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Written by Rick Archer
First draft in July 2001
Most recent update in August 2007

Let's see if I understand how America works lately . . . 

If a woman burns her thighs on the hot coffee she was holding in her lap while driving, she blames the restaurant.

If your teen-age son kills himself, you blame the rock & roll music or musician he liked.

If you smoke three packs a day for 40 years and die of lung cancer, your family blames the tobacco company.

If your daughter gets pregnant by the football captain you blame the school for poor sex education.

If a man cuts his finger off while slicing salami at work, He blames the restaurant.

If your neighbor crashes into a tree while driving home drunk, He blames the bartender.

If your grandchildren are Brats without manners, You blame television.

If your friend is shot by a Deranged madman, You blame the gun manufacturer..

And if a crazed person breaks into the cockpit and tries to kill the pilot at 35,000 feet,
And the passengers Kill him instead, the mother of the crazed deceased Blames the airline.

I must have lived too long to Understand the world As it is anymore.

Have we lost our minds?  Has Common Sense died and left our country?


The McDonald's Parking Lot Tragedy

The infamous McDonald's Hot Coffee story

The Aluminum Bat Tragedy

Is Survival Company Liable for Death of a Client due to withholding water in the desert?

 The Detroit Shoplifter story

The 67 Million Dollar Lawsuit against a Dry Cleaner for losing a Judge's pants

The Greeley Colorado Burglar Story

 Sometimes there is more to a story than meets the eye.
For a completely different look at the infamous McDonald's Hot Coffee story. 
Correspondence Re McDonald's Story and Detroit Shoplifter Lawsuit

Obituary of Mr. Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  1. Knowing when to come in out of the rain
  2. Why the early bird gets the worm
  3. Life isn't always fair
  4. Maybe it was my fault after all

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

The health of Common Sense began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6 -year- old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Tylenol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers:

I Know My Rights
I Want it Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I am A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing


What is Wrong With Our Legal System??

First Written by Rick Archer in July 2001
Last update: August 2007

Is it just me or do other people agree that our legal system is completely nuts? 

Is there no common sense left? 

In my neighborhood there is a story floating around of a home owner being sued because some kid fell and hurt himself after falling from an eight-foot fence he was climbing. And what was the reason he was climbing the fence in the first place?  So he could use the neighbor's pool while they were out of town. And why was there an 8-foot fence?  It was built to keep people away from the pool. Does this law suit make any sense at all? 

Here is a true story (take my word for it; I am not kidding.)  I am aware of the tale of a sixteen year old girl who had an affair with her high school coach at a posh private school. The coach had thoroughly lied about all his background. Once the affair was discovered, the parents threatened to sue the school. The school in turn gave the child two years of free tuition to quell the law suit.  The parents were millionaires.

As a business owner, I am confronted with one danger after another that I am potentially responsible for. 

For example, after SSQQ student Clive Good tragically died of a heart attack in 2001 while dancing at the Longhorn Western bar, several people suggested I buy a heart defibrillator and train the entire staff in how to use it. It doesn't matter that in 24 years SSQQ has never had one person have a heart attack on our premises. Nor does it seem to matter that a defibrillator costs $4,000. Nor does it seem to matter that most of our Staff has little desire to treat heart attack victims - most of us can't even watch "ER" without fainting!

Instead we hear that SSQQ could be liable if some poor person suddenly has a heart attack on our premises!!  Good grief. 

Furthermore I am told that Oshmans Sporting Goods (or is it Academy?) is so worried about law suits that it has an ambulance at each location just in case someone is hurt while trying out the exercise equipment.  I assume this is a rumor, but you never know these days.  

Another student requested we install yet another light in our parking lot near the Door Warehouse because it is a little bit darker over there in that corner.  It doesn't seem to matter that another light would cost at least several thousand dollars.  Nor does it seem to matter that in 24 years SSQQ has never once had an "incident" in our parking lot that I am aware of.

It seems to me if I was concerned about the walk to the car, the easiest thing to do would be to ask a friend from class to walk me to the car. Or is it expecting too much of people to protect themselves?  Furthermore, if there was an incident, would the extra light guarantee we wouldn't be sued anyway?

My point is: At what point do people take personal responsibility for their own actions?  Why is it always someone else's fault? 

Let's play the Blame Game.  If someone attacks my student in the parking lot, it is now my responsibility.  Why does my business get blamed for not protecting our students outside of our own doors?

Or for that matter, a female teacher gets a phone call.  It is a man who says he was given her number by another dance student.  He needs a private dance lesson.  The only time he can meet is at 10 am.  So the teacher and the new dance student meet.  The studio is empty.  No one is in sight.  She suddenly realizes this guy is creepy, but it is too late.  Taking advantage of the situation, the man attacks her.

How would I feel?  Horrible.  Terrible.  Sick.  But would my business be responsible?  After all, I didn't know about the phone call.  I didn't know about the morning dance lesson.  What am I supposed to do to prevent this total failure of common sense?  As the owner, am I supposed to anticipate every possible thing that could go wrong and be prepared?  Do I need to be vigilant at all times? 

At what point did Common Sense die in America? 

Below you will read about three of the strangest law suits I can remember. All three concern tragic incidents, but it still makes no sense to me why the businesses involved in each case were held responsible.

However that's just my opinion. So what do you think?

After you read the stories below, I would like to hear YOUR opinion. Sound off!!  Tell the whole world what you think. Send your responses to  I promise to print the best ones whether I like them or not. Just send 'em in.

Thank you.
Rick Archer 

Paper: Houston Chronicle Date: WED 06/27/01 Section: A Page: 18 Edition: 3 STAR 

Family sues golf course over boy hit by lightning 

The family of a boy struck by lightning while playing golf filed a negligence lawsuit Tuesday against the golf course, alleging the accident would not have happened had the course had lightning detection equipment.

Windrose Golf Club in Spring opened about three years ago and should have had the equipment, especially since Houston is prone to severe lightning storms, said John Tavormina, the family's lawyer.

Christopher Brehm, then 15, of Harris County, suffered a severe, permanent brain injury when he was hit by lightning while playing golf Aug. 8, 2000, Tavormina said.

A detection system, he said, would have alerted golf club workers that a lightning storm was approaching and the course needed to be cleared.

Hud Hinton, president of Troon Golf, which manages Windrose, said, "We feel badly for Christopher and his family."

But a Windrose employee, Hinton said, suggested Brehm and his teen-age playing partner leave the course because of the weather. The two were at the 10th hole and decided to play on.

"He was warned that it was a dangerous situation," Hinton said. "And it was suggested to him that he should leave. We warn them and let the customer make his own decision."

Brehm, Hinton said, was hit as he swung at the 13th hole. One of the risks that golfers assume, Hinton said, is swinging a metal club that can attract lightning.

Troon Golf does not have lightning detection systems at any of its 70 courses worldwide and has no plans to install them, Hinton said.

The systems, he said, are "fallible" and may give golfers "a false sense of security."

Tavormina disputed much of Hinton's account. A young girl selling soda told Brehm that "it looked like it was going to rain. She didn't say anything about lightning ," Tavormina said.

Brehm was not swinging, but holding a golf club below his waist and carrying a golf bag when lightning hit the club, Tavormina said.

A number of Houston courses, he said, have installed lightning detection systems, which cost about $5,000, and there is no reason all local courses should not have them.

Brehm, Tavormina said, usually uses a wheelchair, though he has learned to take a few steps. He cannot speak and requires nearly round-the-clock care from his parents, William and Karen Brehm.

The case was assigned to state District Judge Lamar McCorkle's court.

Killer Whale Lawsuit Filed

ORLANDO , Fla. - The parents of a man found naked and dead on the back of a killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando are suing the marine park, alleging the dangerous orca was portrayed as a huggable stuffed toy, a lawyer for the family said Monday. 

Patricia and Michael Dukes of Columbia, S.C., filed suit Sept. 10 in Orange County Circuit Court seeking several million dollars for pain and suffering at the loss of their only son, Daniel, 27, a drifter who drowned in July in a whale tank at the Florida theme park. 

Attorney Patricia Sigman said SeaWorld is legally liable because it portrayed the killer whale as human loving. 

SeaWorld general manager Vic Abbey said the park would vigorously fight the lawsuit.

Killer Whale Lawsuit Dropped
Reprinted from the Houston Chronicle 

Tuesday, October 5, 1999 
Orlando, Florida

The parents of a man found naked and dead on the back of a killer whale at Sea World Orlando have dropped a lawsuit alleging Sea World caused their son's death by portraying the dangerous orca whale as safe and huggable. 

"They voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit," Sea World executive vice president and general manager Vic Abbey said. "This was a very tragic accident that occurred, but as we've said all along we felt the lawsuit had no merit."

Patricia and Michael Dukes of Columbia, South Carolina, had filed suit on September 10 seeking several million dollars for pain and suffering at the loss of their only son, Daniel, 27, a drifter who was found drowned to death in July in the whale tank. Heavy intoxication apparently contributed to this untimely event. 

Rick Archer
's Note:  This story alone convinces me our legal system has got to be changed.

This loser gets drunk, he breaks into Sea World at night, jumps into the whale tank, and drowns trying to kiss a killer whale.

Then the loser's parents turn around and sue Sea World for millions of dollars, claiming the whale was "friendly and huggable".  Didn't these idiots ever see the movie Orca, the Killer Whale?  Who do they think Orca is, Barney's best friend??  And what about the bottom-feeding idiot lawyer who agreed to represent them? 

Okay, so anyone has the right to sue.  I don't have a problem with that as long as there is a potential negative consequence.  Who is going to compensate the people at Sea World for the time, aggravation and expense necessary to fight such a ridiculous lawsuit?  This is what is wrong with our legal system There has to be a penalty for filing a law suit that loses.

Even though I am sure from the beginning this lawsuit had no chance in hell of winning, that doesn't mean that someone should have the right to aggravate the living daylights out of the Sea World people.  It wasn't their fault to begin with.  I have little there were fences and other obstacles to deter people from entering their premises after hours.  Furthermore, the Sea World personnel suffered.  After all, it surely could not have been fun to find what amounts to a suicide victim floating around in their waters. And I doubt the negative publicity was appreciated either. 

I wish there was some sort of penalty for filing a ridiculous lawsuit like this.  I think Sea World should sue these idiot parents for any damages to their park caused by raising a child without a brain. 

Oh, by the way, what do you think of Daniel's picture?  He makes Charles Manson look loveable and huggable.  Don't you agree Orca the loveable Killer Whale should be allowed to file a sexual harassment suit while we're at it??


-----Original Message-----
From: Susan
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 1:46 PM
Subject: Daniel Dukes - Sea World story

Dear Sir,

I am writing today in response to the Daniel Duke's family sues Sea World story.  I am a former high school friend of Danny - I lost touch after high school and recently heard about this.  While I agree with you that this lawsuit is frivolous, and that what he did was genuinely stupid - I want the public to know that at one time in his life Danny was a clean-cut, happy-go-lucky kid who had a great sense of humor and was a good student and friend. 

Obviously after high school his life took a turn for the worse, which makes me sad.  I see that horrible picture of him - it is the same Daniel, but obviously a much rougher man. 

When you call him a "loser" it compelled me to write to you to let you know that at one time in his life he was a contributing member of society - I haven't put all the puzzle pieces together yet, but I am sure something horrible must have happened to him in life to make him take such a sad path (most likely he got mixed up with drugs).

If I can find a picture of him from high school I will e-mail it to show you the contrast of who he had become, but for now, just know that as much of a loser he may have turned out to be - this one incident does not and should not define his life.  Danny went to Westwood High School in Austin, TX - I am sure there is a picture of him in the yearbook - I think he was class of '89 or '90.  Such a shame and a waste of a life that started out with so much potential.

You may publish the content of this e-mail, but do not publish my e-mail address or my last name.

Regards, Susan


Editor's Note: All I can say is that Susan's letter is strong testimony to the dangers of drug use.  Obviously a good person can be transformed into a mere shell of their former self.

Let me add that Susan's kind words of support to the memory of Daniel Dukes still doesn't excuse those pathetic parents who had the nerve to sue Sea World.  Their actions absolutely disgust me. Have they no sense of shame?


Gypsies can sue IBM over Holocaust

June 22, 2004, 11:21PM
Associated Press

GENEVA -- A Swiss court has cleared the way for Gypsies to sue IBM over published allegations that the computer company's punch-card machines helped the Nazis commit mass murder more efficiently, the plaintiffs' lawyer said Tuesday.

The Geneva appeals court disagreed with a lower court that refused to hear the case last year on grounds it lacked jurisdiction, said the Gypsies' lawyer, Henri-Philippe Sambuc.

A Gypsy group filed the lawsuit in Geneva because IBM's wartime European headquarters was in the city. It claims the office was IBM's hub for trade with the Nazis.

"IBM's complicity through material or intellectual assistance to the criminal acts of the Nazis during World War II via its Geneva office cannot be ruled out," said the appeals court ruling. It cited "a significant body of evidence indicating that the Geneva office could have been aware that it was assisting these acts."

In its June 2003 ruling, the lower court said IBM only had an "antenna" in the Swiss city. City archives, however, show that in 1936 IBM opened an office under the name "International Business Machines Corporation New York, European Headquarters."

No immediate reaction to the ruling was available from IBM's Geneva lawyers, who have previously referred requests for comment to the company's headquarters in Armonk, N.Y. Company officials there did not immediately return calls.

IBM has consistently denied it was in any way responsible for the way its machines were used in the Holocaust.

The company has said its German subsidiary, Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen GmbH -- or Dehomag -- was taken over by the Nazis before World War II, and it had no control over operations there or how Nazis used IBM machines.

Sambuc maintains that the company's Geneva office continued to coordinate Europe-wide trade with the Nazis, acting on clear instructions from world headquarters in New York.

The group represented by Sambuc -- Gypsy International Recognition and Compensation Action -- sued IBM for "moral reparation" and $20,000 each in damages on behalf of four Gypsies from Germany and France and one Polish-born Swedish Gypsy. All five plaintiffs were orphaned in the Holocaust.

(Rick's Note I: I do not for a moment hesitate to extend sympathy for the Gypsies who suffered at the evil hands of the Nazis as well as the Jews and all the other victims of this horrible regime.  However if I recall correctly, wasn't it the Nazis who were guilty of the crime?   Why sue the makers of an inanimate object that is not even remotely capable of directly injuring a human being?)

(Rick's Note II: This just in!!  All the descendents of Abel are now eligible for punitive damages regarding his dastardly Biblical murder at the hands of his evil brother Cain.  Call your government to collect.)

May 7, 2007, 6:07PM
Misdiagnosed man seeks compensation
2007 The Associated Press

LONDON A man who said he spent his life savings after being told he had months to live is seeking compensation after doctors conceded they had got the diagnosis wrong.

John Brandrick, 62, was told two years ago that he had terminal pancreatic cancer, Britain's Press Association news agency reported. He decided to spend his remaining time in style, quitting his job and spending his savings on hotels, restaurants and holidays.

A year later, doctors at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in southwest England revised their diagnosis: Brandrick was suffering from pancreatitis, a non-fatal ailment.

"My life has been turned upside down by this," Brandrick said. "I was told I had limited time to live. I got rid of everything my car, my clothes, everything."

Brandrick said he did not want to take the hospital to court, "but if they have made the wrong decision they should pay me something back."

The hospital said there was "no clear evidence of negligence" on its part.

"Whilst we do sympathize with Mr. Brandrick's position, clinical review of his case has not revealed that any different diagnosis would have been made at the time based on the same evidence," the hospital said in a statement.

(Rick's Note: Actually this story stops me in my tracks.  I am well aware how hard it is to diagnose illness.  The symptoms of any illness can just as easily point at 10 to 20 other diseases with similar symptoms.

On the other hand, through no fault of his own, the man is suddenly penniless.)


1. The infamous McDonald's Hot Coffee story

Sometimes there is more to a story than meets the eye.
For a completely different look at the infamous McDonald's Hot Coffee story...

Correspondence Regarding the McDonald's Story and Detroit Shoplifter Lawsuit

2. The Detroit Shoplifter story

3. Is Survival Company Liable for Death of a Client due to withholding water in the desert?

4. The Greeley Colorado Burglar Story

5. The 67 Million Dollar Lawsuit against a Dry Cleaner for losing a Judge's pants

6. Southwest Airlines Sued over Nursery Rhyme Insult

7. The Aluminum Bat Tragedy

McDonald's Parking Lot Tragedy

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