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Enough, already!


Vince Orza October 12th, 2006

We have become a nation of stupid lawsuits. Any damn fool can sue for anything and often win. Cigarette companies are running commercials against smoking while putting warning labels on cigarette pack...

We have become a nation of stupid lawsuits. Any damn fool can sue for anything and often win. Cigarette companies are running commercials against smoking while putting warning labels on cigarette packs that tell you smoking causes cancer, yet people still sue when they " guess what? " get cancer from smoking.
 
The latest group of frivolous lawsuits is aimed at fast food companies. America's obesity problem isn't because people eat too much; it's because fast food companies sell us fast food, which we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, by the way, we super-size everything!
You'd think there might be some individual responsibility here, but nope " it's the restaurant's fault we can't say no or eat a salad once in awhile.
 
There are people who sued United Airlines and American Airlines because terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the ground in Pennsylvania Sept. 11, 2001. If you drink and get drunk, it's the fault of the bar " or so the endless list of lawsuits alleges. If you drink and get drunk, drive and have an accident, it's the bar and car manufacturer's faults, say the lawyers. If your college-age kids go on a credit-card spending spree, it's the bank's fault for giving them the cards because college kids can't be held responsible for being stupid with money.
 
Then there's the death-row inmates claiming capital punishment is painful and cruel. Apparently, the murder they committed that got them the death penalty isn't the issue. Here in Oklahoma, we have people thinking about suing the referees of the University of Oklahoma vs. Oregon game for being lousy refs. There likely will be dozens of lawsuits over the spinach E. coli problem. Universities are sued because students fail courses, don't graduate and can't find jobs after they graduate.
 
Ever notice the warning labels on virtually everything? Packaging for artificial fireplace logs warns about "risk of fire," hair dryers about not using them in the shower. Frozen foods suggest you defrost them, and "Nytol Nighttime Sleep-Aid" warns the product may cause drowsiness! Las Vegas casinos are being sued by losers complaining no one stopped them from being idiots with their money.
 
California is suing automobile manufacturers because cars contribute to global warming. Given the fact the big three American car manufacturers are struggling, lawsuits such as this could help push them over the edge. Then they can be sued for causing all their former employees to lose their jobs.
 
This is not a criticism of lawyers. The overwhelming majority of attorneys are first-rate. As with any group, a vocal minority can poison the well. There are legitimate reasons to sue, but sometimes accidents happen and it's no one's fault.
 
Sometimes business leaders make bad decisions because they just can't know everything. Sometimes doctors doing heroic things in the operating room make mistakes. We all do dumb things. It's part of life. If we continue the escalation of frivolous lawsuits, we could undermine the very thing that made America great. Risk-taking and the willingness to try something new gave America the best legal system, medical care, colleges and universities, and strongest economy in the world. Careless is one thing "¦ greed another. - Vince Orza

Orza, chairman and CEO of Eateries Inc., is dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University.
 
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