by John Hawkins | August 2, 2002 6:48 pm
Making The Case For The Loser-Pays System: This lawsuit is the poster child for why we need a loser-pays principle in our legal system…
“An Ashland man is suing Delta Airlines because he was seated next to an obese man during a two-hour flight last November.
Philip Shafer said that Delta breached its contract to provide him with a full seat and reasonable comfort. Shafer claims he suffered embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress from the flight.”
So basically this guy was uncomfortable for two hours and because of that he’s suing the airline. Now how often have you been “uncomfortable” for a two hour period? Have you ever been to a party where you didn’t know anyone so you kind of just stood around? Have you ever driven for more than two hours in the middle of summer without air conditioning? Have you ever been on a blind date where you knew five minutes in that you weren’t interested in the person but you had to slog it out for the night so as not to be rude? If the answer to any of those questions was “yes” did you sue anyone because of it? Of course not, but if you had wanted to sue someone and there was a corporation with deep pockets involved, some parasitic trial lawyer would have taken your case. That’s because cases like this are just like playing the lottery with exceptionally good odds. What do I mean? Let’s look at what often happens in cases like this.
This Philip Shafer leech and his scumbag lawyer have sued Delta. It’ll cost Delta let’s say $75k to fight this suit in court win or lose. Plus, there’s always the chance that Delta will lose no matter how good their case is. If that happens at best it means they’ll have to spend more money for an appeal. But if worse comes to worse, Delta may have to pay out a large sum in damages and it may set a precedent that allows other “uncomfortable” people to sue them. On the other hand, Phillip Shafer and his lawyer are risking nothing but their time. His lawyer is probably taking the case for a piece of the settlement money with nothing up front. He knows that chances are that Delta will settle because in most cases it’s in Delta’s interest to do so. If you’re Delta and you can talk Shafer and his lawyer into taking $50k, then you’ve just saved yourself $25k in legal expenses at least and you’re no longer risking a precedent setting decision against you by some left-wing activist judge.
So Shafer and his lawyer agree to keep things quiet and in return they split $50k for being blood sucking ticks on Delta’s scalp. Then Delta has to raise ticket prices on the rest of us to make up for the $50k they just spent paying off these shakedown artists. That’s why we need to implement some sort of “loser-pays” rules to stop these frivolous lawsuits. I can 100% guarantee you that this guy would not be filing this suit if he knew he might have to pay even 10% of Delta’s legal fees if he lost. By stopping this sort of “let’s play the lottery” type of lawsuit, we could literally keep these bloodsuckers from passing untold billions of dollars worth of costs on to the rest of us.
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