Don’t Sue Me

At times I am shocked by the behavior of my fellow human beings. Especially when there’s money to be had. They scratch, bite, claw, and sue to get their hands on some cash. Here are a few actual lawsuits, filed by actual people.

Pearson v. Chung. Better known as the “pants lawsuit,” was a civil case filed by someone who should have know better. Roy Pearson was a law judge in Washington DC who dropped off his trousers at a drycleaner. When he returned to pick them up, the pants had gone missing. So Pearson did the reasonable thing. He sued the drycleaner for 54 million dollars for the inconvenience and mental anguish caused by the misplacing of his pants. Pearson lost the case but only after four years of trying every legal avenue. I wish I was making this up. But a guy really did sue his date for texting during a movie. A lady really did sue Fedex after tripping over a package they placed on her doorstep. We are a litigious generation.

Recently a study was conducted on a group of doctors. Half the doctors had never been sued. The other half had been sued at least twice. Researchers listened in on conversations between the doctors and their patients, and their findings were most surprising. The doctors who had never been sued spent an average of three minutes longer with each patient than the ones who had been sued. They were more likely to listen, to say things like, “Go on, tell me more about that.” They were more likely to laugh and be funny. Their voices conveyed more warmth and less dominance. There was no difference in the quality of information they offered the patients. The difference was entirely in how they talked to those patients. In other words, it wasn’t the bad doctors who got sued. It was the unfriendly ones.

I’m not saying, “Be nice to people; you’ll avoid getting sued.” Perhaps it’s true. But there’s a deeper lesson here. When we treat people with honor, respect and affection, we glorify God, build bridges, forge friendships, and bring life. Proverbs 15:1 is so true, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Why not call a friend today and go out for coffee? Let your words be seasoned with kindness and gratitude. Because you never know what lurks at the coffee shop. One woman sued Starbucks because they put too much ice in her iced coffee. I kid you not.

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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