Lawyer Rant of the Day

About a month ago, some nutso chickie in Florida went on an eight-minute, profanity-laced, racist tirade against Dunkin Donuts employees because the store failed to give her a receipt the previous evening, and then failed to give her free donuts afterward.

Amusingly, Taylor Chapman (aka Crazy Chick) said that she had “called [her] lawyer” about the lack of a free donut. Whether or not there is a legal right to a free donut, let me explain something to Ms. Chapman, aspiring Juris Doctor: no lawyer will litigate The Case of the Not-Free Donut.

Economics 101: you’re looking at a minimum of ten grand to win a lawsuit over your free donut, and even a basic, DIY small claims suit over the donut and the Coolata will cost you a few hundred bucks.  That is, of course, a DIY small claim.

Your lawyer, if you had one, Ms. Chapman, would have told you that he would litigate the grand case of the donut, provided that you pony up a retainer worth thousands of dollars, keep it replenished, and agree to pay all fees up front.  And this isn’t just about donuts.  I can’t tell you how many people I know ask me if they can sue someone over something trivial.  “Sure, but talk to a lawyer who isn’t me about the costs,” I reply.  Once people find out that hiring a lawyer involves actual money, their oh-so-important lawsuit doesn’t seem that important anymore. (Laypersons are often surprised to find attorneys who demand payment up front, even in cases wherein there is a right to attorneys’ fees for successful litigants.)

So, Ms. Chapman, feel free to spout off about how your “lawyer” has been called about the Case of the Not Free Donut, but any lawyer would have cracked up laughing, then handed you a bill for the phone call.  Because as overcrowded as the legal profession is, no one is waiting around to sue over your breakfast pastry.

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