People never run out of reasons to sue one another. Over the years, I have determined the types of cases people should not pursue. Some of the best advice we give prospective clients is telling them why they should not engage in litigation. Seven reasons why you should not sue:
7 Reasons Why You Should Not Sue:
- You’re Angry And You Want To Make Someone’s Life Miserable.
A lawsuit is no place to express anger. The goal of any type of litigation is to obtain money for the damages you incurred. Anger is not something most juries award damages for and is no reason to be suing. Revenge can be sweet, but a lawsuit is no place to seek retribution (dark parking lots with no witnesses are much better—I’m kidding).
- You Want To Sue The Poor Or The Uninsured.
Suing the poor is never a good idea. Most people think they have won their civil lawsuit when the jury has found in their favor and awarded damages. You only win a lawsuit when you collect damages. If can’t collect, you have not won anything. If you can’t win, there is no use in suing.
- You Want To Sue Out Of Principal Or To Prove A Point.
A lawsuit is pointless unless you have obtained a verdict in your favor and collected upon it. If that did not happen, your suit was futile. If you want to teach someone a lesson, I suggest you start with your children.
- You Want to Sue Your Neighbor.
I am shocked by the sheer number of people who want to sue those living around them. As a general rule, if you want to sue your neighbor, you have already lost. There are a few exceptions to my rule, but those exceptions are based on the assumption that the damage potential of your case has at least three zeros. These damages must be significant enough to compensate for your loss of lifestyle and moving expenses. Anything less and you are doing more damage than you can possibly gain.
- You Want To Sue For Wrongful Arrest After You Have Plead Guilty Or Been Found Guilty.
I receive many calls from people who want to sue after they have been arrested. These potential plaintiffs claim their arrest was illegal and they want every cop within 15 feet of their arrest to be sued. Viable wrongful arrest suits do exist. However, no jury is interested in rewarding you if you plead guilty or were found guilty of the crime for which you were wrongfully arrested.
- You Want To Sue Your Ex-Wife, Ex-Husband, Ex-Girlfriend, Or Ex- Boyfriend For Defamation.
Defamation suits are usually a bad idea because they are only viable in certain circumstances. If your ex is no longer singing your praises, and is actually yelling some nasty things about you, some think a lawsuit is justified. These people are in the wrong. There is a good chance your ex will enjoy the lawsuit more than you. This is a good reason not to pursue litigation. Another reason is that you’ll appear petty to most people and these people are often jurors. There are exceptions, but it is my general policy to avoid taking cases involving defamation and former flings.
- You Want Publicity.
Some prospective clients admit they don’t have much of a case but try to lure me in anyway with, “just think of all the publicity you will get as my lawyer.” The problem with suing for publicity is that publicity doesn’t pay the bills. You would be shocked to hear that most delis will not give me a sandwich for an article about one of my cases. When you sue, you sue to obtain money for damages your client incurred, not to publicize your law firm.
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