Monday, March 10, 2014

Unreasonable Expectations and Entitlement


Some of the news that I have heard on the radio on my way to and from work the past couple of weeks has really made me wonder about the mentality of the general population. Some of the many cases that are flowing into the legal system are downright appalling. The sad thing is that much of these insane stories aren’t even a few exceptions to the rule. But I won’t go any further without at least sharing some of the information on each story so let’s start with a lawsuit that has captured a worldwide audience. Here is the BBC News account of a New Jersey teenager suing her parents and, thankfully, losing:
IN ASSOCIATION
A teenager in the US who is suing her parents for cash after leaving home has lost the first round of her legal case.

Rachel Canning, 18, has demanded $650 (£390) in weekly child support from her parents at a court in New York.

The cheerleader also wanted her private school tuition fees, a college fund and her lawyers' fees paid.

Her parents said their daughter voluntarily left home because she did not like their house rules.

Retired police chief Sean Canning and his wife, Elizabeth, said they had asked their daughter to be respectful at home, keep curfews, help with chores and end her relationship with her boyfriend.

At a family court hearing in New York on Tuesday, Miss Canning, from New Jersey, was told her parents would not have to pay child support or her legal costs.

Judge Peter Bogaard warned that her suit could lead to a "slippery slope", asking: "Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone?"

The next case is actually one that I don’t really have a problem with but the case speaks more of a problem in our internet based society. Trolling has become a serious issue with little repercussions during many cases. All you have to do is scroll down through the comments on most news stories and you will see a wide variety of comments from all different angles.

While I have no issue with someone having an opinion that they can back up, I do take issue with people that post anonymous comments with the simple purpose of attacking someone else. The question is whether the charges will stand, no matter how distasteful the comments and objectives of the poster really are. One such situation recently came to light on Philly.com which could prove to be an interesting case to follow over the next few months.

A warning to people who post comments online: Anonymous is not forever.

A Philadelphia judge has ordered the owners of Philly.com - who also own The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News - to disclose the identity of a person who posted a comment online.

The ruling came in a defamation suit filed by John J. Dougherty, the powerful head of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

In October 2012, Dougherty sued over a comment posted two months earlier on a Daily News blog that described a public feud involving Dougherty. The comment identified Dougherty by his well-known nickname, "Johnny Doc," and called him "the pedophile."

Dougherty sued the anonymous poster, and his lawyers subpoenaed Philadelphia Media Network, Philly.com's parent company, to supply the person's identity.

Mark Block, a spokesman for Interstate General Media, corporate parent of PMN, referred all questions to Eli Segal, an attorney for the company.

Segal said that after receiving the subpoena, the company contacted the anonymous poster to make sure he or she got notice of the lawsuit and hired a lawyer. He said lawyers for Dougherty and the person who posted the comment presented their arguments to Common Pleas Court Judge Jacqueline F. Allen.

On Feb. 26, Allen ordered the news company to disclose the poster's identity, along with any comments he or she posted from Aug. 10, 2012, through this January.

And finally, the true WTF legal case of the past week that I will list in this post is a case out of Denver, Colorado. This is a case where the only explanation for the audacity of the lawsuit is the fact that marijuana is now legal because you have to be higher than a hippie on the International Space Station. The only other explanation is that the lawyer has a huge set but that can easily be ruled out by the fact that he is able to walk. The inevitable lawsuit is by a man who was saved from certain death during a flood back in September who is suing his rescuers.

This is a complete load of crap and is definitely in the running for WTF of the week. Without further delay, I leave you with this report from the Denver Post about the greed, self-centeredness, and entitlement that exists in the populous…

A Broomfield man who was rescued from his submerged car during the September floods has filed papers indicating he might sue his rescuers and first responders.

Roy Ortiz was rescued by North Metro Fire Rescue District and others who responded to the scene after his car was washed off the road on Sept. 12. He says crews took too long to respond to the accident after he became trapped in his upside-down car near the intersection of U.S. 287 and Dillon Road in Lafayette.

He also claims the road should have been closed, thus the accident that left him trapped in the submerged car would never have happened.

No lawsuit has yet been filed, but Ortiz's lawyer, Aurora attorney Ed Ferszt, has filed a legal document that is a typical precursor to filing a lawsuit against a government agency.

All of these things have to change but, unfortunately, this is not the worst problem that we face in the legal system. But that is another post for another day.