No, I said it was a frivolous lawsuit. Law ... suit.

While continuing to chortle in my joy and avoiding finishing my Hobbit Franchise guide to picking attorneys, I requested that anyone with a vaguely law-related question write in. And two people were, apparently, bored enough to do so. So, here goes!

umataro42 wrote the following-

“General question about the court system, if you get a jury duty summons but pretend you didn’t and don’t show up, what is the likelihood they’ll send someone after you?

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For tacos, do you prefer crunchy or soft shell? And what is your opinion of those Korean BBQ tacos that have become popular in SoCal (and maybe other areas)?”

Tacos, like women and children, always go first. On the issue of crunchy or soft shell, there are many, different, wrong opinions, and then there is the one correct opinion held by all right-thinking people that are productive members of society. Sure, the dude can abide his mother’s stale Old El Paso cardboard-like substance when necessary at family gatherings, so long as it is washed down with copious amounts of intoxicating beverages and/or cocaine. And you can always try the new EXTREME MOUNTAIN DEW DUSTED QUADRUPLE DORITOS QUESA-TACO!!!!11!!! at your local fine dining establishment, with the full knowledge that proctologists charge more than attorneys (but are otherwise very similar in the experience). But the answer is simple- soft, corn tortillas. If your answer is different, then you will be the first against the wall when the fourth meal revolution comes.

As for the second question- well, it depends on how you define the essence of “taco-ness.” If you are one of those people that uses the word “fusion” when it comes to food, then your head is likely fused to your rectum as a human self-centipede. But flavor is flavor. To the extent that “taco” is viewed as a soft corn tortilla around various yummy ingredients (al pastor, tongue, carne asada, etc.), then variation can be delightful - as your spouse keeps trying to tell you. And Korean food is absolutely delicious- partly because it is so awesomazing, and partly because it really entered into American consciousness after we began demanding authenticity (or, at least, fauxthenticity), which usually should mean that the flavors aren’t too watered down.

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Now, jury duty. Here’s where I am supposed to tell you yada yada yada civic duty yada yada yada how would you feel if you needed a jury and no one showed up yada yada yada ... and that’s all true. Jury duty is rarely that onerous (although there are exceptions), it’s your civic duty, you might learn a little, and you really should do it. But that’s not the question, innit?

Since you asked an attorney, the answer is- it depends. Different jurisdictions have different rules. The rule is always - “it’s bad.” But some jurisdictions are “very bad” and some are “whatevs,” and some jurisdictions enforce the rule, and some are “whatevs.” So, depending on the nature of the notice (federal/state, locality), you could either get anything from a bench warrant / contempt of court / jail time (VERY RARE!) to a fine ($100 - $2000) (rare) to nothing at all (most common). Do note that as more people just ignore these notices, some jurisdictions have become more aggressive in ... ahem ... encouraging people to show up.

I am not addressing what happens if you are selected for a jury and chose not to show up. The Court cares about that, and the Court can count.

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Mr. k2b Soon to Be Turning to the Dark Side wrote-

“Can the Cosby kids sue the shit out of Bill for lost wages from residuals?”

I am going to put on my pedant shoes for a second. You know that guy, the one that, when you say, “Can you pass the salt,” replies, “Yes, I can pass the salt,” and does nothing? Yeah, that guy.

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Sure, the Cosby kids can sue. But unless there are facts not in evidence, this would be a losing suit. Very briefly, in addition to the other, many, reasons that this lawsuit would fail, the Cosby kids would not have a right to the residuals. They are going to Dr. Cliff. Just like they shouldn’t sue Bill if he spent all of the residual money on hookers and blow, instead of roofies and settlements.

But they could. And this is a key distinction in the world of law. Anyone, any time, can bring a crazy lawsuit for any reason. If you don’t believe me, look up Ward v. Arm & Hammer, where a pro se prisoner sued the Baking Soda company for failing to warn him that mixing baking soda with cocaine could expose him to a longer prison sentence.

And this is where we get to the question of frivolous law suits. America follows the so-called “American Rule,” which roughly translated, means “America, EFF YA, Whatcha gonna do when each side pays their own attorneys’ fees YEAH!” The short version of that is that it can cost a lot to defend even a completely bogus lawsuit, which is why you sometimes hear the phrase “nuisance settlement” - as in, it will cost more to defend the case than to just pay someone a few thousand to go away.

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And the reason for this is that while the courts can, at times, get rid of frivolous lawsuits, and can even award attorneys’ fees and sanction Plaintiffs for frivolous lawsuits, this almost never happens. Because the law changes. There’s an inherent tension in saying that something is “frivolous,” knowing that, just maybe, it might be because the Plaintiff is just on the bleeding edge of the law. The Court wouldn’t want to be the one that, back in the day, sanctioned the NAACP for fighting for the rights of African Americans, even though the (then-current) law was against them, right?

So that’s why it might take a while for the Court to get rid of Gustav’s claim against you for giving him maple syrup on his pancakes, thereby denying his magical urine of his power.