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Old 07-21-2006, 07:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Frivolous lawsuits are a part of American history

We talk a lot about how crazy all the frivolous lawsuits are as if they are something relatively recent. Check this article out; it's about catching foul balls and the origin of how they became souvenirs (I'm only quoting relevant text).

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diam...extra0621.html

Quote:
A 31-year-old stockbroker, Berman visited the Polo Grounds in 1921 to watch the New York Giants play the Cincinnati Reds. At the time, most teams decided foul balls belonged to the team, not the fans. Berman challenged this.

According to the baseball research society, he refused to give up a foul ball that day at the Polo Grounds. When security members closed in, Berman resisted, blindly throwing the ball behind him, earning an ejection from the park.

Three months later, Berman sued. He sought $20,000 for humiliation, mental suffering and bodily distress and loss of reputation. A jury awarded him $100, but more significantly, the case's publicity forced most major league teams to reconsider their policies.

From that point on, foul balls hit into the stands officially belonged to those brave enough to grab them. People like Buchinger.
That was back in 1921. What's the equivalent of 20k back then to these days? $10 million?
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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In a lot of the more frivolous lawsuits, I think that the idiot suing should have to do community service equal to the amount spent on their stupid trial.
Quote:
Canadian tourist Edward Skwarek has sued the Starbucks coffee chain for $1.5 million alleging that a highly personal part of his anatomy was crushed when it got caught between the toilet seat and bowl at a Manhattan Starbucks outlet. Skwarek was reportedly in a seated position on the commode. When he turned to retrieve the toilet paper, the seat shifted. As he leaned forward again the toilet seat clamped his penis. The 37 year-old Skwarek is asking for $1 million for what he describes as dire and permanent injuries to the affected organ. His wife Sherrie is also demanding $500,000 as compensation for depravation of his husbandly services.
http://www.calahouston.org/best.html

I suspect that people have always tried to take advantage of the system. It's shameful.
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutulu
That was back in 1921. What's the equivalent of 20k back then to these days? $10 million?
About $219,000.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redlemon
About $219,000.
Where did you get that number? I just ran it through an inflation calculator and it said it was around 900 dollars.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorade Frost
Where did you get that number? I just ran it through an inflation calculator and it said it was around 900 dollars.
Reverse your numbers. What he's saying is what you could buy for $20K back then is what you'd need $219K for today (think small house). =)
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorade Frost
Where did you get that number? I just ran it through an inflation calculator and it said it was around 900 dollars.
I have a program on my Palm handheld called "Inflation Master". Since it's inflation, not deflation, I think you put the numbers in backwards; the value shouldn't have decreased.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oooh - For some reason I read that as 100 dollars instead of 20k.
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Haha. This one is going on my little own mayberry.

Cocke roosters subject of suit
Owner says birds illegally destroyed over his objections

By J.J. STAMBAUGH, stambaugh@knews.com
July 4, 2006


A man whose roosters were killed last year during a massive FBI-led raid on the Del Rio Cockfighting Pit in Cocke County is suing the Humane Society of the United States, court records show.
William Todd Webb of Sevierville filed the lawsuit last month in Cocke County Circuit Court. He is seeking $25,000 in compensatory damages and additional punitive damages to be "determined by a jury," according to the complaint.




"Whether cockfighting is right or wrong, and whether or not our client was involved in cockfighting, any person who has property in the United States is entitled to have that property protected and to have due process before the destruction of that property, especially by a private organization," said one of Webb's attorneys, Joe Baker.

"We'd just like to see that justice is done," Baker said.

Baker also said the lawsuit was filed against the national organization, not "local Humane Societies and animal shelters."

John Goodwin, the national Humane Society's deputy manager for animal fighting issues, was named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with "John Does one through twenty-five," court records show.

Goodwin, who works in Washington, D.C., but took part in the task force that raided the Del Rio pit on June 11, 2005, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The raid, which was part of the illegal gambling arm of a multi-pronged investigation into public corruption and organized crime in Cocke County dubbed "Operation Rose Thorn," led to misdemeanor charges against 143 people, most of whom later pleaded guilty.

More than 300 roosters were euthanized during the operation and about $40,000 in cash was seized. The federal government recently seized the cockfighting pit, alleging in court documents that it was a massive illegal gambling operation.

Webb is one of at least six people cited for misdemeanor cockfighting-related offenses during the raid who have elected to fight the charges in court. He is scheduled to go to trial next month, Baker said.

According to Webb's lawsuit, Goodwin and others conspired to destroy his roosters and killed the birds "by placing the roosters in 55 gallon drums and piping in carbon monoxide."

"Despite the fact that the plaintiff had claimed his roosters and that the defendants and others had told the plaintiff that if he claimed his roosters, he could take possession of them, the defendants willfully and maliciously and intentionally destroyed the plaintiff's personal property over the plaintiff's objection," the lawsuit states.

"The acts of the defendants in destroying the plaintiff's personal property over his objection constitutes outrageous conduct which should not be tolerated in a civilized society," the suit claims.

The Humane Society was criticized after the Del Rio operation for killing the birds. Shortly after the raid, Goodwin said the 305 birds found at the site were killed in the most painless way possible.

"I don't like the euthanasia," he said. "I don't like seeing those little guys die. The problem is that these people are breeding these gamecocks to be extremely aggressive to any other rooster they see. It's not like we can adopt them out to families."

Among the targets of the Rose Thorn probe is former Sheriff D.C. Ramsey, who resigned early this year after it was disclosed that he was being investigated for alleged connections to organized gambling, including video poker machines and cockfighting.

Ramsey hasn't been charged, but his nephew and former chief deputy, Patrick Taylor, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to traffic in stolen property. His plea agreement shielded him from possible prosecution for gambling-related offenses.

Seven other Cocke County lawmen have been among the more than 170 people charged thus far in the probe, which has reportedly uncovered cocaine trafficking, chop shops, organized gambling, racketeering and prostitution, according to federal prosecutors.
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Old 07-21-2006, 11:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Seven other Cocke County lawmen have been among the more than 170 people charged thus far in the probe, which has reportedly uncovered cocaine trafficking, chop shops, organized gambling, racketeering and prostitution, according to federal prosecutors.
lol, cockfighting draws a classy crowd!
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh yeah. It is pretty funny. Our county catches some shit over what our lawmen and citizens get caught doing.

Check it out.

Quote:
A small army of federal and state agents raided the Del Rio Cockfighting Pit off Happy Hollow Road as part of the five-year "Rose Thorn" investigation into public corruption and organized crime in Cocke County.

The Del Rio pit, which had operated as an open secret for at least 60 years, was protected in part by the money it brought into the local economy as well as its status as an Appalachian icon. It was one of the last surviving vestiges of an outlaw tradition that has also included moonshining, drug smuggling and a tacit acceptance of vice crimes such as prostitution and gambling, officials say.

When they closed our whorehouses down, I knew we were in trouble," said Dolittle, who was one of the 143 people charged in the Del Rio raid. "We knew they were coming for us next."

On a lighter note, some local entrepreneurs have figured out how to cash in on the county's notoriety while also taking the occasional potshot at the federal government. For instance, Christmas tree ornaments decorated with chickens quickly sold out at area stores last year and bumper stickers bearing statements like "My rooster can whip your rooster! Cocke County 2005" and "I survived the 2005 Del Rio cockfighting raid" are popular keepsakes.

One business that's managed to turn the investigation into something of a cottage souvenir industry is Rocky Top Grafix in Newport, which is located next to a video amusement company that was raided last summer.

Over the past year, the store has sold nearly 700 T-shirts lampooning various elements of the Rose Thorn probe, according to Rocky Top co-owner and lifetime Cocke County resident Jeff Cody.

"I didn't expect to sell that many, but the public just keeps wanting them," said Cody, who added that he hit upon the idea of starting a line of shirts because of the nationwide publicity that followed the Del Rio raid. "It was what all the local talk was about, and even if you went out of town and told someone where you were from, that's all they wanted to talk about."

The most recent shirt bears a colorful collage of images that include a rooster, a line of cocaine on a mirror and stacks of cash accompanied by the words: "Cocke County Survivor - Not Arrested - Not Indicted - Not Yet."

Cody said the sense of humor is appreciated by his customers, including many of the state and federal agents who've been involved in Rose Thorn.

"A person from Cocke County would give you the shirt off their back, but you wouldn't take it from 'em," Cody said with a chuckle. "If you're looking for trouble here, you'll find it. You might not ever leave, but you'll find it.

"But even with all the bad publicity in Cocke County, there are a lot of good people."
Those bumber stickers and shirts are a riot.

I didnt meant to change the subject of the OP. Forgive me!
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Last edited by absence_of_color; 07-21-2006 at 08:27 PM..
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Old 07-23-2006, 06:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Dollar conversion rate discussion aside, I still ain't buying the notion that frivolous lawsuits are common in American history. Did they exist? Yes. Did they exist anywhere remotely in the numbers and frivolity seen today? Hell no.

I lay the smack down and challenge anybody to convince me that the American system of justice was as ridiculous and lacking in common sense 60 years ago (or further back) as it is now. I also don't play the "loophole game" where you win if you can name one exception. That's just another corruption of common sense thinking by modern legal absurdity. You gotta do better than that to convince me.
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Old 07-24-2006, 06:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Am I the only one who doesn't see any "frivolous" lawsuits listed yet? If you want an example of a frivolous suit, look at the one file by the guy who looks too much like Michael Jordan.

Berman's suit in 1921 resulted in a decision FOR THE PLAINTIFF (the award is virtually irrelevant). The amount of the demand is simply the highest amount that the plaintiff himself believes his injuries were worth and should be viewed as a simply the beginning point for negotiations. Regardless, I don't think that anyone today who went through a similar scenario would be happy about that particular outcome.

Skwarek's suit against Starbucks is for a horrific bodily injury and Starbucks had a duty to protect him from such an injury; now if he didn't suffer that sort of injury or is somehow making fradulent claims, that's another story. But if his version of events prove true, who here is going to say that he doesn't deserve some compensation for permanent injuries to his unit? It's a plausible scenario, and if it's true (notice the "if"), then I don't think you'll find a jury that will disagree that some sort of compensation is unwarranted.

Absense_of_color - I've actually been following the events up in your (red)neck of the woods . I'm from Knoxville (and therefore a redneck myself, although I ususally don't admit it in polite company), and I read the News Sentinel online at least a few times a week. Personally, I think that Webb has a good case here. After all, it's not illegal to own a fighting rooster. It's only illegal to fight it. If they had seized perfectly legal guns instead of chickens and then destroyed the guns, this would be an open-and-shut case.

Speaking as someone who grew up nearby, Cocke County is probably one of the most unique places in the country. We ran a cross country race there when I was in high school, and it was the only place that I ever felt intimidated by the crowd when I pulled away from the local boys. They had a bunch of big guys at the 2 mile mark, and when I came by in the lead, they started throwing things. Probably just a case of the football team showing school spirit in a really fucked up way, but it was weird nonetheless.
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