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December 10, 2012
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Sued over bathroom mirror

:icontheredsnifit:
TheRedSnifit Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
[link]
Well, folks, it looks like we've got another example of why we need tort reform:

"In the restroom of a family-owned restaurant in Southern California, employees replaced a mirror that had been destroyed by vandals. Since the new mirror was two inches shorter than the old one, it was hanging two inches too high to satisfy disabilities regulations and standards. Once he was notified of the mistake, restaurant owner Ron Piazza immediately lowered the mirror. But it was already too late. Piazza’s restaurant was sued.

'It would have been very easy for them to let us know that the mirror was a couple of inches too high, and we could have taken care of that right away,' Piazza explained."


The most entertaining part of this is that the plaintiffs went in a total of 27 times over the three-month period, never informing the owner of the "damages" caused, and only sued after they moved the mirror down. This is a pretty blatant example of people suing for money, as opposed to being genuinely "injured" by the mirror.

This is, of course, part of the newest trend in California (and elsewhere): greedy serial plaintiffs exploiting disability law to make an easy buck. Some plaintiffs have filed hundreds, or even and thousands of these lawsuits. Never mind the consequences: these lawsuits have resulted in many businesses closing down. Piazza's was lucky: despite the fact that the lawsuit over a mirror two inches too high costs more than the restaurant made last year, the doors will stay open (for now).

So, is it time for us to finally demand tort reform? Or are these plaintiffs justified?
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Devious Comments

:icondoctorv23:
DoctorV23 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
That made me laugh. Of course it's abuse and probably needs reform if anyone can actually win such a lawsuit. (I wouldn't have imagined that a mirror being 2 inches too high is such a catastrophe). Lipstick went on crooked? Stand on a stool if you're that short, lol. Jeez there are public toilets in this world that are little more than a hole in the ground.
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:iconzcochrane:
ZCochrane Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student Photographer
I agree that this law suit was unnecessary. But I'd like to point out that the law it is about is really doing a lot of good for a lot of people.
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:iconenuocale:
EnuoCale Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Someone really needs to lay out that frivolous lawsuits should not be indulged.
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:iconmomoe:
momoe Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
I agree on tort reform though naturally, this should be undertaken extremely carefully as when one takes away consumer rights, they can be notoriously hard to get back. (The downhill struggle on digital rights, being a nice example.) It's also worth considering that the great flaw in the legal system is that money talks, and the person or corporation with the most money usually wins. This is why consumers are given as much advantage as the law can provide; to counterbalance the financial gap. Sadly, this means that small businesses that do not enjoy the financial advantages of larger corporations get royally screwed.

Here's just an idea of mine (feel free to skip as it's not really relevant to the discussion):

Off the top of my head, it may be worth taking a page from existing the laws on debt collection. You don't really get to drag people to court due to an unpaid debt automatically and immediately calculate damages due to non-payment. You must have first produced a demand letter, giving the guy who borrowed the money a chance to settle the matter before the courts get involved. Failure to produce a demand letter waives the right of creditor to collect after a prescriptive period has lapsed (the "if you don't want it, then FINE!" doctrine, to coin a phrase). The reason this is done is because litigation should be typically be the last option to remedy a civil matter, not the first. It's expensive and time consuming to the plaintiffs, the defendants and taxpayers. (really, the only consistent winners here are the lawyers).

It's unavoidable to consider damages in the first incident of our bathroom case. After all, the damage was already done when the person was unable to use the mirror the first time. If we were to require a demand letter, written *after* the incident though, then at least the store owner will only have to deal with one incident instead of 27. If a demand letter were not submitted, then any subsequent incident would be assumed to have happened with the implied consent of the plaintiff (ergo, no further damages awarded).

I think a requirement of a demand letter, one that states the relevant law violated and the steps necessary to fix the problem, would be a step in the right direction.

For one, the damages to be paid would be significantly less, discouraging predatory law professionals from taking the case and abusing the law for a healthy percentage of whatever is awarded to their client. The case is then likely to move to a small claims court where it more properly belongs and the plaintiffs and defendants would be on more equal footing (assuming the case is pursued at all).

Demand letters also help to shore up the problem of ignorance on those obscure regulations not everyone is familiar with, since the letters themselves can serve as vehicles that promulgate information before any business-destroying tort is caused.
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:icontheredsnifit:
TheRedSnifit Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
Off the top of my head, it may be worth taking a page from existing the laws on debt collection. You don't really get to drag people to court due to an unpaid debt automatically and immediately calculate damages due to non-payment. You must have first produced a demand letter, giving the guy who borrowed the money a chance to settle the matter before the courts get involved. Failure to produce a demand letter waives the right of creditor to collect after a prescriptive period has lapsed (the "if you don't want it, then FINE!" doctrine, to coin a phrase).

I disagree with that; until recently, California was plagued with lawyers sending businesses letters demanding massive settlements; the lawyers frequently never intended to take the case to court, but businesses would pay up anyways. It got so bad that they actually outlawed "demand for money" letters pretty recently.

One problem is that, in California, you can collect damages for minor ADA violations, as opposed to the business simply being fined or being told to fix the problem. The second is that people don't actually alert the businesses to these problems: it's one thing if the business has been told repeatedly that they're violating the law, but they shouldn't be able to sue without a warning.
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:iconmomoe:
momoe Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012
Ah, you're confusing a demand letter with a threat to sue maybe? Sorry, I was just using the local industry jargon. (I live in the Philippines, so maybe the terminology differs even if the law is the same)

To clarify, a demand letter is designed to merely inform the debtor of his debt and that the creditor is still expecting to be paid. Think of it as a very long winded reminder note.

I suppose the problem in California is that their lawyers like to throw in a litigious threat or two to properly motivate people into paying. I do not agree with that. Sounds like the white collar version of threatening to break someone's legs if they don't pay.


Used properly (read, tastefully), a demand letter exists so that Debtors are protected from going getting sued for ten times what they owed simply because they were forgetful.

As a side note, this law also meant to protect creditors since the prescriptive period in which a debt is considered void resets upon the receipt of a letter of demand by the debtor.
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:iconcometcolt:
CometColt Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ugh! People will sue for just about anything these days. :roll:
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:iconleapinglela:
LeapingLela Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I had no idea such a law existed regarding mirrors. I knew about bathrooms being disability compliant, but 2 inches for a mirror? How easy could it have been for the plaintiff to simply walk up to the owner and say "Excuse me sir, but I noticed your mirror in your rest room is a tad high for us people with disabilities. Could you lower it?"

Greedy bastards!
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:icontristancody:
TristanCody Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Student Writer
Well. . . guess this shows how much we have fallen as a society, hasn't it?
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:iconkittythenekoalien:
KittyTheNekoAlien Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
These people are just too sue-happy. The McDonalds lady who spilled coffee on herself and sued at LEAST had a case because it turned out the machine was brewing the coffee hotter than it was supposed to, even though there is a warning on the cups that say coffee is HOT. THAT actually causes damage, even if it's user error. Complaining over a mirror is petty. Complaining after it's put in place properly is utter bullshit.
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:iconebolabears:
EbolaBears Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
Philly has long been a haven for petty suits.

A SEPTA bus had a minor collision in a transportation authority service station. No passengers were onboard, the bus was long out of service and in a restricted area.
No one outside the facility knew for like 2 days and then the claims rolled in. :rofl:
I think that's the case where someone showed up in a neckbrace to make their complaint/claim.

Petty malpractice suits have crippled the medical field in Pennsylvania.

Tort reform on a national level might be hard. But every State should be pressed to make their own reforms.
It's failed in PA despite doctors and the like showing up to the State Legislature letting them know how fucked the situation is.
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:icontheredsnifit:
TheRedSnifit Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
One of my favorite stories was when a Buffalo Bills fan signed up for a program where he'd get team-related texts three times a week, and sued because they sent him six.

[link]
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:iconebolabears:
EbolaBears Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
Hahahaha!

Nice
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:iconjuliabohemian:
Juliabohemian Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
I’m wondering how the attorney justified the use of a mirror as part of the services provided by a restaurant. Law states they must provide a bathroom that meets OSHA guidelines. That doesn’t necessarily include a mirror.
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:iconghostinthepines:
GhostInThePines Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I think the plaintiffs need to get an actual life, but what I find just as bad is the number of lawyers willing to take on these types of suits. They're just as greedy.
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:iconorangekrissy:
OrangeKrissy Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
Blame the idiots on a jury or a judge who thinks these people actually suffered any harm and awarded them damages. They are just filing nuisance lawsuits and the jury bit. I hope someone sues the members of the jury for some BS and they have to shell out their hard earned money to some shyster.
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:icontheredsnifit:
TheRedSnifit Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
That doesn't completely solve the problem: many times plaintiffs will demand a massive settlement, and businesses have no choice but to pay it, because said settlements are often cheaper than defending against the lawsuit (even if the business wins).
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:iconorangekrissy:
OrangeKrissy Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
If the business wins they can counter sue, though I'm sure they would get nothing. Also the other party usually has to pay the court costs when they lose.
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:iconcatapultedcarcass:
CatapultedCarcass Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Moneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoney.
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:iconreptilliansp2011:
ReptillianSP2011 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Student General Artist
[link]

I'll sue ya, Catapult! For money! Check that link, it fits this thread topic well.
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:iconthegman0:
theGman0 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist
lol
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:iconreptilliansp2011:
ReptillianSP2011 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Student General Artist
Only in America!
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:iconzcochrane:
ZCochrane Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student Photographer
Not true. Trust me, we've got plenty of similar lawsuits in Germany.
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:icontrorbes:
Trorbes Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
So why are people so riled up over something like this, where individuals exploit legal protection rights in order to frivolously sue businesses, but ignore it when big corporations like Wal-Mart exploit their workers' rights in order to underpay them -- to the point where many must rely on federal aid [link] -- in order to keep their profits high? Why do we defend that as clever capitalism, but deride this as legal incompetence and entitlement culture? Shouldn't we be treating these people as innovators and entrepreneurs?
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:iconscottahemi:
ScottaHemi Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been saying they need Idiot laws to prevent pointles sueings from cluttering up the real cases for a while now...

also all those idiot lables on stuff, those things are tacky and ruin an anythings design... ATVs bodies are HALF YELLOW AND WHITE because of idiot lables...
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:iconsherberttcat:
SherbertTCat Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The people who sued him have caused me mental distress. Therefore I am going to sue them for a gajillion pesos.
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:iconskulkey:
skulkey Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
dude, that's like two dollars.
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:iconsherberttcat:
SherbertTCat Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Two dollars I can spend on a bacon cheeseburger.
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:iconebolabears:
EbolaBears Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
Sue for more and you can get a drink too
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:iconbabushka-nipples:
Babushka-Nipples Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
Fuck those greedy snobby cunts.

Personally I think the owner should counter-sue.

If you make a life out of suing people over ridiculous bullshit, you are a horrible cunty person that deserves nothing. It's called getting up off your entitled ass and working.
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:iconpuppy-dangerous:
puppy-dangerous Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
There are people who make their living driving around and checking to make sure every place complies to the ADA to the letter. From mirrors to parking spaces to the width of isles and doorways.

I find it really sad.

Personally, I'm of the mind that if someone files over a certain number of lawsuits over crap like that, they shouldn't be allowed to do it anymore.

But they can always say they are doing it for the good of that one person who is horribly inconvenienced.
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:iconunvalanced:
Unvalanced Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, California.
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:iconkitsumekat:
kitsumekat Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
There should be minor reform.
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:icon0rg:
0rg Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
let's just hope they never find out that they can sue the mirror manufacturers because they're ugly
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:iconebolabears:
EbolaBears Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
I'm doing that right now!
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:icontheawsomeopossum:
TheAwsomeOpossum Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
Of course it's time for reform.
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:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
I'm more concerned about these two things: Why was a reward given to the plaintiff at all and why was there such a high reward for such a small and easily fixed violation? It should have been a citation or small fine at most, regardless of how many times the guy went into the bathroom.
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:iconebolabears:
EbolaBears Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
It's California, the legal system there is so fucked.....
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:icongvcspecks:
gvcspecks Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
there are lots of cunts who just want to grab what they can, someone in england claimed counselling after their wheelie bin was stolen.
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:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Student Writer
I think the problem is cultural rather than in the law.

The problem is that the culture has forgotten that the "spirit of the law" is what matters, not the actual wording. Because we allow the wording of the law to take precedence over the "spirit of the law" (aka the reason we have the law in the first place), judges award money based on stupid technicalities rather than the facts of the situation.

There's a reason we have human judges and not robots, and we should remind society about this.
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:icondefense2:
defense2 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012
I agree. If we were to go by the spirit of the law vs the actual wording of the law. Than the 2nd amendment says what those who want to own guns think it does.

However if we go by the letter of the law... It means a organized and regulated mulitia... We call these organizations the national guard. (read up on the origins of the national guard, and how it morphed into the national guard from the militia so to better protect the public. A militia would never be able to fight the US military toe to toe.)
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:iconzcochrane:
ZCochrane Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student Photographer
The letter of the law is important, though, because it is the only thing that's fixed. Lots of people can have very different opinions about what the spirit of the law is or should be. Nobody can argue about what's actually written. A legal system should always be set up so that people can know in advance whether they're going to be sued for something. Relying on the "spirit of the law" makes that a lot harder.
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:icondebit:
Debit Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Our legal system, including its food pyramid, has been built up to squeeze as much juice out of lemons known as technicalities. This encourages substituting piles after piles of words over common sense. No wonder why American business and governmental organizations have to hire so many legal professionals; most other countries do not have to be this top-heavy and several of them look down on those who are too eager for lawsuits when conducting business.
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:iconcherylblanche:
CherylBlanche Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
+1
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:iconsynapticboomstick:
SynapticBoomstick Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
So he was sued afterwards, meaning that they either didn't notice, didn't know about the rule, or just didn't give a shit.

Flip table/desk/chair/sandwich/television/computer/glass/cabinet/sofa/cat/car/street/Shoprite/country/prime meridian/planet/taco.
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:iconkittythenekoalien:
KittyTheNekoAlien Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
FLIP WORLD, yesh :3
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:iconragerancher:
Ragerancher Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
The whole USA needs a culture change.
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:iconreptilliansp2011:
ReptillianSP2011 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Student General Artist
*Introduce the Weird Al" Yankovic song that fits this thread topic*

Have a guess.
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:iconragerancher:
Ragerancher Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters from a Planet near Mars?
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:iconthegman0:
theGman0 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist
^
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