A nutty woman in California tried unsuccessfully to sue Nutella this year for false advertising. The suit alleges that the victim was misled that the gooey chocolate spread is the cornerstone of a nutritious breakfast.
It’s unclear whether the woman was looking for financial compensation for pain and suffering. This lawsuit is nearly as ridiculous as the idea of fat people suing ice cream companies for their current weight problems. And although the case was dismissed, it’s indicative of a larger problem.
Lawsuits and laws are out of control in America, and have been for many years. We’ve all heard of weird, frivolous lawsuits like the Nutella case, or the woman who sued McDonald’s after spilling coffee that was “too hot.”
The possibility of personal responsibility seems unable to co-exist in an environment where people are allowed to sue for millions of dollars.
In California, which should be known as the “sue me” state, lawsuits are filed daily for people doing normal stupid things such as slipping on the sidewalk or experiencing “pain and suffering” inflicted from auto accidents.
Highly trained and well meaning physicians live in constant fear of getting sued. Lawyers have become more shameless than the latest reality TV stars in chasing after their prize: the potential of a big payout from a lawsuit.
But there is finally a glimmer of hope. A new organization called Common Good is actually working on fixing the fundamental causes of our litigious society. Which they say is this: too many laws. The organization actually offers a sober and practical solution to a variety of problems, ranging from rampant lawsuits to government bureaucracy.
The idea is simple. People turn to government to solve problems, and government solves problems by enacting laws. But making something illegal or allowing people to sue doesn’t actually solve anything, teach anyone to improve their behavior, or help society. It just slows things down or makes it profitable to punish people for violating the law.
The fact that you know you can be sued for getting into a car accident doesn’t make the roads safer, it just makes lawyers richer. And it ends up costing society money, by boosting California car insurance rates and physician malpractice insurance.
Recognizing this and rooting out the excessive legislation is a much more direct and effective way to deal with the underlying problems. With so many lobbyists trying to buy new laws, it’s refreshing to see a group of former lawyers trying to make our country work better by cleaning things up, and standing for personal responsibility… something most people seem to have forgotten about.