Saturday, February 04, 2006

A dash of Social Darwinism never hurt anyone.

Shouldn't class action lawsuits be limited to situations where people are really unknowingly being harmed by corporations? Like when drinking water is being illegally polluted or when people are held in an airplane on the tarmac for 5 hours without food, water or fresh air because an airline couldn't get a gate for the plane to dock in.

This suit against Apple regarding the iPod volume is on the same level as the smoking class action lawsuits of the nineties. When I heard that people were suing Philip Morris for damages I said, "If you don't know that smoking is bad for you then you've been under a rock for the past 15 years." Now if you filed a lawsuit in the early 80s or seventies when doctors were doing cigarette commercials touting the benefits of smoking and there was no surgeon general's warning then I'd understand. However there was so much anti-smoking information when these lawsuits came to court it seemed absurd that the people filing could say "we didn't know smoking was going to give us lung cancer."

A similar situation happened in Ft. Worth a couple of years ago at the Ft. Worth water gardens. A group of young children, accompanied by adults, thought it might be a good idea to swim in the main area of the water gardens which is basically a very large fountain. There were signs posted clearly stating "DO NOT SWIM." They neglected the signs and a couple of the kids died, sucked under by the current produced by the powerful pumps used to make the awesome display of water possible. Now the water gardens lay drained and surrounded by a chain link fence and unable to be appreciated anymore. A beautiful creation by Philip Jonson that existed for many years without any incident was ruined by a handful of people. I know its terrible that people died but one must accept responsibility for their own actions.

Same thing with the iPod. It is common sense that if you turn the volume all the way up on your iPod its going to be very loud. News flash: very loud noises from tiny speakers nestled in your ears will damage your hearing. There is actually a pamphlet in the iPod packaging stating that playing music too loud can damage your hearing. In the end those of us that are smart enough to use our own discretion in these kinds of matters wind up paying for stupidity.

Unfavorable mutants are supposed to remove themselves from the population by not surviving before being able to reproduce. Why are we letting these mutants get rich? They should stick to playing the lotto, or as I like to call it "Ineptitude of Math Tax."


Blogger Seeker Onos said...

Of course, this is all setting the stage for prooving Darwin all the more correct:

As more of these mutants that survive into the population, the more likely it is we will continue to render this earth uninhabitable for all but the coming race of super-intelligent cockroaches to come.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Hypoxic said...

The iPod lawsuit is stupid. Each individual can control the volume and if they choose to crank it up all the way - they should expect some hearing damage.

I have a little different take on the cigarette lawsuits. I agree that people shouldn’t be able to claim ignorance of the harmful effects of smoking. But many people became hooked before the danger and the addictive nature of the product was widely known. It is my understanding that the Tobacco companies took conscious steps to increase the addictive components in cigarettes in order to keep people smoking and thereby increase their bottom line. They out and out lied when they told Congress that cigarettes were not addictive. They knew they were addictive. They manipulated the nicotine content for that very purpose. That’s why, in my opinion, they should be sued and why they should face serious criminal penalties.

4:49 PM  
Blogger jjd said...

I agree with Hypoxic on the cigarette lawsuits; in fact lawsuits against those companies were largely unsucessful until documents were uncovered in litigation revealing that the company officials knew cigarette smoking was addictive and harmful and chose to hide this information from the government and the public. After that was discovered, suits started being successfully brought because people for years and years were deliberately lied to by greedy cigarette manufacturers.

As for when class actions are useful, any time a series of cases can be grouped together for similar facts so as to expedite their process through the courts (and theoretically lower the burden on the judicial system) it's probably a good thing. Of course, its usually the lawyers who end up making money on these cases and not the actual victims.

10:34 PM  
Blogger GayProf said...

Wait - What did you say? You will have to speak up.

10:38 PM  
Blogger John said...

Don't you think that lawsuits are a way for individuals to have some power over big, mean corporations? There seems to be some kind of dance between companies doing whatever they want, government regualtion/enforcement, and lawsuits. If companies weren't accountable to individals and weren't regulated by the gov't then I think that they would do just about anything to keep profits as high as possible.

4:04 AM  
Blogger tornwordo said...

This is why in California, in every single public place, store, mall, whathaveyou, there is a sign posted that says: "This facility is known to contain cancer causing chemicals by the state of California." Because you know, paint on the walls has those chemicals.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Aaron said...

I don't see any reason why this suit should not have been filed. If it has merit, I would think that some sort of action will be taken. If not, we'll never hear of it again. :)

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Aaron said...

Beyond that, there is a lot of anti-tort hysteria going on in the country right now, fed mostly by the right-wing, who want to get rid of the public's only ability to seek damages from big business -- lawsuits like this one.

Sure, this person has a choice about the volume of his iPod, but we don't have a choice about, you know, breathing air or drinking water.

Corporations want tort reform so that they can pollute and endanger where consumers don't have choices ... and not have to pay for it.

That is really what articles like this one are about: Turning public opinion away from the public's only tool to regulate big business where it really effects public health and safety.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Sunshine said...

Ouch, Adam, talk about population control :P LOL.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Reid Dalgleish said...

Here's a good one for you, Adam:


The City of Calgary is responsible for serious injuries suffered by a young Calgary boy in a tobogganing crash, a $5.5-million lawsuit claims.

The action, filed by civil litigator Ed Pipella, says the city was negligent in building a stairway and railing at the bottom of a hill it knew was being used for to-bogganing.

The claim says David Ross Pinder, 7, was sledding on Christ Church Hill, near the Elbow Park Community Association.

It says the boy suffered a closed head injury and multiple skull and other fractures in the Jan. 24, 2004, accident.

"He was seated in the front of the toboggan and was proceeding down the hill when suddenly and without warning he struck a wooden stairway and railing," a statement of claim says.

"The City of Calgary permitted tobogganing on Christ Church Hill throughout the wintertime," the claim states, adding the city also failed to place hay bales or other protective devices in front of the obstruction.

The lawsuit alleges the city didn't consider complaints from the community association about the danger of the de-sign and placement of the stairway.

Pinder was treated at Alberta Children's Hospital for 11 days.

He suffers from "severe psychological trauma," impulsive control disorder and severe mood swings relating to his injuries. Among the damages the lawsuit seeks are $2.5 million for future cost of care, as well as an additional $2 million for prospective loss of income.

A statement of defence disputing the allegations has not yet been filed.

So, there was a set of stairs on this hill the whole time, a kid decided to toboggan down the hill, got hurt, and now it's the city's fault? That's a good one!

1:54 PM  

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