Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #6-16

Published November 9, 2007

Bridal Wrath

The bride says she was disappointed, embarrassed, and distressed at her wedding–because she didn’t like the flowers. So she’s suing the florist for $411,000 for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.

The blooms, costing almost $30,000, were the wrong colors, said the bride, an associate at a large New York City law firm. “The use of predominantly pastel centerpieces had a significant impact on the look of the room and was entirely inconsistent with the vision the plaintiffs had bargained for,” the bride said.

In addition to being the wrong color, some of the flowers were wilted, some vases had no water in them and were dusty, the arrangement for the bathroom was missing, and one centerpiece was too small.

The florist said his father knew best. “My father used to tell me, ‘Don’t deal with lawyers,'” he said. “Maybe he was right, God bless his soul.”

Source: Anemona Hartocollis, “A Bride Sues Her Florist Over Pastel Hydrangeas,” New York Times, October 16, 2007

Le Mot Juste

A Denver lawyer managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory during a recent trial. The lawyer brought an age discrimination suit against the City of Denver for his client, a firefighter.

The city had fired him after he was accused of shoplifting a cookbook and balked at giving him his job back even after the accusation proved false.

The jury awarded the firefighter $1.2 million, but the judge voided the verdict because of what he termed “disgraceful” conduct by the firefighter’s lawyer, describing it as “mordaciously sarcastic.”

“In over 19 years on the bench, I have seen nothing comparable,” the judge said in his opinion. “Such disrespectful cockalorum, grandstanding, bombast, bullying and hyperbole as Mr. Brennan exhibited throughout the trial are quite beyond my experience as a jurist, and, I fervently hope, will remain an aberration during the remainder of my time on the bench.”

The Rocky Mountain News pointed out “mordaciously” means “biting, sharp, acrid, or caustic.” “Cockalorum” means “a little man with an exaggerated idea of his own importance.”

Source: Daniel J. Chacon, “Judge points to lawyer’s antics in junking $1.2 million ruling,” Rocky Mountain News, October 6, 2007

Surf and Sue

A Web site now under construction aims to make it easier for personal injury and class-action lawyers and potential clients to find one another. The site is going to be called–not that it’s ever been hard to find a lawyer to sue someone.

Clients looking for a lawyer will post a description of their case and attach copies of important documents. Lawyers can then surf these listings and bid on how much they’ll pay for the right to contact the potential client. The client has the right to reject the lawyer who makes contact and try again.

Source: Nick Gonzalez, “Ambulance Chasers Have a New Home, SueEasy,”, October 18, 2007

It’s Just Litigation

It’s Just Lunch, a company that arranges blind dates for singles, is being sued for matching women with less-than-perfect men. The class-action suit, filed in federal court in New York City, seeks $5 million in damages, according to the New York Post.

Among the alleged problems: Fixing women up with overweight men instead of “athletic” types, a freight company employee rather than an art dealer, a guy who mowed lawns pitched as “a landscaping magnate,” a Republican when “no Republicans” was specified, and a Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist for a woman who wanted no “religious types.”

A spokesman for the firm, which matches up 50,000 people every month, said, “We have been in business for 16 years and in that time we have arranged millions of meetings that resulted in thousands of marriages.” She also promised, “The allegations in the lawsuit are completely without merit and we will defend vigorously against them.”

The plaintiffs’ lawyer claims there are more dissatisfied customers than the company’s reps think. “Not only do people feel [cheated], but a lot of people are understandably reluctant to come forward and say they signed up,” he said. “People are reluctant to admit, ‘Yeah, I spent $1,500 to try and meet some guy.'”

Source: Kathianne Boniello, “Love Matches ‘Made in Hell,'” New York Post, October 21, 2007; “Lawsuit says $1,500 a year matchmaker broke hearts,” ABC News Internet Ventures, October 22, 2007

A Really Bad Review

A law student at Indiana University School of Law was arrested for criminal recklessness in mid-October for firing two rifle shots from his apartment balcony into his law book, Real Estate Transfer Finance and Development, in the parking lot below.

“Wow, he must not have liked that class very much,” said one of the authors, Dale Whitman, the former dean of the University of Missouri Law School. “I’ve had people say my scholarship is shot through with holes, but I’ve never had anyone prove it literally.”

Co-author Grant Nelson of Pepperdine University said the incident had a silver lining for the publisher: “[T]hat’s one used casebook now off the market.”

Source: Peter Lattman, “Indiana Law Student Shoots Real-Estate Finance Casebook,” law blog, October 22, 2007

Zero Common Sense

A Washington, DC lawyer was ticketed for driving under the influence of alcohol. She was fingerprinted, thrown in jail for hours, and lost her driver’s license for refusing to participate in a 12-week alcohol counseling program. Serves her right, you say? You might want to think again.

The woman had stopped on her way home for a single glass of wine. As she left the bar, she failed to turn her car’s headlights on, apparently because the parking attendant had disabled the automatic system. She was stopped by the police, who tested her blood alcohol level at 0.03 percent, well below the 0.08 percent intoxication limit. But she was ticketed anyway because the District had a “zero-tolerance” policy under which driving after having consumed any amount of alcohol is prohibited.

It cost her $2,000 to fight the ticket and get her driver’s license back. The zero-tolerance policy has since been rescinded.

Source: David Harsanyi, “Prohibition Returns! Teetotaling do-gooders attack your right to drink,” Reason magazine, November 2007, adapted from Harsanyi’s book, Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotalling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning America into a Nation of Children (Broadway Books 2007)

Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly

Published by The Heartland Institute (312/377-4000), a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1984.
Phone 312/377-4000, fax 312/377-5000
Back issues are available online at
Publisher: Joseph L. Bast
Editors: Maureen Martin, Diane Carol Bast

Information on lawsuit abuse can be found on these Web sites:

The Heartland Institute
19 South La Salle Street #903
Chicago, Illinois 60603