Over-lawyering is criticized as a shortcoming of the American legal system. Cases like the McDonald’s hot coffee case are often touted as examples of the trend of individuals’ desire to place blame on others and to profit from their own mishaps. What is usually not mentioned, though, is the fact that 79-year old plaintiff, Stella Liebeck, wanted to settle with McDonald’s for the cost of her medical expenses alone. McDonald’s refused, prompting more than 700 similar reports of other coffee-burn incidents to be admitted into evidence. The huge jury verdict and punitive damage award for Liebeck was likely a result of McDonald’s pride and greed. The whole spectacle of the suit could have been avoided if McDonald’s would have agreed to settle for the medical expenses.
The same might not be possible for Victoria’s Secret, however. In what only sounds like another frivolous suit, a Los Angeles woman is suing VS for injury to her eye from a design defect in a thong! Sounds crazy, but the complaint is viewable at The Smoking Gun. She claims that when she was putting the underwear on, a metallic piece flew off and she suffered a corneal abrasion. The complaint does not state the amount of damages sought, though it indicates she is seeking lost wages and medical expenses. Her attorney has stated that her injuries will be "affecting her the rest of her life." Perhaps she is interested in a settlement, perhaps this is her chance for her fifteen minutes of fame, and perhaps there are many others with similar experiences . . . I am just not sure what to make of this! What will the world say about us when warning labels and instructions begin appearing on our undergarments?