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Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Frivolous Lawsuits

There has been a lot more attention recently to lawsuits and politicians claim that there is an epidemic of frivolous ones. It seems like everyone out for a quick buck will sue any other person or company in order to strike it rich. People are getting millions of dollars for spilling coffee on their own laps; or stepping in a pothole and suing the city. Those things sound like something that has gone wrong in the American legal system, and that view would be correct if the cases were true says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. There are bits of information that people miss when a case comes out. Saying that someone got millions of dollars for an injury caused by their own carelessness sounds bad but the truth is that it does not happen.

Hot Coffee Cases

If you ask people about frivolous lawsuits the first case that comes to mind is usually the one of a woman who spilled hot coffee on herself and got millions of dollars in one of the largest paydays in lawsuit history explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. If your blood is boiling hotter than the coffee that fell on her lap it should be, because someone has given you all the wrong information. The case involved a woman that got third degree burns because the coffee was a lot hotter than it usually is. The coffee had reached a temperature of 185 degrees, in comparison the coffee from your coffee maker at home comes out at an average temperature of 135. She offered to settle with the company for 20,000 which the company refused. The money was used for skin grafts which are not cheap. She also did not get millions of dollars, her final amount was 640,000. Another Coffee Case: In 1992, a seventy-nine year old Albuquerque woman (Stella Liebeck) bought a coffee from a McDonald’s drive through. Her grandson was driving and he parked the car so she could add cream and sugar to the drink. She put the cup between her knees and pulled the lid toward her – inevitably the coffee spilt in her lap. She sued McDonald’s for negligence because she claimed the coffee was too hot to be safe. After trial to a jury of twelve citizens, they awarded Ms. Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages, but reduced it to $160,000 because they found her 20 percent at fault for the spill.  The jury also awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages, equal to two days of McDonald’s coffee sales.  This was eventually reduced to $480,000, even though the judge called McDonald’s conduct reckless, callous, and willful.  Jurors expressed similar sentiments in interviews after the trial.  Ms. Liebeck and McDonald’s eventually reached a confidential post-verdict settlement. So, what about the infamous McDonald’s coffee case – the one that kicked it all off? We all know that coffee is hot, that’s not in question. What most people don’t know is that McDonald’s was serving their coffee at about 180-190 degrees, hot enough to cause third degree burns in mere seconds. After 700 claims for serious injuries caused by their coffee, they continued to serve it at that temperature.

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Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Frivolous Lawsuits


The problem with making conclusions based on the little bits of information received is that there is a large amount of information that is missing. There is also the problem that some people will make exaggerated claims to make their point. These claims are taken as facts by some people and before you know it there is a whole new myth circulating on the internet. The jury awarded the amount because they had all the information required to reach that decision states Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. The company that was sued in that particular case also had a chance to accept wrong doing and settle for a much lower amount, they chose not to. A basic principle of the negligence system is that each of us has an obligation to protect, not only ourselves, but other people when we can take reasonable steps to do so. That principle makes both moral and economic sense.

It Is Your Right

A weak lawsuit is not necessarily a “frivolous” one. Frivolous lawsuits are typically cases that have no legitimate factual or legal support and are not even based on a good faith argument for the extension or reversal of existing law. Frivolous lawsuits are sometimes brought for an improper purpose, such as to harass someone. Examples of lawsuits deemed frivolous are those sometimes brought by people against the government claiming that the government has no legal authority to assess and collect taxes. “Frivolous” is not always used to describe baseless lawsuits. The term “frivolous” is occasionally used to describe equally baseless defenses that are sometimes asserted in defense of valid litigation.As long as there is money involved, people and companies that may have something to lose will lobby to take away an individual’s right to be compensated by another’s wrong doing. But you have to understand that there is a lot of information that goes into these cases and when you get a one minute report or editorial on TV you are not getting the full story. The cases can go for hours, days, weeks and sometimes even months. The people who get all the details in the case make a determination that a person or a company was at fault. They do not do this lightly and their service is important. You should never believe that your case is frivolous explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. If you have been injured because of the fault of someone else you should contact a lawyer.

Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Frivolous Lawsuits