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Welcome to America, the land in which anyone can get sued for anything by anyone (who has the money for the filing fee). Much of the time these cases get thrown out of court. Sometimes the Plaintiff is forced to pay court costs and attorney’s fees; however, the case must be extraordinarily egregious for that to happen. And sometimes, the Plaintiff actually wins. Here are a few examples:

  • A man sued a Las Vegas casino for negligently allowing him to lose over 1 million dollars at the Blackjack table. He alleges that the dealer should have known that he was too drunk to be playing cards.
  • The parents of a drunken drifter are suing Sea World for the death of their son. He was found dead inside Shamu’s tank after drinking heavily and then slipping past security. They allege that it is negligent for Sea World to market Shamu (the killer whale) as a loveable stuffed animal. Is it any wonder that their son jumped in and tried to give him a great big hug?
  • Barney the Dinosaur sued the San Diego Chicken, a sports stadium mascot who, while doing a routine, pummeled a Barney look-alike. The judge threw out the case saying that the act was clearly parody and would not cause trademark confusion.
  • A New York City woman was awarded $14.1 million by a state supreme court jury after she was hit by a subway train as she was patiently laying on the tracks in an apparent suicide attempt. Later, the reward was cut 30 percent, to a mere $9.9 million, because of her “comparative negligence.”
  • In 1992, a seventy-nine year old Albuquerque woman (Stella Liebeck) bought a coffee from a McDonald’s drive through. Her grandson was driving and he parked the car so she could add cream and sugar to the drink. She put the cup between her knees and pulled the lid toward her – inevitably the coffee spilt in her lap. She sued McDonald’s for negligence because she claimed the coffee was too hot to be safe. The jury found that McDonald’s was eighty percent responsible for the incident and they awarded Liebeck $160,000 in compensatory damages. The jury also awarded her $2.7 million punitive damages. The decision was appealed and the two parties ultimately ended up settling out of court for a sum less than $600,000.
  • My personal favorite is the lawsuit filed by the high school baseball player against the maker of Louisville Slugger bats. He was pitching in a high school baseball game when the batter slammed a line drive and hit him in the head. He sued the bat maker for over $1 million alleging that they should be held liable for making a bat capable of generating that much ball speed.

We can laugh to keep from crying at these, and other, ludicrous examples of our so-called “system of justice;” however, if we think about it for very long we must conclude that there is something terribly wrong when these types of cases are permitted to enter, and sometimes prevail, in our courts. Many of these suits are filed by greedy lawyers with equally greedy clients and settled for “nuisance value.” This means that the client gets next to nothing and the law firm walks away with thousands, sometimes millions, in legal fees. It is a cancer within our society. There should be a clearer sense of right and wrong among our people, shouldn’t there?

The Bible (1 Corinthians 6:1-11) says that the existence of lawsuits within the community of faith is equally troubling. It too indicates that there is something terribly wrong with our understanding of who we are and what God expects from His people. There should be a keen understanding of justice, fairness, forgiveness, and righteousness among God’s people, shouldn’t there?    Brethren, we’re bound to have conflict; however, the commandment from our Master is to settle our differences “in-house” rather than taking one another to court before unbelievers.

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