February 06, 2004

What? No Loss of Consortium?

WE WERE BEMUSED to learn that a Tennessee woman, prompted by the licentious display during the half-time show of America's most famous sporting event, has gone ahead with a particularly American response to that bawdiness. By this, we mean that she is suing Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, CBS, MTV and Viacom.

The woman alleges that she, as well as other American television viewers, suffered "outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury" from the broadcast. She further alleges that Americans have suffered a loss of "standing and credibility" in the world at large due to the broadcast. She is asking for billions of dollars, but has graciously filed her lawsuit on behalf of all viewers who watched the program.

Quite frankly, we don't know what impresses us more: the fact that she actually went to the trouble to file the lawsuit, or that an actual bar-approved attorney agreed to file it. After all, there is clearly no need for such a suit: the law provides plenty of relief as is, and many are preparing to do a dance routine on Viacom's collective keister. And we do not think much of clogging the courts merely to make a statement.

However, if this act was in fact a statement, we wish that the lady in question and her attorney had gone over the top with things. Never mind "serious injury" -- hell, our spleen gave out just minutes after learning of what happened -- let's throw in something good here: emotional distress, loss of consortium, the gout, scabies, athlete's foot, uncontrollable nausea.

Of course, we jest. We would never suggest that anyone go this far -- especially since the defendants could well use a particularly disturbing new legal tactic* in response:

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So, madam. You allege that this Super Bowl incident caused you, and I quote, "outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury," am I correct?
PLAINTIFF: That's right.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well. That's interesting. For I have here in my possession a signed notice from the very next day proving you saved a lot of money on your car insurance!
GALLERY: (gasps)(begins muttering)
JUDGE: Order! ORDER!
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This wasn't serious injury at all, was it? This was actually "good news," wasn't it, ma'am?
PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: OBJECTION!
JUDGE: Overruled. Continue.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did you or did you not save $143 per year on that insurance?
PLAINTIFF: Well, it wasn't that much, it's an '82 Ford and ...
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Your honor, I would like to submit into evidence Exhibit G, this being the sworm statement of Mrs Burton P Schrenk, the plaintiff's neighbor. Mrs Schrenk notes that the plaintiff said, and I quote, "If I hadn't been so sick of the television, I never would have opened that direct mail advertisement." Isn't that what you said, ma'am?
PLAINTIFF: All right, all right! So I did!
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Your honor, I move for --
JUDGE: -- Case dismissed!
GALLERY: (now in uproar)
BAILIFF: Stick around, everybody! The next case involves a man dressed up like a rabbit!

Fight fire with fire, that's what we always say.


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* Hey, if everyone else is using a GEICO joke, we can too.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at February 6, 2004 01:09 AM | TrackBack