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Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Bounty hunting

November 15, 2021

There's money to be made getting around constitutional rights. The legal economy may be getting a huge boost.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

Wouldn’t if be great if you could sue people who refuse to get vaccinated?

OK, not great if you’re against vaccinations. I know there’s some disagreement here, but play along with me.

In theory, you could sue now, claiming that the unjabbed are endangering others, stressing us out, and a nuisance. School board members alone should be eligible for infliction of emotional distress complaints. I haven’t seen suits like that yet, but you can imagine them.

Think of all the lawsuits you’d see if a state legislature offered a reward for suing anti-vaxxers.

This occurred to me, of course, after reading about at least one gun rights group challenging the Texas law making private citizens anti-abortion bounty hunters. The gun people — and apparently some Supreme Court justices — are afraid that if you can do that to abortion, you could do that elsewhere to guns.

This opens up many possibilities for bounty hunter litigation. Wouldn’t you love to sue social media trolls and habitual liars hiding behind the First Amendment?

Or how about business owners who discriminate and then claim their religion justifies it?

Or how about police who qualify their immunity?

Of course, this might not work the way we think. Has it occurred to anyone that the Texas law applies the least to poor people? Why would you sue someone for $10,000 if that person doesn’t have $10,000? All you have to do is declare bankruptcy and then get the treatment you need.

Doctors might consider bankruptcy too. Or maybe offset the abortion suits with gun suits in other states.

It’s a money-management solution.

This could do wonders for the legal economy.

This bet is both a winner and a loser. Schrodinger's wager?

Winning and losing. It is now possible to win a bet and lose it at the same time.

The two or three of you who are horse racing fans know what I’m talking about. In the very last race on the first day of the Breeder’s Cup races a little more than a week ago, a horse was scratched by mistake and then unscratched and allowed to run.

But since the scratch (that is, the withdrawal from the race) was announced to the betting crowd, track officials decided that all bets were off on that horse — even though he was only scratched for about four minutes.

This might not have been so bad except for the fact that the unscratched horse had been the favorite and ended up winning the race.

So what?

Well, if you bet that horse on multi-race tickets, you lost your bet even though you were right.

If, say, that was a Pick Six ticket — meaning you picked the winners of six consecutive races — that could mean you not only lost your bet but also that you missed out on a big payoff.

No, this didn’t happen to me — I bet on the wrong horses all weekend. But you just know there are people at least considering suing over this.

Lost bet suits don’t usually get very far, so you’re going to have to be creative. I suggest suing for infliction of emotional distress. It’s stressful enough to lose the old-fashioned way but losing with a winning ticket has got to cause psychological damage.

Big bettors are already insane enough.

Categories / Op-Ed

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