The Last Week; How Lawsuits Doomed an American Icon

Litigation extortion. That is how I like to characterize the crazy litigious society we live in here in the United States. Some people are all too eager to sue the pants off of companies, raising the price of just about every product we buy as consumers. Those of us in aviation definitely feel the effects of litigation. Talk to just about any aircraft manufacturer or aviation product supplier. Chances are high they have faced lawsuits. It is one thing to file a legitimate lawsuit because of negligence. It is another thing to take advantage of the system to “stick it to the man.”

I saw a sad link to a YouTube video yesterday on my Facebook newsfeed. The video, The Last Week; How Lawsuits Doomed an American Icon, chronicles the last week of business of Blitz USA. Blitz used to be the largest manufacturer of gas cans in the United States. Based out of Miami, OK, Blitz employed around 350 people. Lawsuit abuse forced the business to close its doors this past summer. You see, some people that weren’t too smart would do the unthinkable – pour gasoline right on a fire. Then when the gas can exploded in their hands, instead of taking personal responsibility for their stupid action, chose instead to sue the gas can manufacturer. “What they have is a substantially disfigured plaintiff,” says one attorney interviewed on the video. “And when there’s a substantially disfigured plaintiff, people feel an emotion to help that person out that’s been so badly damaged. And those injuries are so significant, some people want to give them money regardless of the liability of the gas can manufacturer.”

So, who got that money? The substantially disfigured people who stupidly poured gas on a fire? No. They only got a very small slice of the award. The attorneys got the money. They were the only ones who benefitted by filing these frivolous lawsuits. Blitz USA and its employees lost. The town of Miami, OK lost. We as consumers lost because of the higher price of gas cans.

The cost of litigation eventually forced the company out of business this past summer. The YouTube video chronicles the last week of the company’s operation. The 18-minute video is a sad reminder of the cost of the litigious society we live in. You can view the video by clicking HERE.

Unfortunately, because our President and most of our Senators and Representatives are attorneys, a chance of real Tort reform appears to be slim to none.

So we go on, hoping the company we work for doesn’t shut its door like Blitz had to because of the enormous financial burden of frivolous lawsuits.

Thanks for reading.

Joe Escobar