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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Preemptive Strikes

I know I must be missing something, but I can't see the point in preemptive litigation

Those are the lawsuits that get filed all the time by people saying someone has threatened to sue them so they want a declaration that nothing is their fault.

It's a lot like throwing a punch to avoid getting into a fight.

If you think you're in the right and you don't want to get sued, why make certain that you end up in court?

A classic example of this appeared last week in a complaint filed on behalf of actors Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith. They asked for a declaration that they hadn't made any false representations or breached any duties to a guy who invested in one of their movies, didn't make money, and was threatening to sue.

So they sued.

The kicker comes in the very last paragraph just before the prayer:

"Plaintiffs note that the operating agreement provides that any dispute arising out of the operating agreement is to be resolved by binding arbitration.... and plaintiffs reserve the right to petition the court to refer this cause of action and any causes of action asserted by the Tycoon defendants to binding arbitration."

Let that sink in for a moment.

They've gone to court to avoid being sued over a dispute that they don't want to be sued over and which may well not have gone to a court anyway.

I could be cynical and say that a preemptive suit guarantees that lawyers will get paid for litigation, but you know that I'm not like that. I prefer to look for positive, humanitarian motives.

P.R. move?

Well, we wouldn't know about the disgruntled investor if the actors' lawyer hadn't told us in his suit. So that can't be it.

Settlement strategy?

You kind of lose the value of a threatened suit if you've already sued.

I've got it!

The movie didn't make a profit and most of us have never heard of it. It's called Human Contract. Have you heard of it?

Well, now you have.

It's brilliant!

HOW TO ENJOY A SPORT. I know I like a lot of odd things, so I can't look down on anyone for liking golf.

But I have a good reason for not being able to relate to golf.

I tried it once.

Actually, all I did was attempt to hit a golf ball with a golf club once during high school.

I couldn't hit the ball.

With baseball at least I had an excuse - those balls were moving awfully fast and looked like they could do a lot of damage.

The golf ball was just sitting there, taunting me.

I immediately gave up on the sport and have been completely unable to understand why anyone else would like it.

Until now.

A cameraman for The Golf Channel has filed a suit in Cleveland claiming he was harassed and eventually fired for complaining that his co-workers were smoking pot while covering golf.

Watching golf while on drugs!

OK, that makes more sense.

And now we know why they have to be so quiet. You don't want to freak anyone out on the golf course.

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