It was bound to happen eventually.
Three Metro Detroit men--Ronald C. Moon of Livonia, Jeffrey D. Schmitz of Royal Oak and Louis J. Toth of Northville headed to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, allegedly bringing relief supplies to help devastated residents,
Somehow, when they got to Lake Charles, Louisiana, they did something that brought them to the attention of law enforcement and they were arrested outside a casino by Calcasieu Parish sheriff's deputies. They were locked up and held for five days before posting bond, during which time they complain that they were "verbally abused" and life wasn't fun or pleasant.
They returned to Michigan and immediately sought out an ambulance-chasing lawyer in an attempt to get paid, apparently selecting Birmingham attorney Norman Yatooma due to the publicity surrounding his other high-profile money-grubbing lawsuits. (I guess Geoffrey Fieger wasn't available?) They claim that Yatooma hired a couple of public-relations firms to spin their story and get them media attention, but then did little else and they "only" got a settlement offer of $25,000 in addition to having the charges against them dropped. So now they are suing Yatooma.
Their complaint? They feel that if Yatooma had made more noise and filed more papers against more people, they might have gotten even more money, despite the fact that they can't seem to show how they are entitled to any payout whatsoever.
That's right...required for a tort claim is a showing of some actual harm. In othert words, these tools would have to show how they somehow lost they money that they're seeking, or the opportunity to make the money. The point behind a tort claim is to put plaintiffs in the same place where they would have been had the tort not occurred. I'm thinking that in this case, had these guys not been arrested--and had they really been bringing relief supplies (and not looting as the police said that they were), they'd likely have returned home with empty vehicles and nothing but more stories about the things that they saw. Frankly, I don't see how that's worth $2.50, much less $25,000. You're not supposed to get a bucket of cash just because something unpleasant but otherwise not harmful happens to you, and especially not when you are part of the cause of your own misfortune by inserting yourself into an already chaotic situation like these gomers did.
Now I'm torn here. I think that these three jerks definitely have nothing coming, and if they were now suing anyone other than their own parasitical slip-and-fall guy, I'd be even more outraged. You see, I don't want to see these guys make a dime, but I also want to see shysters like Yatooma take a hit in the pocketbook for their role in abusing our nation's legal system to the point where it costs us all more money in higher insurance rates, more regulation and restrictions, and massive delays when we try to bring legitimate cases into court. True Karmic justice would be where these three meet with Yatooma to agree on a final payout only to have a meteorite land on all four of them or a sinkhole to open up beneath their feet.
Yeah, in this case I'm rooting against both sides, because a defeat for all of these people would be a victory for America and real justice.