They Take All The Fun Out Of Fun

Anybody who has lived here in America for any length of time knows that Americans are probably the most litigious people on the face of the earth. We'll sue just about anybody at the drop of a hat. Heck, we'll sue the person that dropped the hat, the manufacturer of the hat, and the city where the person who dropped the hat happened to drop it. There are plenty of scumbag lawyers out there willing to help you do just that for a hefty cut of the winnings, of course.

That means that other lawyers need to prevent any possibility of anybody suing anyone for any reason by making sure that any condition that might cause injury, real or imagined, must be eliminated. That's the reason why we see so many warning labels in multiple languages telling us not to do so many different stupid things: Many of these 'stupid things' happen to be something that someone somewhere actually did, and then sued somebody else when they were hurt because they did the 'stupid thing'.

The problem is that now many of these preventative measures are sucking the joy and fun in life. As Steve Moore writes in this Opinion Journal piece, even the traditional use of a diving board at the local pool is in jeopardy.

I'm now an official victim of the trial lawyers. So are my kids and the 800 members of our community pool that opened this summer without a high diving board.

The three-meter board had been a fixture of our pool at Chesterbrook Swim Club in Fairfax County, Va., for as long as anyone can remember. But the county has declared that it can no longer afford to pay the liability insurance for it--and so we've been grounded.

Most of the parents and kids share my disappointment at being cheated out of one of the great joys of summertimes past. No high board means no more "atomic" cannonballs, can openers, jack knives and watermelons, the kind of attention-grabbing dives that boys love to perform, sending a quarter of the pool's water spraying onto unsuspecting sunbathers nearby. And no more graceful teenage girls either, performing double flips with a twist, entering the water with hardly a ripple.

So why can't we just have a sign that reads: "Jump off this board at your own risk"? Some of our club members, many of whom are lawyers, say the elimination of the high board is for the safety of "the children."

How long will it be before they go after floating lounge chairs, bicycles, rollerblades, or worse, walking shoes? Where does it all end? There are only a few ways to fight back.

One possible solution is one that Shakespeare had suggested.

“The first thing we do, let's all kill the lawyers.” - Henry V, Part II, Act IV, Scene II

Yes, a bit drastic, but I certainly have been tempted.

Maybe we need tort reform, or better yet, taking into account the intelligence of those actually filing suit. If the plaintiff is of average or above average intelligence and has done something stupid and injured themselves, they lose. That they failed to exercise common sense and tried to use a lawnmower to trim the hedge, in the process severing some fingers, does not give them license to sue the manufacturer or retailer of the lawnmower. Instead, it means they get nothing. Not one red cent. No one should be rewarded for their lack of common sense.

The mindless litigation must be stopped, otherwise we might all end up looking like Bib, the Michelin Man because of all of the protective gear and clothing we'll be forced to wear in order to even walk out our front door.

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