In our articles and editorials, we frequently focus on questionable lawsuits, with the hope of arousing public indignation over this unreasonable burdening of our judicial system and, perhaps, persuading potential perpetrators to desist.
The idea is to reduce the incidence of costly, counterproductive cases.
It has occurred to us, however, that putting the spotlight on such suits may occasionally have the opposite effect, providing a sort of step-by-step guide for possible copycats.
For instance, we extensively covered personal injury lawyer Tom Maag's suit against the Pizza Hut in Troy on behalf of a client, also an attorney, who claimed to have been injured in 2007 by a door she held open for other patrons.
In his complaint, the slick Mr. Maag described how, "for no apparent reason, the door of the Pizza Hut, which was being held by plaintiff, suddenly and sharply moved, resulting in plaintiff being injured."
Oh, the irony! His client was injured while performing an act of courtesy.
Did our reporting on the Pizza Hut poltergeist perhaps provide a template for prospective plaintiffs protesting torts precipitated by portal politesse?
That all depends on whether Tina Kutzgar and her attorney, John Webster of Alton, are regular readers of the Record or just coincidental copycats.
Kutzgar filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court on June 22nd against the owner of the Highland McDonald's on Suppiger Lane, claiming she was injured there in June 2010 while holding the door open for exiting patrons.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
She's seeking more than $50,000 in damages. That's a lot of Big Macs.
We certainly hope she and her attorney did not get the idea for the lawsuit from the Record's coverage of Maag's machinations.
And we ask our readers: Please, if you find yourself identifying with the antiheroes profiled in these pages or making mental notes on ways to improve upon some slip-and-fall scam, stop reading now and seek immediate professional help.
Otherwise, you, too, may be profiled here.