Jackpot justice is no joke

By Travis Akin | May 2, 2010

Akin It is amazing listening to personal injury lawyers who say with a straight face that never in their lives have they seen a "frivolous lawsuit."


It is amazing listening to personal injury lawyers who say with a straight face that never in their lives have they seen a "frivolous lawsuit."


How about a recent lawsuit a Chicago attorney has filed against his former son-in-law claiming his daughter's ex husband failed to keep his promise to love and honor her? The lawyer wants to recoup the $75,000 he spent on the wedding, and $1 million more for pain and suffering.

I am sure there are many fathers-in-law that understand the plight of this lawyer, and certainly there are many people who would love the idea of collecting $1 million for having to put up with an obnoxious son-in-law, but this does not mean they would file a lawsuit. There are, after all, inherent risks families assume when they agree to pay for weddings.

But in the world of personal injury lawyers, acceptable risks do not exist. Someone somewhere is always responsible and the solution to virtually all of life's problems is to file a lawsuit.

Or, how about the recent class action lawsuit filed in Madison County against Blimpie subs and sandwiches? In this case, the plaintiffs claim that the "Super Stacked" subs they ate did not have double the meat. They point to the fact that the subs do not contain twice the protein of the regular sized subs.

Of course, Blimpie does not claim the subs have twice the protein. They just claim the subs have twice the meat. Because the Super Stacked subs do not have twice the bread or other ingredients, they do not have twice the protein.

The blindingly obvious logic behind why a double meat sub might not have double the protein apparently does not resonate with all. I have to ask, where is the beef when it comes to this lawsuit?

Personal injury lawyers love to wrap themselves in the idea of the "rule of law." Their relentless pursuit of new lawsuits is a cornerstone of our civil justice system we are told.

But is the kind of jackpot justice we see so often in our courts really what our founding fathers envisioned when they wrote the Constitution? Did George Washington lead thousands of brave soldiers into battle so that someday people could sue their estranged son-in-laws or accuse a sub sandwich shop of not putting enough meat on their double-meat subs?

I hardly think lawsuits such as these are what the framers had in mind.

Our courts were never intended to be personal ATMs for trial lawyers and sadly that is what they have become.

What kind of message are we sending potential employers when we stand silent and allow our courts to continue to spiral out of control?

In St. Clair County, a lawsuit against K-Mart over the store's immunity boosting product could provide consumers with nothing more than a $5 store coupon good towards a $20 purchase while the attorneys will likely rake in hundreds of thousands or more.

While attorneys amass untold riches, the rest of us are stuck with coupons. Is this justice? Or is it greed?

With nearly 13 percent unemployment in Illinois, isn't it time we finally listen to the concerns of job creators and do something about the abuse of our courts? What Illinois needs is more jobs and less litigation.

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