A lot of meritorious lawsuits were filed last week. Yet this morning my Google Reader quickly pointed me to two that seem to embody the definition of a frivolous lawsuit:
- Walter Olson on Overlawyered reports on a lawsuit in Canada where the Plaintiff is suing after she jumped out of a car while intoxicated. As I wrote a comment on the Overlawyered post, I cannot imagine a scenario where this is a legitimate claim. I’m all in favor of lawsuits when the victims are innocent.
But there has to be personal responsibility, too. The best way to avoid harm is to avoid exposing yourself to great risk. Drinking so much that you will jump out of a moving car is a choice. Look, this woman suffered a severe brain injury. She’s as worthy of our sympathy as anyone. But she does not have a claim against the driver. Period.
- The TortProf reports that a woman sued because United Airlines did not wake her, leaving her sleeping on an empty plane for three hours. “Waking up to an empty airplane and not being able to get out — it was very horrifying,” the plaintiff told reporters at a press conference to announce her lawsuit.
Both are frivolous lawsuits. But the drunk driving lawsuit at least offers a sympathetic plaintiff. This sleeping on the airplane lawsuit is worthless on every level. The plaintiff is not injured and there are not large numbers of people who are suffering the same insignificant loss. We need not protect a class of people who fall asleep on airplanes and don’t get out with everyone else. This lawsuit was filed only because it makes news. It makes news only because it is ridiculous. It is a vicious circle of insanity that only hurts real personal injury victims who must start out with already skeptical jurors.