Recent lawsuit results in a waste of time and money

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Ally Daskalopoulos

As a political science major on a pre-law track, I consider it a priority to be up to date on current events, specifically news in law and politics. That being said, I was shocked the other day when I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal concerning the increasing number of disability lawsuits against small businesses.

The story included specifics regarding the underlying policies of disability lawsuits and all that citizens are entitled to. It also provided examples of relatively recent disability lawsuit cases.

One in particular caught my attention. Alan Rigerman, a disabled customer who carried a cane, sued Arbetter Hot Dogs of Miami, Florida due to their lack of a “wheelchair ramp, fixed floor mats, accessible restrooms and 28 other alleged violations.” This would have been Rigerman’s third lawsuit this year.

Florida is among one of the more popular states for these types of lawsuits, and quite frankly, I wonder if a good portion of those lawsuits originated from Mr. Rigerman himself. The fact that Rigerman feels the need to pinpoint these oversights and make accusations toward the restaurant seems unnecessary and unproductive to me.

Some may argue that he may have been looking out for fellow disabled citizens. But, Mr. Rigerman suffered no injuries and in my opinion has no valid reason to accuse this enterprise.

Last I checked, disabled citizens that use a cane do not require a wheelchair ramp to safely travel from the parking lot to the inside of a building.

Arbetter Hot Dogs ended up with a total cost of $24,000 in payments. That’s a lot of hotdogs. It is lawsuits like these that put businesses in jeopardy and ultimately have far more extensive consequences on society than we think.

According to the Institute for Legal Reform, the total amount of medical malpractice costs in 2010 was $29.8 billion dollars. Forty percent of those cases involved no evidence of patient injuries whatsoever. To me this qualifies as a colossal waste of money and the source of many other economic and political issues.

This website also included the definition of “defensive medicine,” which means doctors and other medical professionals order unneeded testing to further validate their diagnosis, ultimately saving them from being liable for anything harmful that may occur after their diagnosis.

Referring back to those expensive cases in 2010, 91 percent of those malpractice cases were a result of defensive medicine. The acts of defensive medicine and the cases that involve no evidence are proven to “waste court resources” and eventually “increase healthcare costs.” In this day and age, the United States can’t afford to be losing that much capital on unnecessary liability cases.

If we aren’t careful, that same outcome could occur from those wasteful disability cases against small businesses. This also undermines the purpose of a lawsuit. If we are to assign blame to someone when an instance of injustice is present, how are we to determine if it is a true act of injustice or if we are just trying to get some extra money out of something we noticed that doesn’t directly impact us?

It reminds me of the boy who cried wolf. After a certain amount of time, there actually will be a wolf, but no one to witness the real act of injustice.