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Silly Lawsuits: Are They Funny or Disturbing?

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I have posted before about how litigious our society has become. However, I have been reading (and Tweeting) lately about some really silly lawsuits that have me despairing that things will get any better. I wonder sometimes at the lawyers that bring these suits and what they are doing to the profession. Here are some examples that I have tweeted.

A Fear of Flying

First there is the woman who sued Continental Airlines over turbulence on her flight. In 2009, she flew from College Station to Houston, a trip that was supposed to take about 20 minutes. She claims that, at the time of departure, weather reports showed a threat of "tornados, wind shear, and dangerously strong winds with rotating and intense thunderstorms." The flight took off anyway. She claims that the airplane "fell repeatedly, and felt as if it had lost power and was falling out of the sky."

She asserts that the turbulence caused her "extreme fear during this flight and believed that she was going to die." In her defense, the situation was supposedly serious enough for the pilots to consider making an emergency landing, but it was aborted.

This was certainly a scary and traumatic experience for her, and perhaps the airline should have delayed the flight, but suit? She is claiming to have been diagnosed with PTSD, which has led to a fear of flying, and has ended her dream to work for FEMA, which would require flying. Although she might have a claim, I just wonder if any of the other passengers are suing.

A Potty-Mouthed Doll

Second, A lawyer in Arkansas is suing Toys "R" Us over an allegedly cursing baby doll. Among thesounds that the doll makes, it also apparently calls its users a "crazy bitch." He says he first heard about the doll when a client complained about it and said her child began repeating the phrase.

He claims the toy store chain said it would pull the toy off its shelves, but hasn't. His suit alleges misrepresentation, negligence and breach of contract. Here is what he says:

Can you hear "Crazy Bitch"? It's rather unclear to me. In any event, why is a lawsuit being brought? Why aren't parents' groups, consumer advocates, and the like simply calling for a boycott of the store until the doll is removed? Why aren't letters being written to the manufacturer?

How about ads in the paper about this, blog posts and the like? Why are cases like this on the docket taking up court time that could be spent on more serious matters (even the one brought by the Texas woman now afraid to fly)?

But the Movie Wasn't That Good!

Third, feeling deceived by a movie trailer, a woman in Michigan sued its distributor for being misleading under her state's Consumer Protection Act. She claims that the trailer for the movie Drive made her think it would be like Fast Five, and she felt tricked into seeing an inferior film.

This is despite the fact that the film received good reviews and the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Huh? You have got to be kidding here!

I can see maybe airline turbulence (that can really shake you up, no pun intended), and even a cursing baby (although other remedies for that may be more appropriate), but this? She is even hoping to make it a class action lawsuit!

What do you think?  Are we becoming even more litigious? Even more willing to use the courts, rather than some other, more appropriate, solution to the problem? Please post in the comments below.

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