What makes a lawsuit ethical; laws or personal ethics?

personal ethicsShould laws influence your personal ethics?

I wrote an article last week that posed an interesting question.  In the article, I told you the cruise line industry is using “forum clauses” in their tickets to limit litigation against them.

If you have not read the article you can read it here, “How to sue a cruise ship; What are the obstacles you may face”.   Today we are living in a “sue happy” society.

My friend Larry Deane, the author of sideincomeblogging, asked me a valid question, he wanted to know, “Just because there are laws stating you can sue; is it ethical to bring litigation”?

I pondered Larry’s question a little and I came to the conclusion that everyone has their own view of damages.  A different view of damages was obvious in the McDonald’s hot coffee case.  Many of you may remember this case, but for those of you who may have missed it; I will summarize it for you.  A lady asked for some coffee with her meal however, she spilled the coffee in her lap causing her pain and discomfort.

The lady sued the fast food giant, because she believed the coffee was too hot.  She won her case. My first thoughts were, “Isn’t that the reason why people order coffee, doesn’t everyone want hot coffee?

The laws allowed her to sue McDonalds.  As the title states, What makes a lawsuit ethical; laws or personal ethics?

Lets delve into this issue further.

I know many of you will take the path of least resistance.  Although, I hope someone ponders a little longer.  I realize the courts decide if a lawsuit has merits, but is it good ethical behavior to bring a lawsuit in the first place.

I mentioned the cruise ship passengers for a reason.  Many of them are considering lawsuits and one of them has brought a lawsuit against Carnival cruise lines already.

We are all aware of the horrible conditions the passengers had to endure.  Larry added, why wasn’t the crew applauded for containing the fire.

I was at a lost for words.  As someone who has been abroad many naval ships; I know how important it is to contain a fire.  I also know it is no easy feat.

The scene had to be panicky and highly stressed.  You have captains telling all the deck hands to hurry.

Do you think the crew deserves an ovation for making the best of a bad situation?

Let me get back to the question.

I want you to imagine being in a situation where you were not harmed, but the laws permitted you to sue in a court of law.

Would you consider your personal ethics or would you say it must be ethical because I have the law on my side?

Let your voice be heard.  I am interested in what you have to say.

I gave Larry my best answer, but I know there is no concrete answer.

That is the beauty of ethics; they are meant to be discussed.  Everyone translates ethical behavior differently and that does not make it wrong, just a different perspective.

Tell Larry how you feel.  Do you agree with frivolous lawsuits?

What comes first in your life, personal ethics or laws?
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