Frivolous lawsuits

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

(Jefferson City, Mo.) News Tribune

A trend in the modern age of irresponsibility is to sue the creators of the goods we misuse.

For example, if a weapon is misused and someone is shot, the victim files suit against the gun manufacturer.

Another incarnation is for people who become obese or suffer weight-related ailments to sue a restaurant.

Legislation is being considered in both Congress and the Missouri Legislature to ban what legislators deem "frivolous" lawsuits.

We appreciate the impetus for the legislative action. Frivolous lawsuits -- and suing a restaurant for giving customers what they order fits the definition -- waste the time and create expense for both the courts and defendants.

We believe, however, that it is the role of the judicial branch -- not the legislative -- to determine what constitutes a frivolous lawsuit.

If additional government action is to be taken, we would like to see the courts empowered to assess the defendants' costs to plaintiffs who bring suits the courts deem frivolous.

The age of irresponsibility, and obesity, has created a sorry chapter in jurisprudence never before envisioned. Give the courts the tools to discourage mockeries of the judicial system.

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