Give it the door

The Madison County Record Jan. 25, 2009, 2:28am

Absurd, frivolous, wasteful, morally dishonest--these are just some of the words used by critics to describe Madison County's infamous Pizza Hut lawsuit.

Others call it the suit about the lawyer who held the restaurant door for a cop, then sued him and the restaurant.

In his refusal this week to kill the long running lawsuit that drains taxpayer resources, Judge Dennis Ruth explained he thought it was "confusing" and he needed to know more.

Frankly, Judge Ruth confuses us.

Is it lawyer-plaintiff Amanda Verett's dubious claim of injury that is so "confusing," in which a restaurant somehow gets blamed for an injury sustained while opening a door?

Or was it her incredible explanation of how the injury happened, which relied upon a fictional "vacuum" law of physics borrowed from an obscure sci-fi novel, "Demons in the Freezer"?

Was it the man who diagnosed Verett's alleged injury, the one-and-only Granite City chiropractor Dr. Mark Eavenson, Madison County's most prolific doctor-filer of class action lawsuits?

Was it the curious circumstances of the whole event? It occurred after Troy police officer, Clarence Jackson, responded to a 911 call of a disturbance at the restaurant--which testimony showed was caused primarily by Verett and a male law partner.

Which part of this hyper-embarrassing case is so difficult for Judge Ruth to understand?

Those in robes are called judge for a reason. They're supposed to make decisions--not give every plaintiff and lawyer the seemingly endless benefit of every doubt.

The net sum here is that Verett and her lawyer, the notorious Thomas Maag, now live to settle another day with Pizza Hut, a large company surely tiring of spending thousands of dollars on its defense in this bizarre case. It is this kind of leverage for which the duo hoped, and Judge Ruth seems willing to fulfill those hopes.

This case is anything but confusing. It's a crystal-clear example of what ails our civil justice system. And it's gone on for two years too long.

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