I sue you

Greetings, well we’re on the downhill road to the end of the year. Only three columns left. Wow, easily the fastest year yet.

So sue me, here’s yesterday’s column:



Revenge isn’t really a trait we see in any other species. You’ll probably never come across a giraffe balancing a pail of water on a branch, so that a zebra gets soaked when he walks past. And that’s not just because a giraffe will have a hard time finding a bucket in the bush, it’s more likely because that’s just not how animals roll. It’s the same reason that you don’t see pigeons pooping on each other as payback for eating the last crumbs. Revenge is an entirely human endeavour, one that we’re managing to take further and further to the extreme.

We’ve become so good at being vindictive we’ve even figured out a way to make money out of it, in the form of the ridiculous law suit. It’s no surprise that the word directly after ‘revenge’ in my Oxford English Dictionary is ‘revenue’.

One case in the news earlier this year caught my eye. Thirteen record companies attempted to sue LimeWire, a popular file sharing service, for $72 trillion dollars in a copyright infringement claim. I was going to try figure out how much that is in Rands but it turns out that we haven’t learnt to count that high yet.

The judge labelled the case absurd and threw it out of court. I don’t think it was so much the issue of piracy that was absurd, I think it was more the amount they were suing for. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about here, the GDP of the entire world sits somewhere between 59 and 62 trillion dollars. So in essence, the music industry was hoping to win more money than actually exists in the whole world. Had they won, some man would have come knocking on your door and made you dig between the cushions on your couch for every spare cent, because that’s what they’d need to pay these guys. Absurd doesn’t even half cover it.

Common sense just doesn’t seem common enough these days. In 2006 Allen Heckard sued Michael Jordan and the founder of Nike for $832 million, for defamation, permanent injury and emotional pain and suffering that he was caused, as a result of so many people constantly mistaking him for the basketball superstar. He dropped the suit later that year, when he realised he was being a complete douchebag.

Perhaps he’s related to the woman who sued an American movie studio for false advertising, claiming that there wasn’t enough driving in the movie ‘Drive’. She said the trailer and the title were misleading. She wasn’t even doing it for the money; she only wanted the $12 back that she paid for her movie ticket. Surely the drive to and from the courthouse cost her more than that?

Do these people not have anything better to do with their time? If she’s bored she should just say so, I’ve got a year’s worth of filing that needs seeing to.

The real question is, who gave these nut jobs access to the judicial system? It was the Americans who started this trend, we should probably sue them.

And it’s not just people who are getting sued. In 2008, a state senator in Nebraska tried to sue God. The case was eventually dismissed because the judge claimed that God’s home address wasn’t listed, so He couldn’t be properly summonsed or notified that He was being sued and needed to suit-up and appear in court.

The suing senator countered that since God is omniscient, we can assume he knows everything, and is therefore well aware of the pending case. But everyone was laughing at him so hard, they couldn’t hear him.

Satan’s had his day in court too. Gerald Mayo filed a claim in America (where else?) alleging that on numerous occasions Satan had caused him misery and unwarranted threats, and had placed deliberate obstacles in his path, causing his downfall. But ‘the devil made me do it’ has never really stood up as an alibi in a court of law. If it did jails would be empty.

And if you don’t have anyone particular that you’d like to sue, you could take a page out of Robert Lee Brock’s book and sue yourself. In 1995 Brock sued himself for $5 million after landing in prison serving a 23 year sentence for grand larceny, breaking and entering. This genius decided to sue himself for violating his own civil rights and religious beliefs by allowing himself to get drunk and steal stuff. There was method in his madness – since being incarcerated prevented him from earning an income, he wanted the state to pay. I wonder if he was planning on being his own witness for the defence and for the prosecution too? Did not, your Honour! Did too! Did not!

I have a suggestion, next time someone takes a ridiculous case to court, let’s all get together and sue them back, for being stupid. With the amount of pain, suffering and taxes their stupidity causes us, we could ask for seventy thousand hundred gabillion dollars each, at least.

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