Friday, October 12, 2007

The perils of lawsuits

Ok, so most people know that I work as a litigation specialist for an insurance company. My nearest and dearest friends think its pretty funny that I understand that people feel a need to sue everyone. I'm a pragmatist. Whats funny about it is my own personal belief that lawsuits are a tremendous drain on you, and in the long run really aren't worth it except in very rare occasions. Like almost never occasions.

My huge case in GA just settled. After 9 count em 9 years of litigation, the plaintiffs "won." Their win was a net loss in excess of $100,000. Now their attorney made money. Lots of it. My attorneys made money, lots of it. The plaintiffs lost huge amounts of money, time and good will. Congratulations.

My problem with suits is when they interfere with what is for the public good. Peope really think that they are really suing an insurance company, and we all hate insurance companies. Right? When I worked for the Virginia Municipal League, Gary Taylor's family sued the City of Blacksburg when he died there in a tri. Yep, they got a settlement. And it took a lot of work on my part to stop the VML from telling all the cities, towns and counties in VA to stop allowing cycling and running events. That one stinking suit just about cost all of us the races we love. Ask me about the real stories behind the scenes one day and I'll tell you. Gary promoted races, many without police, and knew that he had to obey the rules of the road in the tri. I feel bad for his family, but...

So a guy died doing Ragbrai. You know the drinkfest across Iowa. He was trying to cross the center line on his bike, and got caught in a grove and thrown and died. Very, very sad. His family sued. They got a settlement. The net result, the county where that happened has passed a resolution that the event is no longer welcome in thier county as the roads were not safe for bikes. Congratulations. The resolution has a chilling effect on other events there as well. If Des Moines Iowa isnt safe for Ragbrai, is it safe for a crit, rr, or tt? How about running events? Dont think so...

We all enjoy our sports. All of our sports are risky. We know this. Our families know this. Life is not a bubble. We fall, we get banged up and sometimes broken up. It happens. Suing the municipalities for it has a chilling effect on everyone. Sad isnt it.

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