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Gary Shipman
Gary Shipman
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"Victoria's Secret" Should Have Stayed That Way

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Well, we’re heading into the 2nd week of the latest “poster child” for Tort Reform in the United States. Thanks goes out to that young, fresh out of law school, attorney from California, and his somewhat large client, who a year after the woman’s “near death” experience with an exploding thong, that allegedly caused an eye injury. Prospective jurors across the United States will now forever be asked to compare a case with real merit and real injuries (without regard to the issue of a busted thong) with one that, on the surface and therefore according to most members of the public, appears to have little merit, or said another way, not worthy of the time and attention that it has already received.

Don’t get me wrong here; I know the standards to which manufacturers are and should be held. No manufacturer may put a dangerous product in the stream of commerce or fail to provide adequate instructions and warnings. No manufacturer, or for that matter, retailer, can engage in deception in order to sell a product. But please, this lady wore this thong several times, and given the “stresses” to which this thong had therefore been exposed, was this a case that warranted litigation? I think not.

But she and her “just passed the California Bar Exam” lawyer (who, by the way, did a great job of reciting the elements of a products liability case given his recent digestion of that) exercised their “constitutional right” to obtain access and redress through the courts of that State. No doubt, we’re likely to hear that this case has been “disposed” of without it ever seeing time before a jury. What that means is that courts (not politicians) are capable of policing what constitutes a good case from a bad case. No meritorious case will fail to see the light of day because of this one case. No political solution, therefore, that further limits valid claims from being brought should be further considered, as there is enough “reform” that has already occurred to last a life time.

I don’t know whether the thong was defective or not, but I think that I know whether the “upside”, legally, factually and financially, of a case is worth litigating. If the plaintiff’s attorney doesn’t figure that out for himself, I’m content that a court will. Justice, in any event, will be served, regardless of the outcome of that case. What I hope is that the cases that are truly worthy of respect, legally and factually, do not get categorized with this, where “Victoria’s Secret” should have remained so.