Professional Plaintiff Profits off His Three Phones

Meet Craig Cunningham, a Tennessee man who has three cell phones that he uses to bait businesses.

Cunningham is another example of a “professional plaintiff,” or someone who manufactures lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Under this 26-year-old law, which was designed to stop annoying telemarketers from interrupting dinner, plaintiffs can take up to $1,500 per call.

To catch these calls, professional plaintiffs like Cunningham stockpile reassigned phone numbers. All Cunningham needs to do is wait for businesses to call. Since the business has no idea the number was reassigned, it falls right into the trap. For his first lawsuit, he sued a home security company after taking their survey and meeting with an installer to find out exactly who he needed to sue.

Cunningham, unfortunately, is not the only example of a TCPA professional plaintiff. A Pennsylvania woman, for example, admitted last year to using 35 different cell phones to create TCPA lawsuits.

Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2017

A lawsuit claiming that Jelly Belly “deceived” a woman about the sugar in its Sport Beans product – despite a clear content label on its packaging – tops the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR) list of the Top 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2017.

Watch the video above to view all the lawsuits.

“Lawsuits like these may be a dream come true for late night comedians, but the toll that abusive litigation takes on our society is no joke,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard.

The Top 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2017 were determined based on the 10 most popular stories featured on this Web site.

The Top 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2017 are:

  1. ‘Deceived’ by Jelly Beans, Woman Files Lawsuit Against Jelly Belly (San Bernardino County, California)
  2. Man Sues Uber for Ruining His Marriage (France)
  3. ‘Time Clock’ Lawsuit Filed Against Starbucks (California)
  4. Man Trips Over Christmas Tree, Sues (New Milford, New Jersey)
  5. Negligent Handshake Leads to Lawsuit (Palm Beach County, Florida)
  6. Woman Sues Restaurant After Falling Off Popular Donkey Statue (Tallahassee, Florida)
  7. Class Action Lawsuit Over ‘Fake Butter’ (Worcester, Massachusetts)
  8. Man Sues Date for Texting During Movie (Austin, Texas)
  9. 15-Year-Old Sues Mom for Confiscating Phone (Spain)
  10. Woman Sues U.S. Government Over Nacho Cheese Burn (Wichita Falls, Texas)

Survey: Florida’s Lawsuit Climate Again Ranks Among Nation’s Worst

Florida is ranked #46 in the 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States survey, falling two spots from its already low 2015 ranking.

Florida scores poorly in all of the key element categories, but particularly with regard to the competence and impartiality of trial judges—where it ranked 48th.

Watch the video above to learn more.

Missouri’s Leaders Work to Improve Lawsuit Climate as New Survey Shows State’s Ranking has Slipped

Missouri’s lawsuit climate fell to 49th out of 50 in a new national survey released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). The low ranking comes at the very time that Missouri’s governor and legislature have passed significant legal reforms designed to fix the problem that the survey highlights.

The 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States surveyed senior business executives on their experiences with state lawsuit environments. The survey was in the field in the spring before the new reforms passed, and therefore reflect Missouri’s long-running problems with its lawsuit climate rather than the positive impact of its new laws.

The emphasis on tort reform by Governor Greitens and other political leaders comes at a critical time. An all-time high 85 percent of survey participants said that a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact their company’s decisions about where to locate or expand.

“Missouri’s lawsuit climate is in a state of transition, and Gov. Greitens and the state legislature deserve credit for rolling up their sleeves and working hard to turn things around,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. “That’s a tall order given the poor legal environment that developed under past leaders, but the state is now showing a new determination to be known as the ‘Show-Me State’ rather than the ‘Sue-Me State.’”

Missouri’s reforms include keeping “junk science” out of state courts, reining in “gotcha” lawsuits against insurers who tried to pay a claim in good faith, and allowing juries to know whether a plaintiff already received compensation for the injury over which they’re suing.

More reforms are slated for next year’s legislative session, giving Missouri optimism that its ranking will improve in future surveys.