A blackjack player can improve his chances of winning by playing wisely -- or lessen his chances by playing foolishly.

One of the silliest scenes in the first "Austin Powers" movie involves a $10,000 game of blackjack. The eponymous hero, international man of mystery Austin Powers, has two cards, a three and a two, but declines to take any more because he likes to "live dangerously." Needless to say, the dealer comes closer to 21 and Powers loses his wager.

The game of personal injury lawsuits has odds, too, and the plaintiff's attorney who presents evidence of a genuine injury and makes a plausible case of the defendant's liability has a much better chance of winning.

Counsel representing the plaintiffs in two recently dismissed Digitek cases must really like to "live dangerously." They went Austin Powers one better and tried to win a game of chance with no cards at all.

Not only were they unable to demonstrate that the defendants had harmed their clients; they couldn't even show that their clients had been harmed.

It remains unclear how they expected to win the cases or why they bothered going to court in the first place.

Three years ago, drug maker Actavis Totowa discovered 20 Digitek pills of double thickness at one of its manufacturing plants and recalled the batch. No Digitek user ever produced a double-thick pill, but thousands of greedy plaintiffs and attorneys filed suit anyway.

"The plaintiffs' theory comes down to an attempt to use speculation about a defect to prove causation and speculation about causation to prove a defect," U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin summed up succinctly as he dismissed the last two cases earlier this month.

According to Judge Goodwin, the plaintiffs and their attorneys presented no "cogent argument or genuine issues of material fact on the questions of defect and its cause of resulting harm."

We encourage the losing plaintiffs and their attorneys to seek professional help. Call 1-800-BETS-OFF.

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