George Will: Wrecking a Nation Through Litigation Excess

By January 11, 2009Briefly Legal

From syndicated columnist George Will, “Litigation Nation“:

Someone hurt while running at recess might sue the school district for inadequate supervision of the runner, as Broward County knows: It settled 189 playground lawsuits in five years. In Indiana, a boy did what boys do: He went down a slide headfirst — and broke his femur. The school district was sued for inadequate supervision. Because of fears of such liabilities, playgrounds all over America have been stripped of the equipment that made them fun. So now in front of televisions and computer terminals sit millions of obese children, casualties of what attorney and author Philip Howard calls “a bubble wrap approach to child rearing” produced by the “cult of safety.” Long Beach removed the warning signs because it is safer to say nothing: Reckless swimmers injured by the tides might sue, claiming that the signs were not sufficiently large or shrill or numerous, or something. Only a public outcry got the signs restored.

Defensive, and ludicrous, warning labels multiply because aggressiveness proliferates. Lawsuits express the theory that anyone should be able to sue to assert that someone is culpable for even an idiotic action by the plaintiff, such as swallowing a fishing lure.

A predictable byproduct of this theory is brazen cynicism, encouraged by what Howard calls trial lawyers “congregating at the intersection of human tragedy and human greed.”

Read the whole thing.

Not coincidently, here are the “featured advertising links” on the Washington Post webpage upon which Will’s column appeared.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • […] week (our earlier coverage). American Courthouse also comments, while Carter Wood at ShopFloor observes that George Will’s column at the Washington Post giving the book a rave was bedecked with ads […]

  • […] ShopFloor points out that the Washington Post, as if to prove this thesis, features links to two asbestos lawyers and three personal injury law firms on the same web page as Will’s column appears. […]

  • I have a solution to problems caused by companies and institutions settling such cases. Stop settling such cases. Take them to trial. Many jurors are offended by these kind of claims. Did you know that in Arizona, doctors win over 90% of cases taken to trial? A philosophy of settlement has taken over civil litigation. This just encourages more claims. Making claimants with questionable claims go to trial will solve a lot of problems.

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