I was never ruined but twice—once when I lost a law suit, once when I won one. —Voltaire
No one wants to be sued, and for good reason. Not only are lawsuits notoriously risky, time-consuming, and enormously stressful to the litigants, they can also be incredibly expensive, even for the one who is ultimately “successful”—as Voltaire unhappily discovered.
Author and lawyer J. Craig Williams takes a fanciful look at our litigious society under the counterintuitive premise of constructing a primer on the best methods to get sued. Indeed, according to Williams, there are ten sure-fire ways to find oneself hailed into court, from owning a home to falling in love, and he offers illustrative summaries of civil and criminal cases from around the country. Most of these he casts in a funny light, though no doubt the litigants didn’t think their situations were all that amusing.
For example, imagine the poor plight of the school teacher and Girl Scout leader who paid a $50 fine when her scouts forgot to put away some marshmallows at a national park; a year later, on her return from a vacation in Mexico, she was arrested and jailed by customs agents who didn’t realize she had paid the fine and figured this “marshmallow miscreant” was some sort of threat to homeland security. Or wonder at the audacity of the jail inmates who used a Bible to prop open an unlocked door to the jail house—not to escape, but to make a beer run.
The author is not only a practicing lawyer, he is also a skillful writer who teaches creative writing and hosts the popular Weblog, May It Please The Court, which receives over 15,000 hits daily. He has a whimsical style which is perfect for the light tone of this book. For instance, when talking about a California city’s weird ordinance protecting butterflies, he aptly summarizes the lengthy law as follows: “Think about it. You have to ask the chief of police to move a butterfly…Only in California.”
How To Get Sued will appeal to legal professionals, Judge Judy fans, or ordinary readers who like a good laugh.