A little frivolity is good for you. Actually, my daily allowance of tomfoolery is somewhat higher than average and that has served me well so far. But when is enough enough? When it enters the courtroom.
Before I get into it, I have to explain there are two meanings of the word frivolous as it pertains to lawsuits. There is a very narrow legal definition of frivolous litigation that only attorneys understand. By this definition, suing a restaurant for your hot coffee being hot may not be considered frivolous. Then there is the colloquial definition where it would always be considered frivolous. For the sake of clarity I am using the definition sanctioned by the court of common sense.
I started thinking about all of this recently when a friend was sued. He sold a building awhile back. The buyer saw the location before he purchased it. The property even appraised for more than the selling price. But that must not have been enough of a bargain for this buyer. A substantial amount of time after the sale closed, the new owner decided to sue my friend for a large sum of money. I guess that’s one way of negotiating a discount after the fact.
While that lawsuit is absurd, it doesn’t hold a candle to some of the lunacy entertained in America’s courtrooms. I have my favorites, like the lady who sued the makers of a snack food called Pirate’s Booty for $50 million. It seems that Pirate’s Booty had an adverse effect on her own booty, so she sued them for emotional distress, weight gain, mental anguish, outrage and indignation. Bad pirate.
How about the case of Scott Bender? Bender sued U.S. Airways claiming he had suffered mental and emotional anguish, among other things. Just what caused Scott’s anguish? He fell asleep during a flight. When he arrived at his destination he was still out cold and the flight crew apparently overlooked him and left him on the plane. When he woke up on a dark, empty plane he thought the plane had crashed and that he was dead. Wake up, Scott.
It appears I am not the only person growing tired of these absurdities. Ernie Chambers, a state senator from Nebraska is fed up too. In fact he is so fed up that he filed his own lawsuit to call attention to the problem. That’s right, Senator Chambers has brought a civil suit against God. He accuses God of causing widespread death as well as “fearsome floods, horrendous hurricanes and terrifying tornadoes, among other things.”
At time of publication, God’s attorneys had not responded to the allegations.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Oak Cliff.