The rules apply, even to Laurie Piechur

The Madison County Record May 1, 2010, 12:00pm

A batter might dispute whether the last pitch was a strike or not, but he won't argue to get four strikes instead of three.

A quarterback might insist that a fourth down be replayed, but he won't claim the right to a fifth down.

A second-place sprinter might be closing on the winner at the finish line, but the sprinter won't demand a medal for the 105-yard dash.

In sports, the rules are clear and well-defined and a reasonable person will not challenge them.

The rules for renting DVDs from Redbox kiosks also are clear and well-defined, but that didn't stop Laurie Piechur of St. Clair County from contesting them. When she neglected to return a couple of DVDs on time and Redbox charged her $25 each, she went to court.
Redbox maintains DVD vending machines at 21,000 locations in retail shopping outlets across the nation. Customers can rent a DVD for $1 a day. Each additional day they keep the DVD costs an additional dollar – up to 25 days, at which point the customer is charged $25 and the DVD is theirs to keep.

Laurie Piechur knew the rules but didn't think they should apply to her. She filed suit, accusing Redbox of statutory fraud, unfair practice, unlawful penalties, unjust enrichment, violation of the Illinois Rental-Purchase Agreement, violation of the Automatic Contract Renewal Act, and violation of the Deceptive Business Practices Act. Alleging that Redbox illegally charges excessive late fees despite claims to the contrary, she asked the court to certify the case as a class action and to award a judgment of more than $350,000, plus attorneys' fees, etc.

The case was removed to federal court but remanded to St. Clair County. If it's certified as a class action, Laurie will be the lead plaintiff – and the perfect representative for all the rule-challenged folks in America.

Let's hope the court teaches her the rules.

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