From the land of blue-sky lawsuits, the Pioneer Press reports on one of the sillier examples to grace our court system:

Joanne Borgerding was sitting in a packed Eagan McDonald’s at lunchtime, eating a chicken sandwich and reading a book when something moved beneath her booth. Dancing in the air by her legs were “little movable eyes” that were attached to a dark, 2-foot-long snake.
“I looked face to face at it,” Borgerding said. “I know people in the drive-up heard me — I screamed that loud.”
Borgerding also flew out of her booth and in the process injured her foot so badly that she says she has permanent nerve damage. She asked McDonald’s insurance company to pay her medical bills, but the company denied her claims, she said. Now she is seeking in excess of $50,000 in a personal injury complaint that she expects to file in Dakota County next month.

A garter snake somehow got into the restaurant and got under Borgdering’s booth at McDonalds — no doubt, a startling and upsetting experience. But she stumbles while getting out of the booth and claims permanent injury, and blames it on the restaurant? How is that the fault of McDonalds? Do they have a snake-friendly door? Not likely here in the Upper Midwest; most if not all business use a double-stage entry to save on heating costs.

Borgerding said she pushed off on her right foot to get away. She didn’t fall, but twisted her body trying to escape. She said her whole body ached for a couple of days, and she had shooting pain in her foot. … Borgerding said no McDonald’s employees came to her aid that day, and messages she left for the owner were not returned.
“We didn’t do anything right away because we didn’t know what to do,” former McDonald’s employee Neil Urbanski said on Monday. “Because we didn’t know what type (of snake) it was, we didn’t want to touch it. … The lady got mad at us because we weren’t helping her. … No, she wasn’t hurt at all.”

Oh, so she’s mad because McDonald’s doesn’t train all of their employees in snake control, despite the obvious need to do so. That makes more sense. From now on, every McDonalds will have a McSnake McCharmer. And since the booth tripped her up, they’ll get rid of all booths from now on; everyone can stand up while they’re eating instead. That should make her happy!
Borgdering simply sees an opportunity to play legal Lotto and is taking it as far as she can. Why should we care? For one reason, lawsuits like these drive up costs both at McDonalds and for insurance overall, even when they get thrown out of court (and they’re more likely to be settled). Silly lawsuits like these caused McDonalds to turn down the heat on their coffee, which now gets served slightly warmer than tepid these days because some idiot didn’t know better than to stick a cup of hot coffee in her crotch while driving. They also waste court time that could be used to expedite lawsuits with merit and criminal cases that take forever to work their way through to conclusion, costing us plenty of money for the high-priced talent that occupies. Finally, these lawsuits deter people from operating businesses, resulting in lower capital investment into the economy and fewer jobs.

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