The tragedy of a Litigious society!

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
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How many of our beloved rotary-winged magic-flying-carpets ... have already & will in future suffer the same ignominious fate as this RV8????

EAB - the original builder liability ... the monster lurking in the shadows ...after all the fun & frustrations ... building - flying - fun with friends ... all life phases move on ... then what???? To sell our beloved flying machine-baby ....or dismantle & sell the carcass piece-meal --- scrap!:noidea:

http://www.rapp.org/archives/2015/11/tragic/ :Cry: :rip:
 

Gary_in_Orygun

Ex-RAF 2000 Driver
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I've been silent for years, but this topic has been on my mind

I've been silent for years, but this topic has been on my mind

Back in 2010 I sold my RAF2000. It was trailered to it's new home without blades.

Now I see that it is listed on BarnStormers.com, and I see my name listed as the manufacturer. That does seem a little scary.

http://www.barnstormers.com/classified_1070825_Brantly+B2+Helicopter.html

The following is some of the language from the sales contract. But I wonder if that does any good for the original seller (manufacturer) if someone else buys it. Any lawyers out there?
-------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Purchaser acknowledges that Aircraft was designed and constructed as an Experimental amateur-built aircraft and is not designed nor built to meet any standards of airworthiness as with a standard certificated aircraft. Further, Purchaser acknowledges that Aircraft does not have an FAA Form 8130-9 “Statement of Conformity” on file, with the FAA, since there is no FAA Approval data to which it conforms. Further, Purchaser acknowledges that this is an experimental amateur-built aircraft which the builder and owner are or were the experimenters, and that Aircraft was not built in a permanent jig and parts are not interchangeable with any other aircraft of the same facsimile. Purchaser understands that the registered owner is free to make such modifications or changes as he, she, or it wishes. Purchaser acknowledges that Aircraft was certified in the Experimental (Amateur-Built) Category and, as a result, may or may not contain structural and/or design defects or inadequate and/or inappropriate materials or components, and that this Agreement neither includes nor provides any assurances that Aircraft is complete, airworthy, insurable, fit for service, or capable of being licensed or authorized for any flight, use; or operational activities of any kind or nature whatsoever. Purchaser acknowledges and agrees that all decisions, judgments, or inspections related to the conveyance, sale, delivery, registration, or transfer of ownership of Aircraft are exclusively those of Purchaser and are Purchaser’s sole and absolute responsibility.

5. AIRCRAFT IS SOLD ON AN AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS BASIS FOR REASON THAT THE BUILDER OF AIRCRAFT WAS AN AMATEUR BUILDER AND AIRCRAFT DOES NOT COMPLY WITH THE FEDERAL SAFETY REGULATIONS FOR STANDARD CERTIFICATED AIRCRAFT, SELLER DISCLAIMS ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS OF ANY KIND OR NATURE WHATSOEVER TO PURCHASER AND ANYONE ELSE INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS OF AIRWORTHINESS, MERCHANTABILITY, AND/OR FITNESS FOR PURPOSE, EXCEPT SELLER AGREES THAT AIRCRAFT WILL BE DELIVERED WITH AN APPROPRIATE BILL OF SALE IN THE STANDARD FAA FORM. FURTHER SELLER MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS OF ANY KIND OR NATURE WHATSOEVER THAT AIRCRAFT IS COMPLETE, AIRWORTHY, INSURABLE, FIT FOR SERVICE, OR CAPABLE OF BEING LICENSED OR AUTHORIZED FOR ANY FLIGHT, USE, OR OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES OF ANY KIND OR NATURE WHATSOEVER. PURCHASER ACKNOWLEDGES AND AGREES THAT AS OWNER OF AIRCRAFT, PURCHASER SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS AERODYNAMICS AND STRUCTURAL CONCEPT AND FOR THE PERFORMANCE AND FITNESS FOR PURPOSE OF EVERY PART AND PIECE OF AIRCRAFT. ADDITIONALLY, SELLER DISCLAIMS ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS OF ANY KIND OR NATURE WHATSOEVER TO PURCHASER AND ANYONE ELSE FOR ANY FLYING OR GROUND HANDLING CHARACTERISTIC, FOR THE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY, OR FOR ANY FEATURE, PART OR COMPONENT OF AIRCRAFT.

6. Seller has made Aircraft available to Purchaser at Purchaser’s convenience without limitation prior to the delivery of Aircraft to enable Purchaser to have a PRE-PURCHASE INSPECTION performed by Purchaser or Purchaser’s agent. Purchaser acknowledges that Purchaser is satisfied with the workmanship and condition of Aircraft and that it is suitable for Purchaser’s own purposes.

7. Seller will transfer to Purchaser, at the time of the delivery of Aircraft, such log books and other records and maintenance/builders manuals and videos, if any at all, pertaining to Aircraft which are in the possession of Seller. SELLER DISCLAIMS ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND OR NATURE WHATSOEVER AS TO ANY LOG BOOKS OR OTHER RECORDS PERTAINING TO AIRCRAFT AND MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS AS TO THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, OR VERACITY OF ANY LOG BOOKS OR OTHER SUCH RECORDS PERTAINING TO AIRCRAFT.

8. PURCHASER HEREBY WAIVES AND RELEASES __<SELLER>__ THE BUILDER/SELLER FROM ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, LOSES, DEMANDS OR LIABILITY OF EVERY KIND WHICH SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS MAY HAVE, OR CLAIM TO HAVE, AGAINST SAID BUILDER/SELLER BY REASON OF ANY INJURY, DEATH OR PROPERTY DAMAGE OF ANY KIND SUSTAINED WHILE BEING AN OWNER, AN OPERATOR, A PILOT, OR A PASSENGER IN THIS AIRCRAFT. THIS WAIVER AND RELEASE IS BINDING ON THE HEIRS, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES AND ASSIGNS OF THE PURCHASER, SUBSEQUENT OWNER, PILOTS AND PASSENGERS.

9. Purchaser shall defend, indemnify, and hold Seller harmless from each and every claim made against Seller as a result of Purchaser’s ownership, possession, use or operation of Aircraft from the date of this Agreement.

10. This Agreement shall be binding upon the agents, servants, employees, officers, directors, successors, assigns, heirs, next of kin, and personal representatives of both Seller and Purchaser.

11. Purchaser agrees to purchase and install promptly all mandatory changes, modifications, alterations, or improvements designated by the FAA, Aircraft kit manufacturer, Rotor Blade manufacturer, Aircraft designer, or any successors or assigns thereof, whichever is required or necessary, and shall perform any other inspections, maintenance procedures, and repairs recommended or required by the FAA, Aircraft kit manufacturer, Rotor Blade manufacturer, Aircraft designer, or any successors or assigns thereof, whichever is required or necessary.

12. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of __Oregon__.

13. In any action brought to enforce or to interpret this Agreement, the Prevailing party shall be entitled to recover its costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees including, without limitation, attorneys’ fees incurred in connection with any appeal proceeding, and the sole and exclusive venue of any such action shall be in a court of appropriate jurisdiction for the County of _Washington_, State of _Oregon_, or in the United States District Court for the judicial district in which the County of Washington, State of __ Oregon__, is or may be located.

14. Seller and Purchaser renounces and waives any right to have any such controversy litigated in any other place whether pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens or otherwise. Seller and Purchaser renounce and waive any right whatsoever to a trial by jury.

15. This Agreement shall not be modified, revised, or amended except by an instrument in writing agreed to and signed by both Seller and Purchaser.

16. If any part of this Agreement shall prove to be invalid or void, it shall in no manner affected or impair any of the remaining provisions of the Agreement which can be given effect without the invalid or void part.

17. Purchaser is under no legal disability and has relied upon the advice and representation of an attorney of his own selection, or has had the opportunity to do so, prior to executing this Agreement. Further, Purchaser affirms that Purchaser has read and fully understands this Agreement, and has been fully advised as to the legal effects thereof or has had the opportunity to do so, prior to executing this Agreement.
 

thomasant

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I read the article. It clearly says that the kit builder used improper methods to service and maintain his aircraft, resulting in the subsequent crash. Why should the kit manufacturer be sued for this? It is sad to see that we have a legal system that has actually become questionable. It seems that right is wrong and wrong is right depending on how the lawyers argue the case. Unbelievable!

So if I choose to drive a 20 year old clunker on the road that has parts that are worn out after 20 years of wear and tear, and a ball joint fails and I crash, should the manufacturer of the car be held responsible?

High time that some common sense prevails.
 

birdy

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While theres easy money to be stoln from productive people, nuthn will change.
If theres was no money init, everyone would still know wot "sh1t happens" means.
 

EGNF

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If my (admitted not brilliant!) memory serves me correct, the "Quicky" canard company was put out of business a good few years ago by a similar case, where a "builder" who broke every rule during manufacture, including the strict rules on laying the glass, and using an engine repaired (bodged) by a back street auto shop after he ran it without oil, killed himself on his "test" flight.
sadly this litigious process is beginning to creep into the UK since the introduction of "no win no fee" with aggressive marketing from claims management companies.
At least here the "rules" preclude such massive damages, only "reasonable" damages can be awarded, not the eye watering figures that seem so often claimed in the US of A
Ivan
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
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Not the details ....

Not the details ....

But I saw the commentary on the EAA -AOPA email briefs about the unjust suit against Vans!

Tragic that the Darwin-process took out the perp-of stupidity AND the kid & a grieving mother found a scumbag lawyer to take it on!

I think the comments after the article you linked ... pretty well say all my thoughts!

On the pilot - passenger briefing for each passenger I take - I emphasize ... the fact that the aircraft is experimental - built & maintained by an amateur... point out the placard that states it is not conforming to FAA standard certification standards ... I'm a low-time pilot and I will not fly kids :sorry: ... ( That's a REALLY tough one when those excited faces drop in disappointment!) & then go on with the safety - equipment- emergency evac brief!
They are informed as best I can of the "risks" involved! To date my passengers are mostly fellow aviators & family ... with a few gyro community friends & prospective Titanium customers!
At fly-in's I direct people looking for "rides" straight to the CFI's ... with lots of experience, LODA's & tell them after they have supported the CFI ... IF they want a comparison flight in our machine ... THEN I'll take them up!
 

phantom

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If I sell a kit aircraft that I manufactured I would say that this is a kit for a race purifier and while you can do anything you want with it including fly, its purpose is to remove stupid people from the gene pool, try to fly it without proper training and it should do its job quickly, if not maintained properly it may take a little longer but the job will still get done and you will be removed from the human race, you will serve as an example to others and a less stupid person will get to eat the food that would have been wasted on you.
I don't know for sure if it would protect me from lawsuits but the look on peoples faces when they read the warning on the paperwork would be priceless.
Norm
 

ventana7

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Part of the growth of liability lawsuits was due to our terrible health care system. In countries that have health care (ie- every major country on earth), paying for recovery after an accident was not an issue.

In the US the first question everyone has to ask is - how much is getting well going to cost and who will pay for it, and will I go bankrupt in the process.... thus it led to finding someone to cover the cost of the medical bills.

If medical bills were not an issue far less people would look to sue.

Rob
 

Fly Army

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Part of the growth of liability lawsuits was due to our terrible health care system. In countries that have health care (ie- every major country on earth), paying for recovery after an accident was not an issue.

In the US the first question everyone has to ask is - how much is getting well going to cost and who will pay for it, and will I go bankrupt in the process.... thus it led to finding someone to cover the cost of the medical bills.

If medical bills were not an issue far less people would look to sue.

Rob
And if we went to a "Loser Pays" type system even LESS people would sue ! But alas, it will never happen. At least in Texas they did it right by limiting malpractice lawsuit settlements.
 

fara

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
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I have been sued before due to an accident resulting in 2 deaths in this business but thankfully I was able to defend myself and survive. The lawsuit listed everything under the sun and it sounded ridiculous. Still cost me a bundle and the stress was a lot. If it happened again I would stress out as much as I did before and I will probably know what to expect and what to do to continue on. Its a very hard lesson that I would not wish on anyone.
 

WaspAir

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unpopular truths

unpopular truths

Here are some thoughts from one with a few decades experience in the U.S. courts.

1. Lawyers don't sue anybody. Clients do. Lawyers represent them in the court proceedings. Behind every shocking claim is a client who is seeking to recover for it. Clients are people like you and your neighbors. Many of those people expect somebody else to be held accountable whenever something goes wrong.

2. Lawyers don't decide cases. Juries do. The juries are also made up of people like you and your neighbors.

3. Filing a suit is easy. Winning one is much, much harder. The big claims made in lawsuits get lots of publicity, but when one is dismissed or outright lost, nobody hears about it.

4. Thousands of valid, meritorious lawsuits are moving through our courts at any given time, and they vastly outnumber the frivolous ones.

5. Lawyers can be disciplined or disbarred (losing their livelihood) for pursuing truly frivolous claims.

6. If you are the client, it's highly likely that YOU don't think the claim is frivolous, even if it looks that way to somebody who reads about it in the news. You will take 2/3 or more of the proceeds if you win. If you are bringing the claim, you will want to hire the toughest lawyer with the best win/loss record to represent you. Everybody curses lawyers until they need one.

7. If an unbiased jury of your peers accepts a claim, and awards money for it, it's pretty hard to argue that it was really frivolous.

8. Each side paying its own fees (the so-called "American Rule") makes the courts accessible to everybody. "Loser pays" definitely reduces suits, but not without a practical loss of your freedom to use the courts. If your new Chevy had a defect that leaked fuel into the passenger compartment, leading to a fire, you'd want to sue General Motors. They can be expected to bring in a huge team of many expensive lawyers, and can run up millions of dollars in fees trying to beat you. If those highly skilled lawyers succeed, and you're in a "loser pays" jurisdiction, you are now on the hook for all those millions. Knowing that possibility, would you still sue? Few ordinary people can take that risk, leaving deep-pocket companies free to sell dangerous products while intimidating anybody who seeks to stop them. Claims that are not frivolous, and really should go forward, won't, because of those risks.


Personally, I find it curious that we all line up to support the troops and forgive them for all the horrors and mayhem they cause, even in stupid, immoral, unwarranted wars started by butt-head politicians, but we all curse the lawyers who fight battles in court started by our greedy, blame-others, opportunistic neighbors.

So, the question for me becomes, "how do we change the attitude of our neighbors"?

I've been hit by cars three times since 2002 while bicycling, and haven't sued anybody because I didn't think it was the right thing to do. If a lawyer can think that way, why can't everybody else?
 
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Many good points, but regarding the last one, presumably the drivers' insurance companies paid for your damages, so suing would not have been necessary.
 

WaspAir

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being sensible, not noble

being sensible, not noble

The drivers in two cases paid only for my out-of-pocket expenses for repairing the bike (and paid nothing in the third). My own medical insurance paid for my treatment, not the driver's car insurance. Ordinarily, accident claims in similar circumstances lead to a substantial claim for pain and suffering and medical expenses, which typically produces a very large award. I didn't go after it, although I know better than most how to do that.

I'm not trying to paint myself as a saint, but I don't get punitive toward people who make mistakes without the intent to hurt me, and I won't exploit situations for personal monetary reward, because it seems wrong to me. I'm sorry to say that's not customary here, and I really think it should be.
 

fara

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OK. I'll bite

OK. I'll bite

Here are some thoughts from one with a few decades experience in the U.S. courts.

1. Lawyers don't sue anybody. Clients do. Lawyers represent them in the court proceedings. Behind every shocking claim is a client who is seeking to recover for it. Clients are people like you and your neighbors. Many of those people expect somebody else to be held accountable whenever something goes wrong.
Some law firms go after and solicit families actively literally chasing ambulances. Look up Morgan & Morgan (for the people) ... the owner/founder owns one of the biggest law firms in the Southeast for personal injury, ironically had too many DUIs so lost his license and can't drive and cannot practice law but he has 1300 employees. In this case, yes technically clients sued but in reality they were talked into the suit by the law firm.

2. Lawyers don't decide cases. Juries do. The juries are also made up of people like you and your neighbors.
But lawyers certainly play a part in jury selection. Juries are made up many times of the people who could not get out of the jury work. Lets be honest. I have a business to run. I have zero inclination or incentive to do jury duty for 10 days. I will use anything in my power to get out of it. So who remains in the jury ... certainly NOT my PEERS or certainly not people like me.

3. Filing a suit is easy. Winning one is much, much harder. The big claims made in lawsuits get lots of publicity, but when one is dismissed or outright lost, nobody hears about it.
Even ones that are lost or dismissed like the one against my company cost me tons. The damage is done and who covers my damage? I think the law firm who took on the case on contingency should.


4. Thousands of valid, meritorious lawsuits are moving through our courts at any given time, and they vastly outnumber the frivolous ones.
That may be true and I don't have data to show one way or the other but there are hundreds of frivolous ones and they are hundreds too many. In some countries when a civil lawsuit is filed, it first goes in front of a magistrate board and they determine if the lawsuit has enough merit to continue and only after that they are allowed to serve the lawsuit to the defending party. Its possible if you sue someone, that that someone may not even hear about the lawsuit because it got dismissed before even getting served as it was deemed unfit. That however does not happen here.

5. Lawyers can be disciplined or disbarred (losing their livelihood) for pursuing truly frivolous claims.
That does not seem to be practiced all around because I know some law firms and friends who work for them as lawyers who survive and thrive on that and settle out of court almost 90% of the time.


7. If an unbiased jury of your peers accepts a claim, and awards money for it, it's pretty hard to argue that it was really frivolous.
Jury is not of my peers. My peers like me got out of the jury duty because they have work to do. Reality and Idealism are different things. Sorry but that is reality. I have been in the US for 26 years. None of my peers that I knew and considered them my peers (truly) ever got stuck in jury duty. Not even once.

8. Each side paying its own fees (the so-called "American Rule") makes the courts accessible to everybody. "Loser pays" definitely reduces suits, but not without a practical loss of your freedom to use the courts. If your new Chevy had a defect that leaked fuel into the passenger compartment, leading to a fire, you'd want to sue General Motors. They can be expected to bring in a huge team of many expensive lawyers, and can run up millions of dollars in fees trying to beat you. If those highly skilled lawyers succeed, and you're in a "loser pays" jurisdiction, you are now on the hook for all those millions. Knowing that possibility, would you still sue? Few ordinary people can take that risk, leaving deep-pocket companies free to sell dangerous products while intimidating anybody who seeks to stop them. Claims that are not frivolous, and really should go forward, won't, because of those risks.
Actually I think they call it "going Dutch" (as opposed to American Rule). Loser pays certainly seems a more logical approach than me being able to sue anyone if I found a lawyer who would take things on contingency basis. The law firm should be on the hook if they lose. Its a fine line and I understand your argument but there has to be some gatekeeping somehow. A lot of productivity is lost, a lot of businesses shutdown due to this ill. It can be contained without undue balance on justice. There must be a better way with a good balance rather than a floodgate that remains open.

Personally, I find it curious that we all line up to support the troops and forgive them for all the horrors and mayhem they cause, even in stupid, immoral, unwarranted wars started by butt-head politicians, but we all curse the lawyers who fight battles in court started by our greedy, blame-others, opportunistic neighbors.
Well ... hmmm, I can't say much about that.

So, the question for me becomes, "how do we change the attitude of our neighbors"?
First we got to know our neighbors. Where I live in a suburb in a typical 3 million people area in a US state, I know 4 neighbors after 10 years of living here. That is what American lifestyle is like today. It is or at least was not that way where I grew up.

I've been hit by cars three times since 2002 while bicycling, and haven't sued anybody because I didn't think it was the right thing to do. If a lawyer can think that way, why can't everybody else?
Good for you. I got hit by a car on I-275. My car was stopped in rush hour traffic on Dec 13, 2005 and a VW Jetta TDi (now we know the truth in German engineering but back then we didn't) came at me from behind and hit my car at 50 mph putting me in a spin and I went through 3 lanes across and thought for sure I was dead as pickup trucks and other cars came at me in the other lanes. Some how I missed them by mere feet as they slammed their brakes and ended up on the other side where another car hit me as I came to a stop. I did not sue and settled for $5k in direct medical expenses. The insurance adjuster even asked me, are you sure? I still suffer from after effects of that accident and probably will for the rest of my life but it was an accident. No one meant to hurt me. I was not brought up to accept easy money like that.
 
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I remember reading an article in Air Progress magazine about the only flying Panther jet that was owned by a private citizen. After marveling at the daring, difficult, sometimes hair-raising tales the pilot endured to occasionally fly this very expensive aircraft, I was shocked and dismayed to learn that the pilot-owner "earned" the fortune to maintain it because he was the lawyer in the suit that almost ruined Cessna. The suit was brought because the pilot of a 172 was confused by the fuel selector (Left-Off-Right) and was killed when the engine died. All I could think was all the pilots that now couldn't afford a nice Cessna because the cost of the liability insurance doubled the price of the planes. Seemed ironic that "Mr. Safety" got to fulfill his extremely dangerous dream by denying the opportunity for so many others to fly relatively safe aircraft. Lawyers have the same ethics as their clients.
 

TJMay

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" ...and probably will for the rest of my life but it was an accident. No one meant to hurt me." It wasn't an accident. It was a collision caused by someone else's negligence. You were damaged. Why shouldn't you be compensated for your damage caused by his negligence?
 

fara

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" ...and probably will for the rest of my life but it was an accident. No one meant to hurt me." It wasn't an accident. It was a collision caused by someone else's negligence. You were damaged. Why shouldn't you be compensated for your damage caused by his negligence?
Yes it was a mistake by someone but they did not mean to do it is what I mean. In all honesty knowing what I know now (that I will have the after effects of that accident the rest of my life and it does cause a bulging disc probably twice a year with pretty bad pain that lasts a few days at a time), I would have probably asked for more money to take care of it but the point being I was satisfied with them covering my direct expenses of care.
Why I shouldn't be compensated? That is a question we need to all answer for us privately. That is what I decided at the time for this accident.
 

PW_Plack

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7. If an unbiased jury of your peers accepts a claim, and awards money for it, it's pretty hard to argue that it was really frivolous.
I was with you up till this one. Maybe "frivolous" is the wrong word; perhaps "dishonest" is better. What do you call it when a manufacturer of a part which did not fail is sued after a crash?

In my opinion, there has to be some way for a free individual to weigh and accept risks in a manner which cuts the chain of liability off from abuse by every potential gold-digger in his extended family. If I want to be able to pursue this or any other relatively dangerous sport, there should be some way I could take that responsibility. If my wife struggles financially after I die, maybe I've been a bad husband. But that doesn't make the manufacturer of my fuel flow meter guilty of a thing.

I also don't buy the idea of an "unbiased" juror. If a prospective juror is truly unbiased, and especially if he has the intelligence and knowledge to fully understand the facts, I don't believe he'll make it past screening by the plaintiff's attorney(s). I believe our current society, especially the public educational system and the news media, biases us to view all businesses as inherently evil, and big corporations as crime syndicates.
 
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Smack

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so misquided...

so misquided...

Part of the growth of liability lawsuits was due to our terrible health care system. In countries that have health care (ie- every major country on earth), paying for recovery after an accident was not an issue.

In the US the first question everyone has to ask is - how much is getting well going to cost and who will pay for it, and will I go bankrupt in the process.... thus it led to finding someone to cover the cost of the medical bills.

If medical bills were not an issue far less people would look to sue.

Rob
What a stupid statement. The USA has some of the best (if not THE BEST) healthcare in the world. People come from other countries to get treated HERE. I could suggest 100's of countries for you to go to, Rob, for your next "doctor" visit so that you might get your mind right about how good our healthcare is in the USA.

So, per your statement, the dead guy's wife is suing so that the dead guy can get "better"? Really?
You are one of those people, I can tell...

Brian
 
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