A Little Snag in Those Frivolous Suits
U.S. News's Examples Were 'Myths'
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 23, 2003; Page C01
In a U.S. News & World Report column about frivolous lawsuits, owner Mort Zuckerman serves up a couple of doozies:
"A woman throws a soft drink at her boyfriend at a restaurant, then slips on the floor she wet and breaks her tailbone. She sues. Bingo -- a jury says the restaurant owes her $100,000! A woman tries to sneak through a restroom window at a nightclub to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She falls, knocks out two front teeth, and sues. A jury awards her $12,000 for dental expenses."
Great stuff -- and, unfortunately for Zuckerman, totally bogus. Two Web sites -- StellaAwards.com and Snopes.com -- say the cases of the soda-slipping Pennsylvania woman and the window-wriggling Delaware woman are fabricated, and no public records could be found for them.
Zuckerman has plenty of company. A number of newspapers and columnists have touted the phantom cases since they surfaced in 2001 in a Canadian newspaper.
Ken Frydman, Zuckerman's spokesman, did not dispute that the pair of cases in the column two weeks ago were imaginary, but would not address whether the magazine will publish a retraction.
"These cases were reported in a variety of other reputable publications, such as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the London Telegraph, and Mr. Zuckerman could have cited dozens of other cases," Frydman says. "Few Americans would disagree with the proposition that there are far too many frivolous lawsuits filed."
In a letter to the magazine, Mary Alexander, president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, chides Zuckerman for using "phony, nonexistent lawsuits that have been widely exposed as 'urban myths' to justify his assault on our legal system."
Интересно здесь скорее то, с какой легкостью верят в подобные истории. Я лично поймал себя на том, что пока мне не сказали, что истории выдуманы, во мне ни на секунду не возникло и тени сомнения.