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Frivolous lawsuits … and reality

Wer liest nicht mit genüsslichem Stöhnen Meldungen wie die folgende:

In November 2000, Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32 foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, having joined the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the drivers seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the Winnie left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the handbook that he could not actually do this. He was awarded $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago.

Leider – oder zum Glück – stimmt das alles nicht. Snopes.com entlarvt diesen Fall sowie eine Handvoll weitere, die angeblich – nach einigen im Internet kursierenden Mails – für ihre Groteskheit den “Stella Award” bekommen haben sollen, als “urban legends”.
Doch räumt die Autorin Barbara Mikkelson ein, dass solche Fälle nicht ohne Grund im Internet verbreitet werden:

Fake or not, a list of outrageous awards bestowed upon those whose actions — nay, misbehaviors — had brought them to grief would fall upon very receptive ears because current feeling is very much against large jury awards for frivolous claims. This e-mail preaches to the choir in that it “confirms” what is already deeply believed.
Numerous states have enacted measures to reform their civil law systems in response to the problem of frivolous lawsuits and runaway jury awards.

Und schließlich:

[R]eal lawsuits of equal silliness can be found in abundance. An equally impressive list could easily have been compiled by anyone with access to a news database and a few moments to spare.

Der ganze Text (mit Beispielen) steht hier: Stella Awards.

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