To the editor:
If you want a good laugh, call up the American Tort Reform Assn.'s web page and check out the latest list of "litigation horror stories."
One of my personal favorites is the Knoxville couple who is seeking $125,000 in damages from the local McDonald's after a hot pickle dropped from her hamburger and burned the wife's chin. The suit contends that she was injured by an "allegedly dangerous and defective product" and her husband's suit claims he "has been deprived of the services and consortium of his wife"!
One that I'm sure will make the ATRA's list is the libel lawsuit chronicled in the Lawrence Journal-World Jan. 3.
It will say that Wal-Mart was ordered to pay $425,833 to a Kansas City, Mo., woman because the retailer posted a missing child flier that pictured this lady and her 16-month-old granddaughter who wasn't missing! It will say that the little girl's mother, who was involved in a custody and visitation dispute and was angry with the girl's father for taking her to the Lake of the Ozarks, had distributed the posters to various retail establishments in the area. It will also indicate that it is Wal-mart's policy to post only fliers that come from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the store maintains that someone slipped the poster through a crack in the locked sliding-glass doors covering the bulletin board.
To think that perhaps some do-gooder could find a bogus "missing kid" flier on the ground, stick it through the crack in the locked case, and cost Wal-Mart nearly half a million bucks now that's funny!
Sure, we consumers have to foot the bill for the "litigation lottery" and so what if Wal-Mart's legal counsel is probably advising them to pull down the "Missing Children" bulletin boards through out the country. We cannot expect a good laugh to be without costs!