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Forums > Social Discussion > Pros and cons of the 'sue culture'

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield

Total posts: 3252
Posted:This was originally a reply to this post from a different thread but I realised that it would take it off topic to post it on that thread (which is about mobile phones); and, that the 'sue culture' issue is quite an emotive and relevant one which would make an interesting thread in it's own right.



Most people hate the 'sue culture', I can see a few benefits to it in some circumstances (ie I know it's got some really bad aspects as well and I want to make it clear from the start that I'm not supporting it as a whole).



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Its the same with injury lawers adn personal calim adverts where you have a pathetic re-enactment and an actor saying how please they were they got 3,500 for falling over in a reallymonotone voice! The worst one is the waitress in the resturant who slipped over a bit of food which hadnt been cleaned up! If she'd been looking were she was going then she could have avoided it!!! It was a kitchen!!!







I think there's pros and cons to the 'sue' culture.



In that specific example, there shouldn't have been food on the floor; it's all well and good to say she should have been looking where she's going, but that's not practical when you're rushed, and the tray of food/drink you're carrying means you can't see the ground.



I was reading an article about disabled access laws yesterday. Apparently, in America, most employees pretty much ignored these when they required modifications in their buildings.



So the disabled lobby hired aggressive lawyers, until it became clear to the companies that not complying with the regulations would work out more expensive than doing the modifications (due to court costs).



Obviously it's not clear cut, and there's points of view on both sides, but, certainly from the perspective of disabled people who want normal access, that's a pro to the 'sue culture'?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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munkypunks
GOLD Member since Jan 2005

munkypunks

enthusiast, but not enthusiastic
Location: Los Angeles, California

Total posts: 367
Posted:To me, fraud is a subset of stupid. Stupid being shorthand for 'suits that shouldn't have been filed in the first place.' Because of my profession, I'm down on stupid lawsuits in general, but in America, I think we have reason to be.

There's been a guy in the news lately who found a partial finger in his custard - okay, disgusting, worthy of lawsuit - the ice cream stand conceded it happened, recognized that the guy found it, and advised that one of their employees had accidentally cut off his finger in their custard machine (which had had 2 previous injuries, but which had been found not to be the restaurant's fault). Even so, the patron refused to give the finger back. He took it home, put it in his freezer (thus killing any living tissue), and got it out only to show tv crews and his lawyer, saying that it had caused him extreme emotional distress and that he wanted it tested for disease (um, couldn't the doctors do that while reattaching it, you censored?!) After he'd gotten sufficient bad press, he offered to give it back; by then, reattachment was medically impossible. I disbelieve that this is what you meant by the "sue culture" that you're so in favour of. You gotta understand that things are different here.

and, recognizing that I have the math skills of a lawyer, 700 claims in 10 years is not even 2 per week. And that's in a worldwide conglomerate. Or do you mean 700 in that one particular restaurant?

I'm not sure how, as a lawyer, I ended up on the side of 'lawsuits are crap.' Not all of them are. In fact, the two people who have asked for advice here, I've said they should look into it further, maybe they have a case. There isn't a bright line test. But I feel confident that, in the States, we get many more stupid lawsuits than most other western countries. (I know little enough about most of the 'western' countries - being american and all - and will not even venture a guess on Asian countries.)


You can't fall off the floor, but sometimes you need a chair to reach the cookie jar.

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Firstly, I'm not in favour of the 'sue culture'; the whole reason I posted this thread was to get some discussion going so I could start to come to a decision on this issue.

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Concerning the ice cream incident- I find the whole stroy quite bizarre!

Firstly, given that the guy was eating some ice cream and found a human finger inside it; I'm not at all surprised that he freaked out and perhaps didn't react completely ratioanally.

Maybe we can say he was out of order to refuse to give it back; but, for me, when it comes to laying blame I'm thinking more of the ice-cream company.

Their employee loses a finger in the machine, and they don't have a procedure for ensuring it doesn't go out of the factory?!?

The guy who finds it is being condemned for not releasing it on the grounds that he's preventing it being sewn back on; yet, when it comes to re-attachment, the very best chance of success is that, when the accident occurs, the plant is shut down, the finger found, and then shipped off in the ambulance with the casuality.

Cetainly, selling off the batch knowing that someones finger is in it is bizarre.

I'll grant you, maybe the finder was out-of -order; but I'd also say that this is another case of a convenient scapegoat distracting from the true cause of this tradegy, which would seem, from the description you gave above, to be gross negligence on the part of the ice-cream company.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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munkypunks
GOLD Member since Jan 2005

munkypunks

enthusiast, but not enthusiastic
Location: Los Angeles, California

Total posts: 367
Posted:I wasn't clear. It was an ice cream restaurant. No plant, no factory. The losing of the finger occurred thirty minutes prior. So not a case of shipping the product anywhere. There has been some question among my friends about why it took a half hour to find it, but the press hasn't been clear on what measures were being taken by the other employees to look for it. And, yes, I'll give you that in the immediate aftermath the finder could rightly be in some state of shock. But this guy took it home for several days, and had the presence of mind to get an attorney and speak to the press. That sounds pretty pre-meditated to everyone I've spoken to about it. And part of the point is that the restaurant had been found to be NOT negligent twice before, so could have been pretty hardnosed about it, but instead it immediately conceded that the custard should not have been served to a customer with a finger it it.

What really sucks in this whole thing is that the 23 yr old kid who lost a finger will be limited in his recovery by the worker's compensation laws (unless he can figure out a way to sue the manufacturer of the machine, or as the popular opinion is around here - if he can sue the finder), and the a$$hat with the finger will get a hefty settlement or jury award. What kind of justice is that?


You can't fall off the floor, but sometimes you need a chair to reach the cookie jar.

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:I think that it's good that the school took it as seriously as they did. I think after an incident like that (and they've already taken down the gate) they will be a lot stricter on supervision. The only real test will be whether they will keep it up when all the fuss has died down.

I don't think it would really serve anyone to sue the school. Funding is already tight in the education services, and suing them will mean money lost for books, equipment, staff etc.

I don't want to sound like I'm attacking you (I'm not) I just think that suing "After the event" when the party responsible has *already* taken steps to prevent a repeat occurence serves little purpose (although I'm sure that you could find uses for a couple of grand) *smiles* I know I could...


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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