Is it just me or does every get excited seeing everyone’s crazy aunts and uncles come out of the basement and try to top each other with a more ridiculous, insane proposals for dealing with frivolous lawsuits? The Overlawyered commenters are out and about after reports of a lawsuit over the right to wear unbelievably awful t-shirts to public school.
Can I play too? We should execute anyone who we suspect is thinking of filing a frivolous lawsuit. There is a precedent for this. Remember the Minority Report?
I agree with the implied premise of the post that people shouldn’t be filing lawsuits defending the right of kids to wear offensive t-shirts to a public school. (Particularly if the girl’s parents are making her wear the shirt. Good golly.) Truly, it is a beyond insane lawsuit. It should be renounced. (I guess. We could also just look away, I suppose. We have 300 million people in this county. Do we have to report on every random idiot who burns the Koran?)
But the feeding frenzy that follows reports of these outlier cases operates under the assumption that frivolous lawsuits are the rule rather than the exception. The “free market” that I’m sure the commenters idolize takes care of lawyers who are recidivist filers of frivolous lawsuits: it puts them out of business.
It fact, the premise that this is an “overlawyered” issue is false. There is no sign that there is a lawyer even involved in the filing of this lawsuit. This guy goes around filing lawsuits. How do you stop someone from doing that short of making it a jailable offense? If we do that, then we hear that we are over lawyered for prosecuting someone for exercising their rights. No matter what we do, the conclusion is over lawyered.
I’ve said before I’m read Overlawyered regularly and I like it and even agree with many the posts and, to a differing extent, I agree with the underlying premise of the blog. But I don’t think intellectually fair to lump cases like this into the overlawyered bucket. This case belongs in the “I’m Against Crazy People” blog.