Questionable Lawsuits and the Importance of General Counsel
There is little question that we live in a very litigious society. With the exception of a few landmark pieces of legislation, many of the rules by which we live have evolved from years of lawsuits being filed by one party against another which force the courts to interpret various laws and their applicability under the U.S. Constitution. Sometimes, however, a person will file a civil lawsuit that leaves many people wondering what could possibly have led to such an action.
In my practice as a business law attorney, I provide general counsel services for a number of companies throughout the region. When your company is faced with a lawsuit that seems to be little more than a blatant money-grab, an experienced attorney can help you resolve the matter quickly while keeping your professional reputation intact.
Unfortunate Case Studies
Lawsuits that appear to be frivolous are often motivated by greed. Defending against a lawsuit can be expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive to a company’s operations. Some plaintiffs believe that a company may be likely to offer a settlement rather than expend resources on the case. While this may happen on occasion, judges are often quick to step in and expose the nature of such claims. Sometimes, the cases themselves are outrageous to the point of being funny—at least to those who are not named in the suit, anyway. Consider a few examples:
Cowboys Fan Sues NFL for $88 Billion
In January of 2015, an incarcerated man in Colorado filed a handwritten complaint in federal court against the National Football League over an on-field decision during that season’s playoffs. Specifically, the man believed that the NFL committed fraud and a breach of a fiduciary duty by overturning a call on the field through the use of instant replay. The suit sought damages in the amount of $88,987,654,321.88 on the basis that the call robbed the Dallas Cowboys of the game. The court was not convinced of the case’s merit and quickly dismissed it as frivolous.
Woman Uses Fake Photos Against McDonald’s
While most of us are familiar with the “hot coffee” lawsuit against McDonald’s from the mid-1990s, a California woman filed a claim in 2013 stating that an unsecured lid caused her coffee to burn her at one of the franchise’s locations. A brief investigation determined that the photos she submitted with her claim were not of her own hand and that she had never received medical treatment for burns of any kind. The woman’s claim was dismissed, and she was arrested on charges of insurance fraud.
Cereal Company Sued Over “Crunchberries”
In 2009, another California woman filed a federal lawsuit against Pepsico, Inc., the parent company of the makers of Cap’n Crunch cereals. She claimed the company engaged in deceptive marketing in regard to its Crunch Berries cereal, leading consumers to believe the cereal contained fruit. A federal judge in Sacramento dismissed the suit stating that no reasonable consumer would have been tricked by the packaging. He went on to say that he was not aware of the existence of a “crunchberry” growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world.”
How Could General Counsel Help?
When you have an attorney who provides general counsel services for your company, that lawyer will become very familiar with the “ins and outs” of your business. This means that if a legal issue arises—including one that seems rather frivolous—your attorney will not need to spend many extra hours simply getting to know you and your company. Instead, your lawyer can focus on resolving the issue at hand.
Having general counsel is also helpful in preventing legal concerns in the first place. Your general counsel attorney can conduct periodic reviews of your practices, policies, and the overall state of your company to identify potential issues before they can grow in full-blown problems. Over time, retaining general counsel could save you time, money, and energy over hiring a lawyer separately each time something comes up.
Facing a Questionable Lawsuit? A Naperville General Counsel Attorney Can Help
These are just a few of the countless examples of dubious lawsuits that are filed in courtrooms around the country. If you would like to know more about the general counsel services offered at the Gierach Law Firm, contact our office. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation with a DuPage County business law attorney today. We are ready to put our experience and skills to work for your company.