What Jeffrey Lowe wants

The Madison County Record Oct. 21, 2007, 10:00am

It's been about 21 months since Jeffrey Lowe launched his Madison County-based crusade against the U.S. mini-blind industrial complex, and the prolific local plaintiff's lawyer is still fine-tuning the aim of his accusations.

He started out suing 61 companies-- including big name retailers like Wal-Mart, Ace Hardware, K-Mart, and Ikea. Now, as reported last week in The Record, Lowe is only suing 28 of them. But he's still demanding damages for tens-- maybe even hundreds-- of millions of U.S. consumers who have purchased mini-blinds.

Said retailer-defendants stand accused of conspiring to cajole gullible Americans into putting glare sensitivity ahead of personal safety, duping them into bringing some "one billion sets" of "dangerous" window coverings into their homes.

Mini-blinds, Lowe holds, are "not safe for use throughout the household" as well as "unsafe for use anywhere small children would play."

Lowe's rhetoric is scary because his expectations are grand.

In short, he wants the entire industry shut down.

That means no more mini-blind making, no more mini-blind buying, no more mini-blind hanging. For any of us-- they're just too dangerous. We careless folk cannot be expected to handle these things responsibly.

If Judge Dan Stack accepts this latest dose of self-serving nanny-state condescension costumed as a legal argument, allowing Lowe to proceed, such would be the net result. By merely tolerating this legal chicanery, Stack would effectively be crowning Lowe "Master Regulator of the Window Covering Industry" for all of America.

Who else deserves the authority to shut down an entire industry with a single accusation?

Lowe's first move in office would be to demand partial refunds for every mini-blind buyer in America. That's minus one-third of the total or so in legal fees to Lowe for his efforts, of course.

If you were curious, here's that math: 100 million partial refunds of, say, $5.00 a pop equals a grand total of $500 million.

Lowe gets $167 million or so. And we each get $5.00, presuming we take the time to pull the mini-blinds off our wall, box, then return them with proof of purchase.

Sound like justice to you?

Or does it sound like Jeffrey Lowe manufactured this lawsuit to enrich himself?

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