The new four letter word “Personal Responsibility”

value faceWhere has personal responsibility gone? It seems that now, more than ever, no one can accept personal responsibility and society seems to embrace this with both arms open. It is not only gone, but seems to be tainted as if you should wash your mouth out for even uttering the words.

The evidence is present in almost all aspects of our lives. Health, education, politics, workplace, etc. It is easier to say “it is _____ fault” instead of admitting we messed up.

I truly believe that one factor that feeds this mentality is the abuse of our legal system. We have become un-phased by million dollar lawsuits and see them as not only commonplace, but deserving.

It is always the weak individual against the evil corporation, evil empire, evil employer, or the abusing government. For some reason, we feel it is fair to award a victim more money then they would ever earn in their life for something like spilling coffee on their lap or getting their ass slapped. Even our children begin to accept the notion that there is no personal responsibility when all they see on the news are law suits and their freedoms at school go away becuase little Samy’s injury was the School’s fault even though they saw Samy sliding head first down the slide.

Here are just a few cases to support this idea:

Case 1:

For those living in Los Angeles, CA, we have an individual named Tennie Pierce that was employed by the Los Angeles fire department. He was just awarded $1.43 million by the city council in a discrimination case against LAFD . This was after he was originally awarded a $2.7M settlement that was reversed by the city soon after pictures surfaced of him participating in similar events that he was filling the case about.

The lawsuit claims that his fellow firefighters were involved in a prank where they fed him dog food by mixing it in with spaghetti. Because of the prank, he claimed racial discrimination and hired the services of Genie Harrison (who by the way represents LAFD firewomen in similar cases).

It should also be known that Tennie Pierce’s nickname was big dog and the prank was followed by an incident where Tennie repeatedly yelled “feed the big dog” after winning a volleyball match. (see more on Tennie Pierce case ).

The prank was not right, but it most certainly was not racial discrimination. How come he deserves $1.43 million? We have all been subject to pranks, name calling, and disagreements. So do we all deserve $1.43 million for a pain and suffering. This lawsuit is about one person making money and a law firm going after deep pockets by taking a subject most people are sympathetic to. That’s it folks.

Case 2:

Imagine this, you and two other friends give a party. You provide the entertainment, food, drinks, etc. A friend that was invited brings a guest and upon arriving to the home the guest trips down some stairs that are part of the house that lead from the entry to the main family room. The guest gets up, brushes it off and goes on with the evening. A week later you receive papers for a lawsuit. You and the two friends have been sued for a sprained ankle and pain and suffering: amount $150K.

Well, this one is real and happened to a friend of mine. I can’t name the Plantiffs as much as I want to, but the guest basically tripped down the stairs and had a mild sprained ankle. I believe the doctor bills were minimal, and the majority of the lawsuit was for pain and suffering.

The stairs were part of the original house design (a tract not custom) and not modified in anyway. The insurance policy for this type of liability was $150K (how odd that it matches exactly the policy limit). The case did not go to court because the insurance company did not want to defend it. Named in the suit was the three parties that gave the party and the entertainment (casino nights). The legal defense of casino nights was able to get the lawsuit dropped, but they still had to defend themselves.

Everyday people trip, fall, or simply roll their ankles. Most get up and leave it alone, why does someone have the right to sue over their stupidity. Even though the insurance company paid, the friend had to spend many hours in depositions, submit builder plans of the house, take pictures, meet with insurance adjusters, and ended up losing the friendship of the other two defendants. All because an idiot tripped and felt it was someone else’s fault.

Case 3:

Well this is not really a case, but perhaps an opportunity I missed! I was walking to lunch past a construction zone by Chevron and some sidewalk work by DWP. I was not paying attention and tripped on a rock and fell. Feeling stupid I got up and limped back to work. The next day I go down the same path but now there are three signs and a person with a broom on standby. I almost felt like I was going to get escorted across. Now thinking back, DWP, Chevron, and the city of Los Angeles. Three entities with very deep pockets, wow could have got at least $2M.

Notice how I say missed opportunity. That is how it is thought about today. Anytime you get your feelings hurt, have a hard time, hurt yourself, or simply do not perform, if you can connect you problem to deep pockets you have an opportunity. Doesn’t anyone think this is wrong?

Case 4 Most expensive Terms on Google are dominated by attorneys and litigators:

Ever look at the most expensive keyword related terms? All these terms have over $40 per click search costs. For those not familiar with this, when you see sponsored Google ads after doing searches for any of the terms below, the advertiser has to pay $40 of more if you click on the ad. Pretty steep rate, but when you consider they are bringing in millions in settlements, $40 per click is nothing. I clicked on one ad for mesothelioma lawyer and on their site they advertised $10,594,300 in client settlements so far (after attorney fees). One firm.

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There are just so many examples. It has become perfectly acceptable for people not taking responsibility for their actions. More importantly, if there stupidity or ignorance is connected to deep pockets, they are allowed to profit from it. These lawsuits don’t solve problems, the cause higher taxes, higher insurance rates, higher health care rates, higher food costs, less freedom, lower wages, and lower morality.

When you are happily clapping your hands that someone was just awarded $_millions from some large evil corporation, just remember you are paying for that settlement one way or another. Do you still want to clap now?

These huge settlements and lawsuits need to stop, please contact your congressmen, state senators, and any other regulatory person and encourage them to push for change. The more annoying we are the better we can force change.

Lastly, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS. You might actually improve you life if you understand that what you do paves your way!


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