It appears as though Americans have become sue-happy. We sue over any disturbance we face, any problem we encounter, regardless of its pettiness.
Any issue that stands in our way or upsets us in the slightest is taken to our court system. Peer Larson, a high school junior from Milwaukee, has been added to the list of Americans who continue to demonstrate this.
Larson took a case to his county court on Jan. 10 with complaints concerning the homework he received last summer in preparation for his Advanced Placement pre-calculus course, according to MSNBC.com.
Larson is suing because the work he received over the summer for his AP class was an “unfair workload” and caused “unnecessary stress.” Larson claims it “ruined” the dream job he held over the summer months as a camp counselor.
If Larson thought his summer homework would cause him stress, he shouldn’t have enrolled in the course. He could have easily researched the criteria for the AP class before enrolling to see if he could handle it or if it would cause him to sprout too many gray hairs over the summer. No one forced him to take the class. It was Larson’s choice to take the AP course and work for the extra college credits.
Larson is one among many Americans who have congested our courts with frivolous lawsuits. This high school student is a perfect example of how Americans face their problems: they don’t.
Rather than finding the root of our problem and digging it up from the bottom, we complain and fight for money.
President Bush has proposed a tort reform, but it does not suggest any help for frivolous lawsuits. The proposal would limit the amount of money malpractice victims can sue for and will also protect companies from being sued for asbestos-related claims. Bush also wants to protect companies from being sued by large groups of consumers who have been negatively affected by their products.
This proposal may help doctors with their $70,000 insurance premiums and protect companies from losing workers and profits, but this proposal does nothing to help the frivolous lawsuit frenzy. Bush’s tort reform should take this issue into account because citizens need guidelines and limitations on what problems they can take to court.
Another egregious lawsuit that never should have gone to court came from a Bucks County native in 2001. A high school student who grew up with the same coach throughout her softball career sued for $700,000 in damages, claiming the bad coaching caused her to miss out on a college scholarship for the sport.
Like Larson, the same statement can be made. No one forced this girl to play for that particular coach. If she, or her family, honestly felt the coaching was unsatisfactory, she could have decided to play for another team.
This is more proof that Americans feel they no longer have to fix their problems or admit they were wrong, instead choosing to sue in order to solve a dispute.
Bush’s proposal limits malpractice victims to suing for only as much as $250,000 and limits what amount consumers can sue for when they’ve been affected by a harmful product. These issues are not what need to be changed.
If a doctor or company makes a mistake and harms a person’s well-being, they should pay the consequences. Mistakes such as malpractice are a life and death matter.
The inane cases citizens bring to court, such as Larson’s, are what Bush’s reform should be targeting.
Beth Keeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.