I worked for 5 years for the same company. During this time I worked overtime, but I was compensated for business generated.
Recently, I received a notice of a class action. For not being paid overtime for 5 years, I was offered a total of $300 in the settlement. The legal fees payable to the attorney were over $130,000.
I don’t care what anyone says. This is outright legal extortion on the backs of working people. This is casa nostra. Where are the state attorneys general now? They go after the working people trying to make a living, yet the lawyers have free reign.
Submitted by Ed R. in New York
I am a quadriplegic living on Social Security disability and a modest pension. I live in my own handicapped adapted home and receive health care from a local visiting nurse agency.
A nurse familiar with my home and its facilities claimed that she slipped over a chair in my room while my back was to her. This was a chair she was familiar with, but she said she walked backwards away from my bed during my care. She hopped within my view claiming an injury to her knee. She called her agency and reported that she couldn’t continue the remainder of her visits but did stay with me to complete my care, which was noncritical.
She claimed a disability leave from work under workman’s compensation, returned to work in light duty and was eventually laid off. Later, I was sued by her lawyer, who claims that she suffered a “career ending injury” from a “spinal cord injury,” although her original claim was for her knee. She is not satisfied with the limits of my home owners insurance and is pursuing all my assets including my home.
Submitted by Mark C. in New York
My story is very minor compared to any others. However, I see commercial after commercial of lawyers telling people the “deserve” to be paid for anything from a minor accident to illness to doctors and medicine. Tort reform is badly needed. But virtually all of our politicians are attorneys, so that need is glossed over and will never happen – unless we, as concerned citizens, begin making some civil noise.
I merely rolled into a vehicle at a red light. I insisted on a police report and the officer himself wrote on his report that there was no damage to either car and no injuries. About 2 weeks later, I got a call from my insurance company saying that the person had sued for injuries and damages. I showed them my car and the insurance agreed they wouldn’t pay. But, instead of going to court, they paid the other person $1,000.00. It was sometimes in the 90′s. I don’t even remember the date now. But I remember my insurance payments were increased until the money was paid.
Tort reform and lawyer actions are crucial to our present economic crisis.
Submitted by James H. in Florida
I am employed by a Propane Gas Retailer, and I was dispatched to a customer’s home who was complaining of a bad smell, headache and nausea. I arrived within 30 minutes, suspecting either a gas leak or possible carbon monoxide exposure, so I went to door with my CO detector in hand. When I got to the door, the alarm on my detector went off, indicating dangerous levels. I immediately attempted to get someone to the door. After several attempts of knocking and no one responding, I peered through peephole in the door to see two individuals unconscious on furniture. I had to force door open and carry both outside for fresh air. I also had our office dispatch 911 services.
Within 15 minutes, city police, firemen and ambulance service had all arrived. After a detailed investigation of what might have caused the incident, it was determined that there was a party, and someone attending the party had improperly lit the pilot on their furnace. That person had not sealed the burner opening properly, causing exhaust to be pulled into duct system and distributed amongst the home. Emergency personnel wouldn’t allow the individuals to come back to the home as a result. I felt sorry for the single mom and her child, so I got them a room in a motel for the night.
About two weeks later, I was giving my deposition to our insurance company and was told that they would settle even though it was clearly not our responsibility. They said it was cheaper than fighting it in court. They gave her a $75,000 settlement. I’m sure our insurance went up as well!
Submitted by Larry M. in Florida
A man who drove car service for a living claims that he tripped on the sidewalk outside my home. He sued me for medical bills and loss of employment. But shortly after filing the lawsuit, he got speeding tickets, so I knew he was able to drive. I had to refinance my home to pay the claim because my insurance company did not cover it.
Submitted by Jo-Ann L. in New York
In 2005, a small, unruly child was running out of control in my business. We requested numerous times that his parents to control him. When they would not, we asked them to remove the child from our storage building. They did not. There was a mirror on the end of the storage unit attached to the wall. The child ran so hard that he ran into the mirror and knocked it off the wall. Our staff helped the mother to clean up a minor cut on the child. The father apologized for the unruliness of his child and offered to pay for the broken mirror.
The next day we were served by an ambulance chasing type attorney. I turned the claim into our insurance, and because this took place in a temporary structure it was not covered. We received a judgment for $50,000. We have fought this judgment since 2006, but it is ruining our lives. We are now going to make payments and settle with this. The part that I don’t understand is that he was able to sue us.
Submitted by Mary F. in Washington
I am being sued for a car accident my deceased father had over two and a half years ago. The plaintiff’s car sustained $995 in damages, so it was more of a low speed tap as opposed to a serious collision. She is now making a claim for $283,000 dollars for an incredible list of physical problems, supposedly due to this accident. I am, like most folks, a fair person and feel she is certainly due to have her car repaired, even some compensation for medical exams/diagnostics. But I feel that she, like so many sue-happy people, is getting carried away to say the least.
Submitted by Daryl D. in Oklahoma
I would not believe this could happen IF it weren’t happening to me.
I moved to Ohio in 2000 when I got married. I thought my prayers were answered. We had a beautiful place to live and bring up kids and grandkids on a lake. In 2003, I was sent a letter by an attorney. A neighbor had claimed:
- Our deck blocks their view of the lake, but the deck was put on some 15 years ago.
- That I throw dog poo in people’s yards.
- That the swing set installed by my husband’s grandfather around the 1930′s was theirs too because they enjoyed it for so many years and we had no right to remove it.
- That my trees block their view of the lake.
- That I am rude to people.
- That we are over here killing each other. (This was one of several unexpected visits from the local Sherriff. We in fact were playing Yatzee with the kids.)
I could go on and on. This is not a joke. It is happening, and it’s costing us our livelihood. It has cost us well over $10,000 to protect our family, our property and our rights. This has emotionally and financially drained us. I have been afraid to go outside as the neighbor who put this together has spit on me, chased me down on a rider mower, and has 400 plus pictures of me and my friends and family and our property. Yet he is suing me??
Submitted by Michelle K. in Ohio
I have been in business 30 years, and all of a sudden everybody wants to sue. It’s a fad.
We have contracts with customers to built one-of-a-kind designed vehicles. But, when the customers found times were tough for them financially and they were unable to finish the project, they sued right away. People sue for any stupid thing just to make me want to settle and give them their money back. This is what happens when people get in over their finances and get crazy.
Submitted by Dave K. in Florida
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Medical malpractice suits are responsible for the increases in medical costs in so many ways. Preventive medicine as practiced by most physicians is increasing the cost of health care. Malpractice insurance is skyrocketing owing almost exclusively to inordinately high settlements. And a diminishing number of capable people are going into specialties where risk for lawsuits is high. When doctors become targets, everyone suffers in health care delivery.
Submitted by Carmine L. in New York
Legal liability has reduced many science classes in the public schools to worksheets, videos and the occasional poster.
Nighttime astronomy observations are few these days because the schools are legally liable for anything that happens to students after they leave campus. If students ditch out on field trips, the teachers are legally liable, so there go field trips. Labs and teacher demonstrations are going away because the teachers are legally liable even when the students injure themselves while committing vandalism or as the result of break-ins. Teachers refuse to teach certain classes because they don’t want to be legally liable for someone else’s bad behavior. In many science classes, the students seldom touch or measure anything, go anywhere or actually do anything except watch videos and fill out worksheets.
Students learn best from hands-on experience, but teachers are afraid to give it to them because of all the legal liability.
Submitted by Dan O. in Colorado
I was the driver of a vehicle struck by a drunk driver who was travelling wrong direction on a highway. My passenger was injured and has never returned to work although he is fully capable. I am being sued now by my passenger. I come to find out this individual sued another co-worker for running over his foot and used pictures from my accident as evidence. He also had a mysterious house fire while all of his antiques were out getting refinished. He now has a house on the lake about 4 times as big as his old one. Is there any way to put an end to this chronic suing and raping of the insurance system?
Submitted by Michael D. in New York
I am an obstetrician in Maryland. I work in a community of caring and competent providers who have literally been paralyzed by the fear of malpractice suits driving them out of the business. As a professional, I’ve been in situations where a poorly educated, medically non-compliant, teenaged pregnant patient has asked me if I would mind if her “attorney” could attend the delivery. Is that how patients think they can get better medical care? What is our society coming to?
As a direct result of lawsuit abuse, physicians are now “cherry-picking” low-risk patients. Why take a chance with a high-risk patient when you get paid exactly the same without the liability?
We now see widespread discrimination against those patients deemed “high-risk” as a strategy to minimize the risk of liability. Patients with pregnancy-related complications are being systematically denied care in favor of lower risk patients. If you think that lawsuit abuse doesn’t affect you, you are wrong. You are paying for that abuse through higher insurance costs and by decreased access to qualified and caring doctors who have been victimized by this broken system.
Submitted by Steve B. in Maryland
We purchased a trade name in 1983 from a bankrupt public corporation and have been making grinding and cutting wheels since that time. Sometime between the late 30s and late 70s, the plaintiff was a pipe fitter, who cut asbestos.
We are being sued because the former owner of the trade name did not warn not to cut asbestos with the product. This lawsuit has 8,500 different company names and individual names listed, from little companies like ours to large companies like auto manufacturers. I turned this over to my insurance company first and then was informed that I have an asbestos exclusion in my policy. I imagine I should have looked for such a thing, but, since we never have sold or made anything containing asbestos, it was not a priority. Now we have to pay for our own defense in such a ridiculous suit.
Submitted by Douglas M. in Michigan
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People sued our company because we received two offers on the same house in the same day and we accepted the other offer. It’s been 3 years, and they’ve gone to 7 different courts. They’ve lost every time, and they’re still after it.
Submitted by Mark B. in Washington
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One of the first cases I litigated was one where a woman sued her township for property damage because they used the Jaws of Life to extract her from her car after she ran it into a telephone pole in a single car accident.
Submitted by Casey J. in Pennsylvania
Recently, my wife’s business was sued by a former employee who sued after my wife terminated her due to client and co-worker complaints. The girl sued for punitive and compensatory damages because she was pregnant at the time. Never mind that my wife has had and still has pregnant women working for her in a female dominated industry, a hair salon.
Lucky for my wife her workers comp covered our attorney fees and the settlement, but it cost my wife nearly $10,000 out of pocket for initial defense attorney fees. The problem with it is that in New Jersey state law prohibits companies from subpoenaing employee work history in ”discrimination” lawsuits. Had this not been in the law, we would have not had to spend that kind of money.
Submitted by Joe R. in New Jersey
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Two months after my father died, a woman sued him for slander and a long laundry list of completely false items. I had signed documents and witnesses to prove every single claim was false, but the estate attorney insisted we pay her off because it would be too costly to take it to court. Even if we won, the courts would not make her pay our legal fees. We still lose. It cost us over $40,000 in legal fees just to get to the point of negotiating her payoff price.
Why shouldn’t she file such a lawsuit? It costs her nothing at all. Her lawyer works on commission and takes a percentage. She cannot be punished in any way. Her lawyer cannot be punished. But if I, as the executor of the estate, refused to pay her off and insist on taking it to court, the other heirs can sue me for wasting the assets of the estate.
Submitted by Jacqueline G. in Louisiana
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My parents have been the victim of a lawsuit based on hurricane damage. A neighbor used a lawsuit to try and extort $25,000.00 of damages for a car dented by a tree in hurricane Frances. While the lawsuit was filed in 2005, the case is still unresolved.
Submitted by Ricardo R. in Florida
I hired a woman on a salary plus commission basis. The woman seemed to be a great fit initially, but things quickly changed. She had poor performance, did not adhere to the rules of the company, and on more than one occasion, she did not show up to work at all. Her employment was terminated in May of that same year.
I received summons describing the suit that she was filing against me less than a week after her termination. I later found that she had retained representation within the first month of employment. In addition, my company was not the only company her family was suing at the time.
I got to the point where I had paid around 10k, and I couldn’t go on. I was working day and night and couldn’t keep up with my bills. I had accepted that my company had failed and that I was ready to quit.
But the trial lasted for three days and I won. No monies were ever collected from the plaintiff, so I ask what exactly did I win? I am in debt, and she has no idea how much pain her little lie has caused me. In fact, I am quite sure she has moved on to her next frivolous lawsuit.
Submitted by Christy F. in Florida