May it Please the Court:
I said, in one of the earliest True Stella Awards newsletters, “There is no easy solution. This isn’t something that 10 issues of an Internet publication will solve — or 100 issues. Rather, it will take a lengthy and in-depth dialogue among informed citizens and reform-minded insiders to carefully weigh the pros and cons of various approaches, and then slowly and carefully introduce reforms.”
The True Stella Awards book was intended to start that dialogue — while simultaneously be interesting, even entertaining, to read.
That said, I continued: “What’s ‘easy’ is to laugh at a Winnebago driver putting the cruise control on so he can go into the back to make a cup of coffee, and suing over the resulting crash and winning a million dollars from a sympathetic jury from a big evil corporation. So easy, in fact, that it’s a lie — it never happened. But people love sending that story around. The recipients get a laugh, say ‘ain’t it awful?’ — and move on to the next joke. Not so with reading TSA cases: TSA gets deeper in, explores the issue in (yes!) interesting ways and from all sorts of different angles…, and explicitly points out that the solutions aren’t obvious. Such an approach stimulates thought and discussion on an important topic that affects all of us.”
The True Stella Awards newsletter was a great place to get a talking point to discuss the issue of frivolous lawsuits, but it was difficult for a short form publication to get in-depth, to look at this complex problem in a comprehensive way from several angles. That’s where the book comes in. It retells scores of cases, many of them updated with new information, and pulls it all together in one place with analysis of what to do next.
What The Book Covers
- Just who is Stella, and what really happened with that cup of McDonald’s coffee?
- Using lawsuits to further a political or personal agenda.
- Medical cases.
- Blaming someone else — anyone else — for what happens to you.
- What happens when bullies and cry-babies grow up (they take their fights into court!)
- The ever-expanding concept of the “right” to sue.
- Suits by inmates and criminals — sometimes they sue their victims.
- The class action lottery.
- Lawsuits against schools.
- Just plain stupid cases.
- How corporations use lawsuits to fight competition and anyone who criticize them.
- Responses from lawyer-readers — some of them just don’t get it.
- And pulling it all together: How can we fix the problem?
The result is a big book that takes a big publisher to pull it off. So Dutton (an imprint of Penguin USA) published The True Stella Awards: Honoring real cases of Greedy Opportunists, Frivolous Lawsuits, and the Law Run Amok by Randy Cassingham. I was allotted 288 pages, but I couldn’t stop without telling the whole story: the final book is 352 pages.
Be Part of the Solution
I am constantly asked what ordinary people can do about frivolous lawsuits. My answer is in this book: it gives you everything you need to understand and intelligently discuss this urgent problem, and outlines common-sense reforms that need to be put into place. And best of all, the book is entertaining in the same way This is True has tackled serious issues for 25 years. You’ll laugh so hard tears will stream down your face — and you’ll be so angry you’ll cry out, demanding things change. (And that is what’s most needed: a critical mass of citizens who understand the problem well enough to demand change. This is your chance to be a part of the solution!)
- Astonishing: “Cassingham has selected an astonishing array of cases.” –Publishers Weekly
- Funny: “The facts of the cases are funny enough all by themselves.” –Booklist (American Library Assn)
- Read it: “How frivolous can lawsuits get? Just when you think you’ve heard it all, along comes a book that proves you haven’t. Buy a couple of copies to give away as holiday gifts.” –Business KnowHow
- Hilarious: “Randy Cassingham details sad and hilarious lawsuits.” –East Bay Express
- A Gem: “After reading this book, it’s not hard to imagine somebody suing Blockbuster for emotional damages incurred after the video store rented them The Notebook. It could happen.” –South Florida City Link Magazine
StellaAwards.com, In Pro Per
Again, you can no longer subscribe to the True Stella Awards. But you can use the form below to subscribe to my This is True weekly newsletter: