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  •  Sensible vs frivolous suits (0+ / 0-)

    This discussion has degenerated, as so many do, into "two" camps, one which seemingly advocates all kinds of suits and one which advocates no suits. Of course, both of those statements are false. Yet many seem to characterize the other side in that way.

    1) There are many cases in which suits are appropriate, in which small changes can and should be made. John Edwards has filed many of these, most notably the water drain cases in which a minor change in design can protect children from a very hazardous design defect. Suits and lawyers do good things when genuinely hazardous products are sold.

    2) There are a BOATLOAD of frivolous and stupid cases in which lawyers run protection rackets by creating product liability cases out of whole cloth, and basically looking for businesses to settle out of court by paying protection money. These frivolous lawsuits are a terrible problem. I gave the example of suits of wineries for lead capsules on wine bottles. There are hundreds of examples, in which frivolous, protection-racket suits have basically led to huge payoffs for lawyers, huge costs to businesses, and no help for the consumer.

    3) As the low-hanging fruit of dangerous products was taken years ago, it seems more and more the case that frivolous bad suits are being filed.  Many of these are drug liability suits, where lawyers dredge the hospitals for possible cases. Yes, some drugs are bad, but the FDA does a pretty good job stopping bad drugs. Yes, drugs have side effects, and sometimes the side effects are bad. But it's pretty difficult to have an effective drug (which has a biological impact) which has no side effects, and it's impossible to find them all before final authorization (and that statement is flatly and totally true - it is impossible, and it's pretty obvious why that is the case, and if you want to argue about that, fine with me).

    So, some suits are good, some are frivolous and bad, and many suits of late seem more frivolous than good. That is my position. I hope that many agree that not all suits for product liability are equally valid.

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