Friday, October 12, 2012

Silly lawsuits are a sign of privilege

By Makenzie Landis, Mast TV Multimedia Editor

Self-indulgence and greed have left our nation dumbstruck and confused.
Our legal system has indulged frivolous lawsuits that have promoted a culture of individuals who believe they deserve outlandishly large sums of money for asinine reasons.

Seventy-nine-year-old Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, N.M. rose up to voice her concerns. Liebeck bought a coffee at the McDonald’s drive-through in 1992. As Liebeck attempted to put cream and sugar into her coffee, she spilled it all over her lap.

Being emotionally scarred and suffering minor injuries, she was able to take this issue to court. Due to a jury’s sympathy, McDonald’s was held 80 percent liable for this outlandish claim. The jury awarded Liebeck $160,000 in compensatory damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages.

The decision was later appealed and settled out of court, giving Liebeck $600,000 “pocketable” dollars for simply not paying attention and spilling her coffee according to court documents. Moral of the story: do something stupid and get rewarded.

If you need some spare change, just sue the local weatherman for his inaccurate forecasting on the acts of God. 

It’s a fact of life that weather forecasters often make mistakes, but one woman apparently did not get the memo. An Israeli woman sued a television station for making an inaccurate weather prediction, prediction being the key word. The station predicted sun, but God gave them rain.

The woman claimed that the forecast caused her to dress lightly. The poor planning on her part, and the inaccurate prediction of the weatherman, resulted in her catching the flu and missing work.

She sued for $1,000, and won, according to court documents. Moral of this story: do something stupid and get rewarded.

All of these lawsuits have one thing in common: our American entitlement is allowing us to blame our first world problems on other people.

These lawsuits may seem like a quick way to earn a buck, but they have serious effects on our society.

Civil lawsuits cost the U.S. economy more than $200 billion per year, according to the U.S. news. If you break that down, every taxpayer — including yourself — is paying $700-$800 each year for stupid people’s get-rich-quick schemes. 

We as a society need to put on our big girl panties and start realizing other people in third-world countries do not even have coffee to spill on their laps, or televisions to blame for their flu. We as American citizens need to realize our actions affect other people.

Frivolous lawsuits are bogging down the legal system with more than 15 million civil cases per year. This takes advantage of the legal system our forefathers built to protect us.

Next time you are angry about which toy McDonald’s puts in your Happy Meal or that McDonald’s gives you Pepsi instead of low-fat milk, think about people who have never even seen a Happy Meal.