Recently on the front page of the newspaper, there was a laughable picture of monkeys (yes, monkeys) walking along a wire in Japan. Reading the article accompanying the picture, I could not help but laugh with each story of monkey-related incidents in Japan. Everything from surprise visits by monkeys to your house, to being chased down by a pack of monkeys. One of the funnier stories, though, was one of a woman who was so surprised by a monkey at her doorstep that she fell and broke her leg. In turn, she sued the city for 6 million yen ($50,000). The case was dismissed by the judge, who stated the city does not have a "legal obligation to keep monkeys from doing harm."
I read this aloud to my friends, who also found this quite funny. One of them, however, said "At least some judicial system has some sense." Curious, I asked what he meant. "I mean how in the US people get away with suing for such ridiculous things." Upon further thought, I decided my friend was right; the US does have a ridiculous habit of giving away loads of cash for some of the stupidest mistakes ever thought up.
The most well-known example would be the case of a hot cup of coffee from McDonald’s. The person involved stupidly put her coffee between her legs while driving, and during a car maneuver, spilled it all over her legs. She sued McDonald’s for making its coffee too hot and won the case.
She put the coffee between her legs while driving!
Can McDonald’s really be held responsible for this woman’s lack of common sense? Is it necessary that McDonald’s put a "Warning: Hot" sign on a cup of coffee? It is generally accepted that a traditional cup of coffee tends to be hot. Yet, because this woman (apparently) was not aware that her daily cup of coffee is hot till it’s between her legs, she has won a nice sum of money.
Unfortunately this example of a cup of coffee from McDonald’s is only one of many. Another example a friend of mine brought up was one of a man, his cat, and the microwave. He one day found out that, contrary to his belief, you cannot dry your cat in the microwave. In turn, he sued the company responsible for the microwave incident and won a nice bag of cash.
He put his cat in the microwave!
Does a microwave really need a sign indicating that it is in fact "Not for Felines" but is designed for food and drink? In the supposedly most advanced nation in the world, how is it that a person can get away with putting his cat in a microwave and gain cash from such a stupid venture? Can we really classify ourselves as so "advanced" then?
In some cases, a warning label isn’t even enough. For example, two carpet installers sued a chemical company after an explosion caused by the carpet adhesive that the company manufactures. While using the "All Weather Outdoor Adhesive" to install a carpet in a basement, a spark from a hot water heater ignited the substance. Despite the warning label that stated "Do Not Use Indoors Because of Flammability," which one of the carpet installers testified to reading, the men were awarded $8 million in a jury vote of 6-2. They concluded that the warning label was inadequate.
Despite a warning, the two carpet installers still won the case!
Let’s review the scenarios. In the United States of America, all persons who provide a product or service are responsible for the stupid acts of their customers. If the customer does not use common sense, the persons are responsible for not instilling common sense through use of a warning label. If the warning label is not adequately placed as according to a jury, the persons responsible for the product and/or service are again responsible for this mishap. In turn, all victims must be awarded outstanding sums of cash whether the injuries or injustices caused were minor or major. In the great land of America, the consumer can always get millions for lack of common sense. In the land of Japan, they dismiss cases involving monkey-antics.
All products should have a clear, obvious warning label that reads: "Not responsible for stupidity of customer, which includes, but is not limited to: putting the product in places they do not go, using them in such ways that are not specified, or failing to follow the guidelines of a warning label. It is illegal to possess this product if your IQ falls below 80."
Warning: All paper cuts or other
accidents related to this paper are a direct cause of your inability to
handle the paper. I can therefore not be held responsible for your lack