Many people think that lawsuits for injuries like being burnt by hot coffee, are frivolous, etc. But in fact, there are many safeguards built into the ancient tort law system to prevent frivolous lawsuits. First of all, a tort is defined as a “injury to an individual that was caused or created when another person violated their duty of behaving reasonably, and the victim was injured in their mind body, or mental faculties.” Examples of modern negligence law cases are dog bites, helicopter accidents, drowning children in unsupervised pools, etc. Everyone has a duty to act reasonably. And when someone improperly pilots a vehicle, or lets their animal attack someone, they are in breach of their implied contract. This is also called a social contract. Tort law is modernly labeled “negligence law”, but both semantics can be used interchangeably.
When a big corporation, or even a small person does something that harms another citizen and that hurt individual, was in the “zone of danger”, and it was foreseeable that the victim, or a bystander, for example would be harmed, then the person hurt can sue the evildoer, for the wrong. There are some variations in how this all works, but this is how it is laid out in a nutshell. This is all a common law scheme that is derived from the ancient tort law of England that expanded over time to award money, instead of setting off blood feuds. Only Louisiana was historically under the French, or Roman Civil Law system, so its tort laws vary.
With that lone exception, America, even Canada is an English Common Law jurisdiction, from whence we came. The only real difference, is that American colonial states recognized Natural Law and Natural Rights and they recorded some of these rights in a document, called the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights did not create any new rights, it simply memorialized that the newly freed states and “limited federal government”, would afford and enshrine all rights, including enumerated rights that were bestowed upon us by our Creator, and not a king, or government. In fact, the state Constitutions and laws had already enshrined these rights for themselves.
The founders were very frightened of “democracy”, and recognized that would ultimately lead to a majority being able to strip the minority of the people of their property and related rights, under the guise of the “greater good”, etc. Thus, a Republic was established, wherein there were supposed to be certain “unalienable” rights, that could not be “infringed”. (incapable of being “liened”.) Therefore, the Founding Fathers felt it best to have a “limited government” that protected commerce, trade, provided for a national defense, and left the people to govern themselves at a local level. Washington DC and most federal power was to be confined to an area “ten miles square”, and a tri-partite form of government was set up, where no one chamber was to be more powerful than the other. A legislative, judiciary, and executive.
Also built into the judicial branch, was a jury system. Also enshrined in the ancient rights passed down, is the right of the jury to nullify bad laws, or ignore them.
It is not only his right, but his duty… to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court… – John Adams
That many modern courts refuse to recognize, or dismiss jurors who rely upon this God granted right, shows us how far the un-American state governments have fallen away from a true, sovereign run government. It was always the case that a freedom loving individual, also had a say in what laws are, or are not just. In this era of big business, and powerful public employee unions, it is relatively easy to hold a lawmaker’s votes hostage with “contribution” money to help keep him or her in power. It is also noteworthy that modern lawmakers have passed laws that they themselves have exempted themselves from. For example, “insider trading”, which allows legislators to commit what would be a felony for you or me, if you are subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Obviously, they are getting very wealthy once they are lured by the trappings of D.C.
John Jay even said:
“The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” (Read more.)
Ultimately, it would appear that following the facts of the case, and words of the lawyers would be enough to decide if a hot coffee lawsuit has merit. When we hear stories about tort reform, or frivolous lawsuits, we must take them with a grain of salt. Who is behind all this bad press? Who pays money to the media to advertize? In any event, when the news media says, that one can vote to “change” things, we must remember that most of the media is bought and paid for by big corporations, and run primarily by left wing, pro “democracy” people. Thus, this is more than likely mere propaganda, and not really valuable information.
The jury box is one of the few and last vestiges that allows unbiased, sovereigns, “we the People”, to decide if a case has merit and what a personal injury is and in not. When a court or the government tells us we do not have the right to nullify bad laws, we must look at history and the underpinnings of the Revolution. Remember, that King George and his public officials also exempted themselves from the very laws they held the colonists liable for. So our founders and past courts recognized the common law right of a jury, as well as “nullification”. In fact, the Nurnberg trials actually applied nullification principles when sentencing former Nazi officials to death. When these “war criminals” said they were following orders, the jury and court found these were “bad laws,” that should not have been enforced.
It has been said that citizens are entitled to the voting box, the jury box, and when all else fails, the [rifle] cartridge box. Before we digress into the Second Amendment and its guaranteed recognition that the People have the right to throw off unjust government by use of arms, we will stay on target here with a discussion on general negligence law. First off, in a personal injury case, a judge can actually throw out cases that are patently frivolous. And they do this often in California by use of the Summary Judgment Motion filed by a defendant, or the judge can actually dismiss cases on his or her own in the interests of justice, substantive, or procedural law. So above, we covered what a personal injury case is, the history of negligence law in the U.S.A., and rights of the jury to decide if a case should stand or fall based upon the law, or nullification. Reducing the amount of money damages, or saying a case is frivolous only hurts legitimately injured victims. We the People have certain rights. And rights not claimed are considered waived.
First, I want to thank patriot attorney Michael Ehline for contributing some thoughts and definitions.
“1770-1774: Increased tension between the British and the Colonies leads to violence, governmental action and revolutionary prose” http://www.founding.com/timeline/pageid.2461/default.asp
“Insider Trading Rules That Don’t Apply To Congress” http://www.forbes.com/sites/kylesmith/2011/06/01/insider-trading-rules-that-dont-apply-to-congress/
“Jury Nullification and the Rule of Law” http://www.friesian.com/nullif.htm “If they were to honestly admit as much, and hold themselves powerless to disobey unjust and morally despicable laws, they should be told that “obeying orders” was not accepted as a defense in the Nazi war crime trials at Nuremberg.“