Pardon the cliché, but two stories last week really gave me indigestion. Frivolous lawsuits seemed to be the order of the day as pompous paperwork clogged our judicial system, from radically different corners of the world of slime.
Two men – one a PR exec, Rob Stutzman and the other, Jonathon Wheeler, a chef and amateur cyclist, filed a class action lawsuit claiming two Lance Armstrong books, “It’s Not About the Bike” and “Every Second Counts,” were marketed on the pretense of false advertising. The narratives were fiction, they say, and, in legal jargon, they want to be “made whole” after buying the baloney books. There’s no report on specific damages being sought.
Speaking of baloney…or turkey…or ham…or tuna…or veggies… or whatever else goes on a Subway sandwich, several meatheads from New Jersey (I’ll hold my Dirty Jerz bashing tongue) and Chicago have filed a separate lawsuit against the chain restaurant after one Nyguyen Buren discovered his foot long didn’t measure up, coming in at less than 11 inches. Of course in this age of viral videos, the claim sparked a Youtube phenomenon with both every day citizens and the media posting their own “experiments” on the diminutive grinders. If you visit Youtube and search “Subway sandwich measurement,” some 80 vides are returned.
Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, a popular syndicated talk radio program, even joined the melee by performing an on-air measuring. The show’s comedic wisdom concluded that while only 11.5 inches, overhanging meat beyond the end of the bread allowed the sandwich to eke out foot long status. Aren’t you excited?
Incredibly, Buren is seeking $5 million from Subway in damages! Hoagie harassment has gotten so bad in fact, that Subway had to issue a statement last Friday, expressing “regret” for “any instance where we did not fully deliver on our promise to our customers,” according to a New York Post article.
I’m no legal scholar, but based on my reading of legal-dictionary.com’s definition of frivolous lawsuit – “Of minimal importance; legally worthless [or] one without any legal merit” – I strongly believe these two claims meet that worthless criteria. Of course, it’s important to point out that we’re only talking about a handful of people. And by and large our legal system is a model for the world.
Hasn’t our country been reduced to a sorry state when even a handful of absurd, money-grubbing claims gum up the productivity works for the entire system? Legal backlog is a serious issue and statistics show it’s getting worse all the time. Earlier this month, TRAC Immigration, a government watchdog group, found that current immigration cases take 538 days for final resolution (nearly 1.5 years) and that the outstanding caseload is 22.2% higher than it was in September 2010.
If that’s the backlog in only one area of the law, I shudder to think how dire the legal situation is in other areas.
Shame on all parties involved for wasting people’s time, wasting a publisher’s resources and waylaying our legal system.
Hopefully both of these cases will be dismissed. But even so, such a dismissal will still require a judge’s time and legal counsel. In other words, the damage has already been done.
So read a good book, (not Lance’s) and chew on that.