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Welcome to all the new visitors who viewed today’s Forbes.com article!

The article features our annual Wacky Warning Label Contest and the American lawsuit crisis that makes these labels necessary. I hope you enjoy some of the stories below about wacky labels and loony lawsuits.

But after the laughing stops, people get mad! What are we going to do about this?!

There’s a terrific, practical program developed by the Center for America to help you avoid lawsuits in the first place. We’ve talked about the problem over many years – now, CFA has developed an easy, and, might I say, entertaining, way to help you deal most effectively with decisions you have to make that may expose you to legal liability.

Many of us – most small businesses and nonprofit community organizations included – are only one lawsuit away from bankruptcy.

Take a few moments and sink your teeth into the free Legal Liability Toolkit Tutorials available online now.

If you own a business, manage people, or work in one of the many professions where the threat of being sued constantly lurks in the background (who doesn’t?!), you’ll want to check out these tutorials.

Topics covered by the toolkits include: Recruiting and Hiring, Employee Performance Terminations, Employee Layoffs, Contract Negotiations and Drafting, and Clear and Effective Writing.

Scooters Move: Why Do Americans Need To Be Warned?

A German TV interviewer asked me this question.

frogonscooterA film crew from ARD German TV came to my office a couple of weeks ago to film a story about Wacky Warning Labels and lawsuits in America.

ARD German TV is equivalent to PBS in the United States, and it is the latest in a string of overseas television networks to take an interest in the Wacky Warning Label Contest sponsored by the Foundation for Fair Civil Justice.   Television crews from Korea, France and Japan have also traveled here to film stories about why Americans need labels that warn us of obvious risks.

Reporters from countries look at us lawsuit-happy Americans with a mixture of disbelief and sympathy.  When I show them a label on a popular scooter that warns, “This product moves when used,” they laugh, of course, and then ask why it’s there.  They simply don’t see these kinds of labels on products in their countries.

After I give them a list of lawsuits against product makers that involved someone getting injured while using a product that WASN’T defective, they begin to understand.  However, since all of these reporters come from countries that have Loser Pays legal systems – meaning people there who sue and lose have to pay the legal costs of the party they sued – they are not accustomed to a legal system tolerating these types of lawsuits.

I’ve learned a lot during these interviews with reporters from other countries.  Mainly, I’ve discovered how out of whack America’s civil justice system is with other developed countries with which we are competing for economic development.  I wish every member of Congress and every state legislator could sit in on these interviews.

When I ask the reporters if the scarcity of lawsuits in their countries has left them with an abundance of injuries from unsafe products, they simply say “No.”  These are investigative reporters who would know.

So, if we’re not any safer because of all these lawsuits, and if we’re paying more for the consumer products we buy because of the built-in “lawsuit tax” that Americans pay, why do we tolerate this situation?  There’s no easy answer to that question.  However, in my opinion, the tremendous influence of the plaintiffs’ lawyers who have been throwing money at lawmakers and judges with the hope of getting (and/or keeping) laws that make it easier for them to sue is a primary driver of this situation.  More on that later.

I’ll post the video of the segment that runs on ARD German TV as soon as it’s available.

Baby Strollers and Legal Reform

Coffee-CupCan a baby stroller that warns parents to “remove child before folding” help save America from drowning in a sea of frivolous lawsuits?

That’s what I wondered in 1997 when I created the Wacky Warning Label Contest and used that stroller warning to help raise public awareness about the litigation problem in America. It’s also what I’m wondering now as I start my first blog.

A blog about lawsuits that people without a law degree will enjoy reading…

The law is a confusing and often intimidating topic. I probably know that as well as anyone in America. Even though I’m not a lawyer, I have spent more than 20 years working with lawyers, debating lawyers on television and radio, and even evaluating the performance of lawyers who have become judges.

I’ve made it my life’s work to peel back the curtain shrouding the legal community in secrecy and mystery. Why? Because the more that non-lawyers know about America’s “whacked out” civil justice system, the more pressure will build on policymakers to put personal responsibility and common sense back to work.

So that’s why I talk about baby strollers.

Virtually everybody has used a stroller at some point in his or her life. If you haven’t pushed one, you were probably pushed IN one. And if you’ve ever seen the folding variety, you know that a child who has been placed in that stroller needs to be removed before the stroller is folded and put away. It’s common sense.

So why does a manufacturer of baby strollers sold in America feel it needs to warn its customers to remove their child before folding the stroller? It isn’t just because people sometimes fail to use common sense. It’s because more and more people who fail to use common sense and then cause an injury are deciding to call a lawyer so they can sue someone.

This is a problem you don’t need to be a lawyer to understand.

And it’s probably why virtually every television network in America, and many of the major networks around the world, have reported on the Wacky Warning Label Contest and used these labels to tell the story of our broken civil justice system.

It’s also why publications as diverse as the Wall Street Journal and the National Enquirer have reported on the Wacky Warning Label Contest and commented on what these labels say about our society.

So I will use this blog to continue telling a wide variety of stories that expose how the litigation explosion in our courts has changed life in American, piled costs on consumers and made a mockery of personal responsibility.

This blog will also offer my perspective on lawsuits and litigation-related issues that affect families, charities, communities, job providers and everyone who lives in this great jury pool known as the United States of America.

Hopefully, we’ll make some progress and there will come a day when we won’t need labels like the one we found on a four-inch long fishing lure that warns: “Harmful if swallowed!”

Thanks for checking in here today. I’ll try to make it worth your while to check back again.