The Litigious Society 

Albert Freed's lawsuit for defective underwear against Hanes was dismissed in October by a Pensacola, Fla., judge, even though Freed had complained that the briefs had caused severe pain and ruined his vacation. Freed said the garment's flap had inexplicably failed to close, allowing his penis to protrude and rub against swim trunks that contained sand from the beach, irritating the sensitive skin. However, Freed delayed diagnosing the problem -- by declining to inspect his organ. He explained that he cannot easily peer over his "belly" (and wouldn't even consider, he said, examining his naked self in a mirror or asking his wife to inspect). Consequently, he had endured increased irritation before recognizing the source of the chafing.

According to a November Chicago Sun-Times report, county officials in Chicago have agreed to pay a $14,000 injury claim to janitor Mary Tait, of the sheriff's department. The amount covers two incidents, in 1997 and 1998, in which she hurt her back in the same way -- while "reaching around to pick up a piece of toilet paper."

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