Personal injury attorney William H. Harding's concept is simple: broaden the definition of "injury" to include minor mishaps and mere inconveniences.
If virtually anything that happens can be construed as an injury, then a lawsuit can be brought for just about everything.
Who needs to worry about substantiating "pain and suffering" if mild discomfort and temporary annoyance are actionable?
Say you're sitting in a restaurant near the door and each time a customer comes in you feel a draft. Are the sudden bursts of chill wind against your neck a series of avoidable injuries? Is worrying about catching your death of cold a kind of mental anguish?
You could move to another table, but why did the restaurant put a table so close to the door in the first place? Couldn't the owners foresee that some customers could suffer temperature-based trauma?
Do we exaggerate? Not much.
Attorney Harding of Charleston is representing a woman who is suing the Dunbar McDonald's because an employee there accidentally knocked over a "wet floor" sign on her foot. A "wet floor" sign – one of those collapsible plastic signs that are two feet high and weigh a small number of ounces. Ouch! Call 9-1-1!
Taneisha Adams of South Charleston is the plaintiff with the persnickety piggies. She claims to have incurred physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, limitations in her activities, and a diminution in her ability to enjoy life.
If a light plastic sign falling on her foot reduced her ability to enjoy life, she may not be enjoying life that much to begin with. And what about the threat of falling leaves in autumn.
Let's hope the judge chastises her and Harding for filing a frivolous suit. Let them feel the pain.