Wednesday, March 18, 2009

$50 Million Chimp Lawsuit Explained

Wire services are reporting that the woman viciously attacked by a friend's chimpanzee recently has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the friend.

A couple of points here. First, the amount anybody sues for is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to anything that happens after the lawsuit is filed. Perfect examples (1) this woman, who was seriously injured and may have brain damage, and (2) the goofball $54 million lawsuit over a lost pair of pants. Both have sued for over $50 million; one person is hurt and the other one is...well...missing a pair of pants, and neither will ever see anything in the same stratosphere as the amount they sued for.

In fact, under Ohio law, if a person is seeking more than $25,000 from a lawsuit for whatever reason, the complaint must state exactly that, and asking for "millions" is technically a violation of Civil Rule 8 (which is never enforced, by the way). And asking for "more than $25.000" in the lawsuit complaint doesn't mean that the plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) will ever get it or is entitled to it. That call is up to the jury or judge, neither of which is bound by what the complaint sought in damages.

So why do attorneys or people filing lawsuits on their own (the pants lawsuit guy) continue to ask for ungodly sums of money in lawsuits both legitimate and frivolous? Simple. Publicity. It makes news. Generally speaking, combine a chimpanzee AND $50 million of anything and it's probably newsworthy...unless it involves more bailout money. That's now considered CHUMP change...

No comments: