No crying over spilled coffee




Campus Times
November 7, 1997

 

People get away with millions of things everyday. But when it comes to the legal system there has got to be some boundaries with how far people can go. There are too many people trying to capitalize off of the legal system.

We hear of stupid lawsuits everyday. Most people laugh and go on with their lives, but these lawsuits are not fake, they are real with real people actually going to trial, taking up court time and resources. People are trying to find anything these days to turn into a lawsuit.

Take the big McDonald's spilled-coffee lawsuit a few years back. A grandmother from New Mexico ordered a hot coffee from a McDonald's drive-thru window. In the parking lot, with her grandson behind the wheel of the stationary car, the women opened the lid of her coffee to put cream and sugar in it and it inadvertently spilled onto her lap. The coffee was a scalding 180-190 degrees because customers like their coffee hot. It caused severe third-degree burns to the lower part of the lady's body.

There is empathy for her pain, but where is her responsibility. It was not McDonald's fault solely. McDonald's was found liable and she was awarded $200,000 in compensatory damages. There have since been at least 700 reports of coffee burns.

That lawsuit was ridiculous -- customers should use simple caution and common sense.

Another lawsuit involved a woman from Philadelphia who is suing a pharmacy that sold her a contraceptive jelly. Because she ate the jelly on toast and wound up pregnant, she feels a lawsuit is needed. What is even crazier is that legal experts are saying that she may have a chance at collecting. It is hard for businesses to avoid troublesome lawsuits and that is why people who are desperate or not all together there file for these types of lawsuits.

In essence, civil lawsuits have become some peoples latest get rich quick scheme. There are too many examples of these frivolous suits and a change in the system needs to happen.

In Connecticut, a woman sued a little league pitcher for hitting her in the face with a baseball. She was sitting in the bleachers and claims that the boy was careless, failed to warn her and threw the ball at a dangerous speed. How hard could a 9-year-old little leaguer actually throw? And watching out for flying balls at a baseball game just makes for common sense. Maybe the woman should have been sued for not paying attention.

In another example, a man in Virginia has filed a lawsuit against a hospital for not reattaching his hand after he lopped it off, believing it to be possessed by the devil. He claims that the doctors should have known he was mental and that they should have put his hand back on.

What is wrong with people these days? The U.S. legal system has to do something of these frivolous lawsuits and outlandish damage rewards that make a mockery of our civil justice system.



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