(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Friday, September 13, 2002

Once again, Overlawyered is under-careful. The site -- which I talked about once before, and which portrays itself as reporting on the horrible excesses of plaintiffs' lawyers -- reports today that a court in Scotland has awarded 3500 Pounds in damages against an epileptic man because the sight of him having a seizure was distressing to the plaintiff. This calls to mind the good rule of thumb: that if it sounds too stupid to be true, it probably isn't true.

Here's the great thing about the web. I clicked on the newspaper article to which Overlawyered linked. From there I clicked on the prominently-displayed site of "Epilepsy Action Scotland". On that organization's home page is a link to a page about the case -- and there I found, within about 5 seconds of having begun to check out whether the story was too stupid to be true, THAT IT'S NOT TRUE! The organization explains that the shocking press reports got it wrong.

So why didn't Overlawyered, in a post dated today, take the less-than-a-minute it took to see whether the story was true? And will they correct the post once I send them a friendly email?

UPDATE: Overlawyered stands by its headline -- "Epileptic ordered to pay £3,500 for contorted face" -- even though the information I sent (of which overlawyered does not dispute the accuracy) could hardly be any more clear that this is simply not true. Overlawyered thinks he's right; I think he's wrong, and that this is the sort of disinformation that the "tort reform" and more generaly anti-lawyer movements rely on because the facts are not on their side.

posted by sam 3:34 PM 0 comments


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