Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Lawsuit Myth?

I'm a huge fan of Free Range Kids, whose proprietor was a grad school classmate. This post is no exception. But I especially liked this comment -- which called into question an assumption that even the free-rangers tend to blithely accept:
Everyone says “sue happy America” much like everyone says “the world is such a dangerous place.” It is basically the same thing – an impression from the media as to this with no definitive evidence of such.

Now, one anecdotal comment on an Internet blog is not the singular of data. But I've long suspected that the notion of America as being extraordinarily litigious is at best overblown, at worst an out-and-out falsehood perpetrated by those who would like to shield the powerful (incompetent doctors, manufacturers of shoddy products, etc.) by eviscerating about the only form of legal redress available to the powerless.

I'm sure it's a lot more complex, and there's always the "Whose ox is being gored?" factor; I'm a journalist, so naturally I'm concerned about runaway libel juries. I'm just saying that the assumption of lawsuit-happy America is one worth examining much more closely.


  1. You knew her in grad school? Small world. She and I worked together on an undergraduate humor magazine.

  2. Someone could do a swell book called "Myths of America" that examined many of the things the media accepts (and therefore promotes) without question.



Comments on this blog are moderated retroactively. Comments will be published immediately, but spam, slander, abuse personally directed at other commenters or at third parties, or comments that hijack the thread will be removed without further discussion, explanation or apology. Comments that I am unable to read (for whatever reason) will be deleted.

Comments that challenge the viewpoints expressed here within the bounds of civility and good manners are welcome. Blogger limits comments to 4,096 characters.