The ‘S’ in U.S. should stand for ‘sue’

So, now it’s come to this. An Illinois woman is suing her parents for negligence, claiming her broken ankle, suffered on a slippery driveway, was their fault. Carriel Louah wants $75k in damages and, get this, U.S. District Court Judge John Shabaz (wonder if he’s any relation to Malcolm X?) refused to dismiss the lawsuit and said a jury should decide if the parents, were, in fact, negligent.

We’ve clearly reached new lows when children are suing their parents. But, who’s to blame? Is it the get-rich-quick daughter? The get-rich-quick lawyers? The "it’s not my problem" judge who won’t throw this nonsensical claim out of court? Or, are all of us at fault for letting it get this bad?

What does it say about our country, and what does it do to our image, when this sort of crap is allowed to happen? And, what does it to do to our global competitiveness when so much time and so many dollars are being wasted prosecuting frivolous cases like this?

It seems to me it all comes down to a pervasive lack of accountability in our society. It’s always "…somebody else’s fault" if I fail or if something bad happens to me.

Somehow, somewhere along the line, Americans stopped taking responsibility for their actions and started blamed society instead. So, we see McDonald’s customers blame the Golden Arches for their obesity, thugs blame their upbringing for endless crime sprees and Ms. Louah sue her parents for an icy driveway (and an opportunity to pocket a quick 75 large). Hell, for all we know, Louah’s parents may be in on it, and they’ll all be splitting the Benjamins when the dust settles.

It’s enough to make me sigh in disgust. But, then again, maybe it’s also an opportunity? Maybe I can still sue the Ridgefield Park Little League for the broken cheek bone I suffered running into a leftfield fence in 1966? After all, it destroyed my optic nerve and caused lifelong 20-250 vision in one eye. That might be worth a cool million. Or, maybe I should go after more recent transgressors. First Corporate Limo Service has left me stranded time and again, late at night. Seems to me my mental anguish should be worth at least $25k per incident. Or how about the NY Jets? Their horrific performance last season may, in fact, have been a direct cause of my suddenly borderline blood pressure. I’ll bet a sympathetic judge and jury would see fit to award me six figures for my emotional distress.

Where and when does it end? Will Congress ever step up? Or, will we have to continue to depend on a few sane judges and juries to keep the madness from getting too far out of hand?

Hat tip to Trish Taylor for this idea.

5 thoughts on “The ‘S’ in U.S. should stand for ‘sue’

  1. Thank you and say it again, please. Lawsuits are another Successful getrichquick scheme that has become one of the largest “American” industries, sadly. Too many claims are not only frivolous but seem to also, lie on that line of im/moral. How would one tame the lawmakers? Help them decide to decrease this portion of profit in their industry? Some might say, the people… but oh… the apathy.
    On a lighter side, grace often prevents one from many of these situations and not all of us are so blessed (tongue deep in cheek).

  2. Beth, I completely agree… We live in an entitlement culture where individual responsibility is shirked and handy excuses are numerous. But to be fair, some entitlement programs (though with costs) have proven effective: e.g. Social Security has all but eliminated elderly indigence; welfare, at least after its reform in 1996, encourages the development of a work ethic.
    So what is needed is not so much an abolishment of entitlements, but the reform of a culture that promotes dependence on demands and handouts. (Please note: Not intended to be politically-minded..)

  3. I think the issue is less about lawsuits, and more about the culture of entitlement in this country. The lawsuit is merely the means by which one gets the money they are entitled to because they were hurt, or have had a crappy life. You see it elsewhere too, but perhaps not so prominently…the entry level employee who feels entitled to a promotion because they have been working for a year, not because they have earned it. Or the criminal who feels entitled to their behavior because the world hasn’t treated them fairly (so why should they treat anyone fairly in turn). Or even the person who feels they are entitled to a break because they’ve been working hard all their lives. I think there will need to be a major culutural shift before it ever ends…

  4. I like that you said they could be in cahoots b/c way back in the day when I was driving my 1987 Plymouth Horizon and a car pulled out in front of me and hit them, I got sued! The driver did not have insurance, nor did they have the kids in safety seats (no report of child passengers in the police report either). But the front-seat passenger sued the driver of the car she was in and me. Well of course, I had the insurance. Three years later, they were given a cool grand. Thieves are everywhere…

  5. All of Philadelphia should sue the Phillies…by this time next year they will have lost their 10,000th game.