Friday, May 1, 2009

So Sue Me

I was recently sent some mail about a class-action lawsuit through Volkswagen. You see, we used to own a VW Jetta but have long ago collected our insurance check after Texan Papa totaled the car trying to avoid hitting a deer. He went into the ditch and hit a utility pole. Oh, and did I mention that we'd just gotten the car detailed 3 days prior? And that we'd just finished paying it off 4 months prior? Yeah, good times.

But anyway, the class action lawsuit was for a group of plaintiffs who were suing Volkswagen because of an electric window switch or motor or something. They claimed that Volkswagen produced a faulty product and that they were entitled to ... what? Money? A new window switch? A new car? I have no idea.

I called the law firm handling the case and told them that I did NOT want to be in the class-action lawsuit and I wanted my name taken off the list of plaintiffs. "May I ask why?" they said. So, I told them, "I believe that court docketts should be crowded with cases for child protection and prosecuting rapists and murderers, not crowded with people who are trying to get a few bucks out of a nameless, faceless corporation. I don't want to be part of a lawsuit just because I can. Plus, I don't even own this car so I don't believe I even have a right to be in this class-action group. I never experience the window problem. I don't own the car anymore because it was totaled 7 years ago." They were polite and respected my decision.

Now today I heard on the Today Show about a woman who is suing Wolfgang Puck's restaurant because she went into the women's bathroom and found only one stall with a door. However, the stall door's lock did not work, so she had to hold it closed with her hand, while squatting. While doing her buisiness, the door was pulled on by another restaurant patron, causing her to lose balance and fall to the ground. She claims she sustained significant physical and mental injuries.

I love America, but I have to say that the state of some Americans is bothering me quite a bit. I have a new personal motto: Just because I CAN do it, doesn't mean I SHOULD do it. Just because I CAN burn a flag doesn't mean I should. Just because I CAN say curse-words in a crowd of children doesn't mean I SHOULD. Just because I CAN pursue a company for money doesn't mean I SHOULD.

What has happened to our freedom? Has it become the foundation for brainstorming about creative ways to further desensitize other people to what is unacceptable? Have we become a nation of people who are more concerned with "Can I get away with this?" than "Is this really a good idea? And if it's a good idea, who is it serving? Me? My community? The greater good?"

I don't like it when people push the envelope of freedom to the point of being different JUST because they can. I think it does not create a community that accepts diverse ideas. I think it creates divisiveness among its members, where people stop caring about the good of others and the good of the community and instead focus on self-sustaining behaviors. People will begin to put their own thoughts about what is good for THEM above what is good for others. Not that people shouldn't be concerned for themselves, but there should be a balance. There should be some self-sacrifice in order to be a member of a productive society.

New, innovative, original ideas are inevitable. Growth of individuals and communities is wonderful. But I hope that as we grow we don't lose sight of where we came from. Self-restraint is not a dirty word. Conformity does not mean losing ones identity. United we stand, Divided we fall. One nation (not many micronations), under God, indivisible.

Now, let's all get together and sing Kum Bay Yah.


McVal said...

Good one! I feel exactly the same way. Too many frivolous lawsuits out there, taking up too much time and costing too much money!

Jen said...

I am going to live by that too. Just because I CAN doesn't mean I SHOULD. But it does mean that I can call you turd.

Jennifer said...

I keep trying to figure out when we turned into a "me" generation. I'm not sure people believe in the greater good anymore.

Bridgett said...

BAck in 1991 my sister got bit on the face by a dog. The opinion of all my friends (I was in high school) and of many, many relatives is that we should sue the dog owner (our neighbor). My father summed it up, "that's not something we do." Colleen survived, the dog owner was mortified, the dog was put to sleep--life went on for the rest of us. And i've thought about that a lot. I think there was a greater reason to sue in that situation than for a bathroom stall or a window malfunction. But that's not something we do.

A few years ago, a friend asked me why I didn't sue when Sophia and I contracted e.coli in the hospital when she was born. I used the same words: that's not something we do. She took that in, and then mentioned that she'd read a study about families with children who were injured. Families that sued were far more likely to break apart due to divorce than families who did not sue, regardless of the severity of the injury.

If something happens that is criminal, I would pursue it to the ends of the earth in criminal court. But civil court? That's just not something I would do. It's not the right way to live one's life. At least for me.

E said...

Bingo..tort reform. And I come from a family of lawyers

Wendy said...






Wait, this isn't about me? I'm going to whine. Or sue. Yeah, I'm going to sue you for the mental distress it causes me to check your blog every day and never see a post dedicated to ME.


I love the suing squatter. If I were the judge I would sentence her to 100 squats and lunges just for bothering me with this foolishness. Because apparently she needs some leg exercises.

If I were a judge I would have so much fun thinking up diabolical ways to punish people. Jail is so limiting.

It's the best part of being a parent: "Oh, so you don't want spaghetti tonight? Ha ha ha! Then you can eat something you like even LESS!"

Speaking of which, my kids complain very little. Huh. I wonder how that happened.

At any rate, I would love to be a judge over all the stupid lawsuits, and have the ability to punish the plaintiff as needed.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Trial lawyers are some of the worst people on the planet. hey someone has to say it ;)

Scary Mommy said...

Oh, good Lord. Fucking ridiculous.