Did You Hear the One About...

When I grew up in Houston, we told Aggie jokes, like others might tell blond jokes or fill-in-disfavored-ethnic-group jokes.  Anyway, way back in the 70's a joke went around something like this:

Did you hear about the Aggie who was caught in the New York blackout?  He was stranded on an escalator for three hours.

I remember this only after seeing this story via overlawyered:

Kim Kreis, et al. v. American Multi-Cinema Inc.; AMC Entertainment Inc., No. CGC-10-501102 (San Francisco Super. Ct. filed June 25, 2010).

Trip and fall lawsuit. The plaintiffs injured themselves on a stationary escalator at the defendants' movie theatre, as there was no sign posted warning them that it was not moving.

Is there any unwelcome outcome nowadays, however trivial, that can't spawn a lawsuit?


  1. perlhaqr:

    Wow. I guess the potential for enough money can salve the ego hurt of demonstrating to the world that one is a complete fucking moron.

  2. Evil Red Scandi:

    I'm much more optimistic than our good friend Coyote here - I think we're almost to a stable equilibrium of tort stupidity whereby the customer is able to sue the theater owner for tripping on the nonfunctional escalator, and the theater owner will be able to countersue for the customer hurting their feelings. Obama will have socialized legal services by this time, so no money will actually change hands.

  3. Mary:

    I'm going to go around posting signs near stairs that say: "Caution: This Escalator Is Stationary"

  4. SB7:

    I think the defendant's attorney needs to work Mitch Hedberg's escalator joke into his arguments at some point:

    An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.

  5. dullgeek:

    I would expect that in any sufficiently large group of people you'd see a fairly large number of them saying silly things. I would also expect in any sufficiently large group of people, a fairly large number of them filing silly lawsuits.

    The issue with this type of lawsuit isn't that people file them. IMHO the issue is when

    a) they are not quickly dismissed as being frivolous, or worse
    b) rewarded by winning

    I would think one way to diminish these types of things would be to have the rule that the loser pays the court costs of the winner. But barring that, we have to rely on judges to dismiss frivolous lawsuits and juries not to allow them to win.

    I'm much more alarmed when those two filters fail than I am that a suit is filed.

  6. ZZMike:

    Reninds me of the YouTube spot, in which two Democrats are on an escalator, when it stops, and they stand there, trying to figure out what to do.

    Yep, it's still there:


  7. Rapid:

    In Texas, Indians are initially confused by Aggie jokes, then they realize that their caste or group jokes translate quite well and they are off and running making fun of Aggies. Of course the final retort is, What do you call an Aggie after 5 years? "Boss"

  8. Jim Collins:

    You have to wonder if this isn't a Judge Welfare Program. If you started throwing out all of the frivolous lawsuits, you wouldn't need as many Judges.