x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Artichoke agony

A doctor from Miami is suing a restaurant because he ate a whole artichoke ¿ tough, pointy leaves and all. Nobody told him not to.

In the ongoing saga of people making lawyers ever richer, a landmark case occurred in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where a 79-year-old woman driver spilled McDonald's coffee on her lap. She sued the company because the coffee was ... hot. In 1994, a jury awarded her $2.86 million. This case became the template for frivolous litigation.

Since then, lawyers have galloped in to find more frivolous complaints. Some of the dimmer clients are lawyers themselves. A Washington DC lawyer sued a dry cleaning shop for losing his trousers. He demanded $67 million.

Now, as we report today, another landmark case has arisen for the triumph of stupidity.

A doctor from Miami is suing a restaurant because he ate a whole artichoke - tough, pointy leaves and all. Nobody told him not to. He became so ill that he had to be hospitalised.

What's next? How can restaurants protect themselves? Bananas stamped with a sign suggesting that you remove the skin? Lobsters branded with a warning not to chew the claws?

If Americans want to truly examine their tussle with China, they might look to their leaders in Washington - almost all of them are lawyers. The Chinese are led by engineers. One group of people makes things. The other group takes them away. For some, that's a tough artichoke to swallow.