Michigan man’s 24th lawsuit threatens family business

 

By the end of 2009, unemployment in Michigan reached 15 percent. While neighboring businesses in Bay City lay off employees or close their doors, Richard Singer and his father are working hard to keep their small business afloat.

“Any time an entrepreneur decides to go into business for himself, he’s incurring a lot of risk, and the rewards are not guaranteed by any means,” Singer says. “When you throw in the additional risk of lawsuits and their potential cost, it has a serious effect on the economic engine of this country.”

In 2006, one the company’s neighbors – who had filed 23 previous lawsuits in the county – sued Acra Cast, the Singer family business. Acra Cast, with about 15 employees, is a small foundry, which designs and creates precision metal castings ranging from sculptures to machine parts.

The plaintiff alleged that emissions from the foundry had contaminated his cars, his carpet, and the siding of his house. Singer’s business has always been in full compliance with all environmental regulations. As the case proceeded, Singer learned that the plaintiff did not even own some of the cars for which he wanted compensation, and he had disposed of the carpets and cleaned the house siding before any evidence could be collected. From the samples they could collect, Singer explains that he and his lawyers eventually discovered that the gritty material on the plaintiff’s car could not have been caused by the wax burned at Acra Cast. It contained metal shavings and paint globules, Singer says, and was likely the result of parking near an auto body shop.

Even so, the case dragged on for almost three years, and Acra Cast had to pay for the suit out of pocket. Knowing he had not caused this damage, Singer refused to settle out of court, and he was forced to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees before the case was eventually dismissed in 2009.

These expenses, says Singer, burdened his business at a time of extreme hardship. The economy in Michigan and the fact that several of his clients have recently gone out of business meant that profit margins were dangerously narrow. He even had to lay off several of his employees.

“It’s one thing to run a business and to put up with the pain and the hard work associated with that,” Singer says. “It’s an entirely different subject to have someone come in, walk in off the street and – short of putting a gun to your head – try to steal money from you.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

70 Responses

  1. dom rossi says:

    There is a portion of the population who make a living off lawsuits, unscrupulous lawyers who care nothing for justice or the truth but just winning the case and sharing in the award. Then there are the perennial misfits, those, who like many others, game the system and live off the efforts of others. Plaintiff pays all costs should be the “law” in these frivolous lawsuits.

  2. Melinda Bandow says:

    Why not contact all the others sued by these piranhas and form a class action suit against them?

  3. Robert Miller says:

    Look as long as business men can’t be charged for theft when they rip off costumers I can,t support change I had a friend ripped of last month by a repair shop what is her recourse but complain to the BBB or sue.

    Also in this case any type of Metal working shop is dirty work and if you look at the shop you can see the dust stop trying to beat the system and using the court to get out of your obligations.

    Also at the start of the video you showed the vacant buildings buy or rent one and move the shop to an industrial area.

    These Guys look like Rich people who would do anything to defend there way even when they are wrong – my suggestion pay up.

  4. Sanford Stuart says:

    What can we all do to cause a class action lawsuit forcing tort reform? Our political representatives are mostly lawyers, the judges are all lawyers, we just went through this with health reform and got nowhere. The system sucks and we need to change it

  5. Ginny Clem says:

    I think like the rest of you think that the person bringing on the frivolous suit should pay all of the expenses of the person they are trying to sue and maybe those jerks will start taking notice when the money has to come out of their pockets. Then you will probably see them file for bankruptcy. What a shame this world has come to this. Then you have those out there that make a living on law suits. You should be ashamed of yourself and god will judge you in the end for lying.

  6. Ann says:

    For those of you who think that those Frivolous Lawsuit statutes help in this situation. WRONG. I had years of such a suit when finally it was dismissed with predjudice. The guy could not legally refile. HOWEVER, if I filed a claim that this had been a frivolous lawsuit against him it would reopen the original suit that had been dismissed! HOW DOES THAT HELP?

  7. Kimberly says:

    The guy who brought the suit found a lawyer who would do this. I don’t know how much the lawyer charged him, but I hope he had to pay a pretty penny himself, because it seems like he’s in the “business” of profiting by harming business. He probably took the lawyer’s fees as a “business deduction” on his taxes. The sad thing is, when people without money are truly harmed, they have no recourse in the legal system. But when someone who can afford to pay a lawyer’s expensive fees comes along and falsely claims harm, it hurts everyone.

  8. Mike says:

    Every other country in the world has what’s called “Loser pays” and it doesn’t mean damages. It means if you decide to pursue a lawsuit, and you lose it, you pay LEGAL fees IN ADDITION to the settlement. And don’t start crying liberal or conservative or Tea Party because they are all in cahoots. This country won’t change until the apathetic citizens rise up and do something!

  9. donb says:

    i have the reverse story. i bought a condo with a guy years ago. he moved back to the southwest and stopped making mortgage payments. stupidly, i left him on the mortgage, because each time i tried to take him off, my credit or income or both was not sufficient to take it on myself. i asked my mother several times to put her name on it, but she refused. i payed the mortgage for 16 and a half years without his help, even though his name was on it. meanwhile, i collected rent payments from my renter, took the entire interest deduction. he got neither, because he never made a mortgage payment for all those years. in 2006, when the market peaked, he came after me for half the appreciation, which was over $200,000 at market value. i felt he should get an apportioned amount of what he paid in, which was about $10,000 in payments for the two years he was there, plus a profit of $20,000. I though this was fair. He refused. So, i ended up suing him to partition him off the mortgage. My attorney even agreed that he get nothing. after doing research, we determined that he had rights to a full 50 percent. We settled on him getting $70,000, and i paid the closing costs and my attorney fees for the suit, which was another $10,000. So, my mortage went from the $65,000 remainder before the suit, back up to $160,000 to cover the refinance and pay him off. For years i felt betrayed by the system, but i eventually realized that, through my own stupidity and lack of knowledge of contracts, i did it to myself. Lesson: don’t put anyone else on your mortgage….

  10. nottadope says:

    @36. Hey Bill Smith… wrong wrong wrong. Lawyers in every state are licensed by a branch of state government. Last I checked, the judicial branch was a constitutionally created co-equal branch of the state government with the power to license, regulate, and if needed disbar lawyers. Facts make better arguments than ignorant rants. Yes,we need reform of the legal system, but first you need to get your facts straight so we can affect the change we seek.

  11. Joseph Budd says:

    Should make it legal to sue not only the plaintiffs, but also the lawyers who represent these crooks…that would cut down on these “junk” lawsuits.

  12. Rose says:

    i agree! after the first time of winning a lawsuit it is appealed i think the winning side should get paid for all the costs and all money lost due to the trial

  13. Darkside Forge says:

    So, the case proceeded to trial with no criminal charges being filed against the defendant? And it proceeded with no evidence whatsoever being produced other than hearsay? Sounds like the courts should be held accountable (along with the judge (judges).

    It also sounds like someone should hunt down the plantiff and break his kneecaps and his elbows.

  14. DM says:

    Lawyers are the only ones that win with these frivolous lawsuits. They should lose their license or pay a fine and that will discourage the constant jabbing at hard working, job creating businessmen. So what is the answer? The government is run by lawyers who are notorious for protecting themselves.

  15. Lori Austin says:

    I tried to post this to my facebook with comments in your favor…but it would not let me….good luck you guys….

  16. Cheryl Fox says:

    So the problem here is there are people like Robert Miller who are victims and think they are owed something. This is exactly the problem with those who sue.. they can’t make their money on their own merits. Tort reform is a MUST and needs to happen immediately. No lawyer should be allowed to offer “pro bono” services for civil litigation! Crap like this makes america a JOKE! STOP THE INSANITY!

  17. Robert Laviola says:

    Sue the thief and his sob lawyer back for at the very least, fraud.

  18. Jackie says:

    The most aggressive abuser of all is Legal Aid. They have unlimited funding and monitor themselves. Believe me we know, we were sued by them on behalf of our renter who claimed that “she owned our property in her heart” Even though she knew “in her mind” she didn’t. It took us 3.5 years to get our property back. Yes we were forced to pay for all her and her adult children’s bills . Legal Aid stalled, delayed, you name it, Our attorney told us their plan was to “run us out of money to force a settlement. We were drained financially. During the lawsuit the party destroyed the house- to date this has cost us over $70,000. There goes our retirement and the kids college.

  19. angela says:

    Yes, judges become very angry when you let them know that you are going to stand up for the truth. At this point, if they feel negatively towards you, they may start using their discretionary powers to bitch slap you.

  20. Dylan says:

    This is why these large stores have video cameras. it’s not to see who is stealing merchandise, it’s to scout for those who seek lawsuit income. If some robs a store and takes with them 200 dollars worth of things, then yes it’s gonna suck but the store is only losing 200 dollars. If some one who gets lawsuit income walks into the store and purposefully injures themselves so they can make a case for x1000 the amount that subject A got away with, then the store is in dire trouble. This is also why skaters aren’t allowed in so many areas. If they get injured you already know mom and dad are gonna blame someone else instead of their child.

  • 01/19Vote for the Latest Most Ridiculous Lawsuit

    Loading ... Loading ...
    View Last Months Poll