Apple Stores a “Danger to Some People”

March 26, 2012

Thinking of cruising by the Apple store to check out the new iPad?  Beware.  According to one New York attorney, the very act of entering or exiting Apple’s signature glass doors represents a “danger.”

It seems an elderly Queens woman suffered a broken nose after accidentally walking into the door at her local Apple store.  The incident awakened one local litigation jockey to the extreme peril inherent in Apple store designs – a hazard that, up until now, had lurked unnoticed by the millions upon millions who have passed through Apple’s doors worldwide. “Apple wants to be cool and modern and have the type of architecture that would appeal to the tech crowd,” explains the woman’s attorney, “but on the other hand, they have to appreciate the danger that this high-tech modern architecture poses to some people.”

In the old, pre-McDonald’s $3 million coffee cup days, a person who stumbled into a door might have been embarrassed by his/her own clumsiness.  Today, it’s a golden opportunity to play the litigation lottery.  So what’s a self-inflicted broken nose worth these days?  A cool $1,000,000 according to the lawsuit filed against Apple.

The Trial Bar Goes Digital

March 5, 2012

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform is out with a report detailing the use of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media in the never-ending attempt by the trial bar to dig up some new company to sue.  According to the Institute’s analysis, personal injury law firms “will spend more than $50 million on Google keyword advertising alone” this year – more than triple the amount spent by the Obama campaign in the 2008 election and more than double the amount Apple spent on social media aimed at pushing the iPhone and iPad.  Asbestos-specialist Danziger & De Llano, spends an estimated $16 million-plus trawling for clients on the Internet, directing search traffic to dozens of websites the firm sponsors.  Plaintiffs firms are also using social media to offer “large rewards” for “whistleblowers” and alerting potential litigants to new opportunities to sue under the Dodd-Frank financial services law.

The $5 Million Tank of Gas

March 1, 2012

Think the $3 million McDonald’s cup of coffee is the most ludicrous lawsuit on record?  Well, Walter Olson has a new contender.  On Overlawyered Olson reports on a Michigan class action lawsuit against Ally Financial.  Lawyers for the plaintiffs are seeking $5 million in damages because when Ally repossessed a woman’s car it also confiscated half a tank of gas.

ATRA Reveals Trial Lawyer Playbook for “Winning the Lottery”

February 24, 2012

A shocking video posted by the American Tort Reform Association, publisher of the invaluable Judicial Hellholes report, reveals in graphic detail how the trial bar cooks up lawsuits in order to “win the lottery.”  In the video, a plaintiffs’ expert outlines the scam:   

“Those top lawsuits are big money, hot topic, big issues in Louisiana.  Now I also say it’s like winning the lottery because that’s the plan with these legacy lawsuits.  We’ve got an 11-step plan to win this lottery.”

Later in the video, the speaker spells out how to pick litigation targets:

“When I sue someone, and prevail, they’re just going to turn around and go belly-up, so we gotta look for those deep pockets.”

Watch the whole video.  See how the greedy fix the litigation lottery.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up (Cont’d)

February 23, 2012

A total of 75 recent law school graduates have filed at least 15 class action lawsuits against their law schools because they haven’t been able to find jobs.  Recent graduates of New York Law School, for example, are seeking $200 million in damages for “fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of business law.”  Obviously these young attorneys are well on their way to becoming the pride of their profession.

What America’s Legal System can Learn from the Greeks

October 10, 2011

With modern day Greece teetering on the edge of default, it’s easy to think we have nothing to learn from the Greeks – unless, perhaps, we look back to our democratic forerunners of 2,400 years ago.  In her new book, The Hemlock Cup:  Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life, Bettany Hughes informs us that Athens circa 399 B.C. had already anticipated and adopted remedies to protect against the ancient equivalent of what we all recognize as a scheming trial lawyer. 

“It is in democratic Athens that the sycophant is born:  a man on the make who brings a trumped-up court case; someone who thinks he’ll be able to score off the very presence of a justice system.  Sycophantai were the fifth-century legal equivalent of ambulance-chasers; citizens who brought cases on flimsy charges so they the could be paid for attending court, and might possibly even net damages.  And so steep fines have been introduced – if you don’t succeed in getting any more than one-fifth of the votes, you have to pay the state back.”

That’s right.  The ancient Greeks invested loser pays legislation!

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

May 11, 2011

Omar Bin Laden, son of the deceased terrorist, has issued a letter announcing that he “reserves the right to take legal action against America” both in the U.S. and internationally.  No word yet from any trial lawyers over a contingency fee arrangement with the Bin Laden clan.

Hate Your Boss? The Obama Administration’s got a Trial Lawyer for You!

February 7, 2011

Under a new “alliance” between the Obama Department of Labor and the trial bar, anyone who complains to the government about their bosses will be patched through to the American Bar Association so they can get a contingency fee lawyer to take their case.  Fox Business News has the full story.  (Hat tip to Ed Murnane’s Illinois Civil Justice League). 

The ABA calls the move “unprecedented” – which it is, but not in the way the lawyers mean.  Getting more fee-grubbing lawyers in between employees and employers will doubtless spark more lawsuits.  More lawsuits against small businesses means fewer jobs.  

Vice President Joe Biden hailed this litigation stimulus plan because “most all” of the fees” will be “contingency on the back end.”  Biden’s son Beau was a heavy-hitting trial lawyer before he traded in his famous name to become Delaware’s Attorney General. 

It’s a pretty good bet that the Obama re-election campaign will get cut in on any additional contingency fees generated by this cozy arrangement.  During the last election cycle, lawyers funneled more than $90 million (thanks Open Secrets) into campaign coffers – the vast majority to Obama. 

Unprecedented indeed.

Unconstitutional Haircuts?

January 4, 2011

A 14-year-old Indiana high school student gets booted from the basketball team for refusing to abide by the coach’s policy on neat, clean haircuts. 

Do the parents:

A) Hand him a pair of scissors;

B) Take him to the barber shop;

C) File a federal lawsuit claiming the haircut rule is “unconstitutional”? 

No extra credit for getting the right answer.

The Case for Tort Reform in Florida

December 10, 2010

Florida businessman John R. Smith makes a compelling case for tort reform in Florida and demonstrates why seizing the state’s civil justice system from Trial Lawyers Inc. is at the top of the agenda for incoming Governor Rick Scott and the new legislature.  Money graphs:

“Lawsuit abuse is a threat to our small businesses, where lawsuit costs drive up the price of goods and services, which consumers pay for.  Plaintiff lawyers get rich while economic growth declines.  Kids can’t play in schoolyards because of the hundreds of claims for playground accidents.  Our reputation dissuades many businesses from locating here, and convinces professionals to move away.
 
“What’s to be done?  Well, I’m a fan of reducing the personal injury bar to rubble, then bringing them to a boil.”

Smith quickly concedes that his “shock and awe” plan for Florida trial lawyers isn’t politically correct, so he’ll settle for capping Powerball-sized damage awards, curbing “junk science” in the courtroom, medical liability reform and other reforms to dissuade frivolous lawsuits.

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