee, that was worth it. $12? If you can sign up online or elsewhere that doesn’t require much effort and not do anything else, then a $12 check would be nice. But if you have to take more than 5 minutes, it’s a waste. Especially since you have to go out and buy more Microsoft products – products which typically cost a great deal more than $5-12.

Donate your money to a televangelist and you can pretty much kiss it goodbye. Sure, you’ll be welcomed in heaven and all that, but come on people – some guy gets on TV and asks you to send money and you do. Where’s the reward in that? Easy. In the courts! That’s right – if you donated money to Jim Bakker to help build a PTL vacation resort near Charlotte (at a cost of $1000/per), you’re now entitled to get some of that back. Yes, you read that right. $6.54 each. On an investment of $1000. Nice return. But have no fear – the lawyers stand to reap $2.5 million. Out of $3.7 million in the settlement fund.

Guns are designed to inflict damage. If fired at a person, they will injure or kill. Seems straightforward enough to me. Yet, in this case where a babysitter accidentally discharged a weapon, the manufacturer is now liable for $50.9 million. Am I missing something? When did our legal system become such a mess? $50.9 million in damages. For your product working as expected. Should they have designed it so that it didn’t work?

Don’t get me wrong – I understand that it’s a tragedy that a 7-year-old boy was paralyzed. That stinks. It really does. And it’s got to be tough on the babysitter from a mental standpoint. Not to mention that she’s going to have a tough time using that family for a reference. But if a product is misused, it’s not the fault of the manufacturer of that product!

Everywhere we turn, someone is suing someone else for something. Come on people. If you didn’t win the awards you thought you deserved, get over it and try harder next year. If you’ve smoked anytime in the last 30 years, you’ve got to have a clue that it’s bad for you and should do what you can to stop. If you order hot coffee, you should expect that it will be hot and do what you can to not spill it on you. If you’re a girl and can’t get into a school because it’s designed for boys, you should look for a different school.

Where’s the personal responsibility? How can everything always be someone else’s fault?

That said, there are valid reasons for lawsuits. Say someone cuts off my willy with no valid reason (and is there ever a valid reason?), you can bet I’d want to take them to court. I’d probably want to do a lot worse than that. I can’t say that I’d put my missing member in a plate of goulash, but I do like to keep my options open, so who knows?