How to Get SuedIn the book “How to Get Sued” (Kaplan Publishing, NY), J. Craig Williams of May It Please the Court blog fame, has come out with a book on the lighter side of how “real life” becomes “real litigation.”  As a sort of how-to guide, the book points out that all you really need is to give somebody a reason to sue you.  And there are plenty of reasons.

In what is set out as the top ten options for getting sued, Williams guides the reader through the most common human activities that tend to end up with a bill from a lawyer.  These are set forth in individual chapters as:

1. Fall in Love
2. Own a Business
3. Commit a Crime
4. Go to Work
5. Live on Earth
6. Have Children
7. Enjoy Yourself
8. Indulge a Few Vices
9. Own a Pet
10. Own a Home

While certainly not a legal text book, How to Get Sued lays out a series of short vignettes for each topic describing the hapless characters that provide guidance for the reader.  It’s perfect for someone with a short attention span like me — I can put the book down and come back to it later without having to remember everything I read earlier.  In addition, each chapter ends with “Seriously Now: Lessons Learned” section that gives you the straight dope on the best way to stay out of trouble.

In one instructive section under step 4, entitled Go to Work, we learn about travel agent Sherman Gottlieb and the 1,000 faxes he received from Carnival Corp. (parent of Carnival Cruise Lines).  He faxed a request to be removed from their list but they just wouldn’t listen.  Invoking the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Gottlieb sued and may be able to collect as much as $500 per fax or $500,000 in damages in the pending suit.

Whether or not dwelling on all this misfortune is a good thing is another matter.  In a forward, Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, states thusly:

There’s a certain schadenfreude aspect to reading the cases J. Craig Williams has collected.  But it’s not just the misfortune of others that is chronicled here, but also their very human weaknesses and foibles — and there hysterical efforts to overcome them once they get trapped inside the litigation machine.

Modern society (especially in the U.S.) tends to not just be litigation-focused but something-bad-is-going-to-happen-focused.  Part of it is probably due to the news media’s penchant for giving a lopsided view of the risks faced by the public.  It sure doesn’t help that governments and politicians want you to be very afraid.  Having said that, How to Get Sued can be a fun read.  Just remember to go out and get some fresh air now and again.

How to Get Sued” (Kaplan Publishing, NY) is available from Amazon.  Mr. Williams can also be found at Lawyer2Lawyer, A Criminal Waste of Space and Sharks in the Water.

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  8. Stephen: Another great piece in the form of a timely, and topical, book review. Thanks for your thoughts on Williams’ latest offering. I hope to get a chance to read it based on your recommendation, and I promise to get some fresh air while doing so!

  9. […] Williams guides the reader through the most common human activities that tend to end up source: Book Review Monday: You Need To Know How to Get Sued, Patent […]

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