Americans are pushing the limits of our judicial system as much as they can, and it is costing us dearly.
The latest case involves a Manhattan man suing New York City, LaGuardia Airport and other defendants in a lawsuit that’s turning out to be the most expensive ever. He is asking for more money than exists in the world.
The man’s finger was allegedly bitten and infected by a dog on an NYC bus, and for that, he’s asking two undecillion dollars in damages. That’s the number 2 followed by 36 zeroes.
Whether they involve people suing police departments, municipalities or school districts, crazy lawsuits costing our tax dollars are happening more frequently.
In California, taxpayers have ponied up more than $1 billion in litigation costs as a result of lawsuits against the Golden State’s cities and counties between 2008 and 2012, according to a report released a year ago.
Legal claims against the Department of Correction in NYC have resulted in more than $111 million in payouts between 2008 and 2013, says a New York Post analysis conducted last year. This figure also include settlements of cases that would have cost more to fight in court.
“There’s no set formula to decide what’s a proper lawsuit or not,” said Philip K. Howard, an attorney and author of a new book The Rule of Nobody. You have to ask yourself “is it protecting someone’s basic rights or is it a self-interested effort to second guess a public decision?
Even if defendants often aren’t awarded the damages they seek, these lawsuits crowd our courts and cost time and money.
Some cases are plain crazy, like the Long Island woman who sued her county for failing to properly supervise the cop she was having an affair with. She asked for $10 million in damages. “That’s just ridiculous,” said Howard. “She’s the one who should be fined.”
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