Litigation As Therapy

     I’ve come up with another way for cash-strapped courts to raise money: therapy.
     Not therapy for judges. Therapy for litigants or would-be litigants.
     After all, most lawsuits are therapeutic anyway. People get mad and they need an outlet for their anger.
     How else do you explain all those cases that drag on for years and years and pile up the costs without any hope of success?
     So why not open judicial doors to anyone who needs some emotional release.
     All courts have to do is raise rates for filing and waive any requirement for a legal basis for a lawsuit.
     You’d be able to sue someone – or the government, for that matter – without involving the defendant.
     You get to go before a judge and vent. And if you actually do have some evidence or real legal basis for what you’re complaining about, you could get permission to file a real lawsuit.
     Yes, I have an example of a litigant who could have used this: Joe the Plumber.
     Check out a ruling from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit called Wurzelbacher v. Jones-Kelley, in which we learn that “Wurzelbacher did not suffer a threat to his economic livelihood, was not defamed, did not endure a search or seizure of property, and did not experience the public disclosure of intimate or embarrassing information. In addition, Wurzelbacher was not threatened with a continuing governmental investigation, and he does not allege that defendants’ actions in fact caused a ‘chill’ of his First Amendment rights.”
     So why was he suing?
     The obvious reason is therapy. This is clearly a guy who needs to vent. In case you’ve forgotten who Joe the Plumber is, he’s the guy who happened to ask candidate Barak Obama some questions and then suddenly became an expert on politics because he had no problem venting in public.
     Venting in court apparently was another outlet for him
     And I say that if someone wants to spend lots of money venting in court to feel better, they ought to be able to do it.
     Just remove the defendants and opposing lawyers from the equation and give the extra money to the courts so it can be used on real litigation.
     This is not to say that some paranoia is not justified. If you can justify it in Therapy Court, you should be able to continue on to real court.
     Take a look at another ruling issued just last week from the U. S Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit called Geinosky v. City of Chicago in which a fellow claimed he was being harassed by Chicago police even though there seemed to be no reason for it.
     “Geinosky does not know for certain why he was targeted,” the ruling said. “He suspects a connection between his estranged wife and officers of Unit 253, but his case would be just as strong if the officers picked him to harass for no reason at all.”
     Maybe they were bored.
     The harassment, in case you’re wondering, consisted of giving the guy 24 parking tickets – some of them for parking his car in two different places at the same time and some of them for parking it after he no longer owned the car.
     Personally, I think parking a car in two places at once should be illegal — it’s a violation of the laws of physics and time travel – but the court seemed to think this was an equal protection violation.
     Was the court being naïve?
     Here’s my favorite part of the ruling: “We do not credit the city’s assertion that allowing this suit will open the floodgates to a wave of ordinary malicious prosecution (or other tort) cases brought as constitutional class-of-one claims.”
     So the City of Chicago thinks there’s a flood of prank parking ticket cases out there?
     And if there are, then equal protection isn’t the problem.
     Someone may need some therapy.

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