There has been a lot of hot air expended over Judge Roy Pearson's $54 million lawsuit against his dry cleaners who lost a pair of pants. Now I know a lot of you are thinking;"This is insane! What reasonable person would bring such a frivolous lawsuit for such a minor inconvenience?" Ah, but the good judge has been far from intemperate. He has already reduced the amount he is seeking for damages by $11 million dollars, and bases his potentially precedent-setting case on a close, personal reading of the Consumer Protection Act and Common Law, surely a model of jurisprudence of which our fine legal system can be justly proud. It's not about the pants - thank goodness - but rather "that the shop managers committed fraud and misled consumers with signs that claimed Satisfaction Guaranteed and 'Same Day Service.'"
I think this is great. I've suffered more than a few indignities in my time as a loyal consumer of what American enterprise so conveniently purveys. Now that Burger King® has retrofitted its old slogan "Have It Your Way®" for modern fast food consumers, I'm going to be seeking satisfaction of a decidedly legal nature if I don't, in fact, get it my way. And BK, be advised that my way is fine, aged Angus on a silver platter with a slice of truffle and a glass of Mike Ditka's Kick Ass Red. And Mikey, if that wine doesn't kick ass as advertised I'll be suing the pigskin off of you, too.
But I work for a non-profit and am a "share the wealth" kind of guy, so here, without any implied endorsement or representation of legality, product liability, or odds of success in court, is my TOP TEN LIST OF POTENTIAL LAWSUITS INSPIRED BY A PEARSON V. POOR WORKING STIFF DRY CLEANER PRECEDENT.
10. Roadsigns warning "SLOW CHILDREN" disparage kids who are aren't as quick as their peers. The psychic wounds alone from this kind of publicly sanctioned discrimination ought to garner millions of highway department dollars in punitive damages for families of such children living on streets with these signs.
9. Anyone who tells me to "Have a Nice Day" and doesn't appear sincerely interested in the prospect of my future happiness after leaving their place of employment is making false representations of caring and sensitivity and thanks to Roy Pearson, I can now open up a can of legal whoop-ass on them.
7. Although it closed in the 1970s, I bet there are still legal grounds for taking on the former owners of Schaeffer Brewery for their jingle "Schaeffer is the one beer to have where you're having more than one!" If I have more than one beer and then wrap my car around a tree, you can bet I'll be pointing my finger at the pervasive influence of this jingle on my impressionable young mind listening to it on AM radio during family trips to the shore in the early 1970s.
6. The United States Army has been telling me to BE ALL THAT I CAN BE for a long while now, and although I am fully capable of being a decent guitarist if only I learned how to play and practiced regularly, this has not happened and I blame the military for this shortcoming.
5. Anyone who says "There's nothing like it" is denying that the thing itself exists. I know I can prove they are wrong in court, so all that's left to do is find a really well off company that uses an ad agency without a single pedantic English Major on its staff to catch this error and I'm in the money, baby.
4. When you get caught with your hand in the till in the mall at Foot Locker, be sure to claim that Nike told you to "Just Do It", presumably so you could afford their sneakers. What's a misdemeanor larceny charge and loss of minimum wage employment against the tens of millions you could get from a false advertising lawsuit? Just sayin'.
3. When some entertainment hack endorses a film I can't even remember as "unforgettable", that miscreant is gonna have to pay up. The same goes for lame sequels plugged as "even better than the first" and "performances of a lifetime" by still-living actors.
2. Folks whose homes were washed away by Hurricane Katrina and found their insurance claims would not be honored because their policies only covered wind damage should challenge the claim that "Nationwide is on your side®."
1. "Virginia is for Lovers", which by inference means Virginia is not for virgins. I'm not having that, and likewise I expect to find no haters, curmudgeons or lovelorn types in the Old Dominion or there will be me to pay. I'd challenge the notion that New Jersey and I are "Perfect Together" too, but I can only take on one state motto at a time.
Caveat Vendor, baby! Let the games begin.