I’ll admit to being a huge fan of Law & Order. When the original series (Fred Thompson did better work there in recent years than on the 2008 presidential trail), or one of the spinoffs (SVU, Criminal Intent) promotes a plot as "ripped from the headlines," it’s usually quite twisted and entertaining.
The only problem is that the stories truly are taken from real life cases. In that setting, it’s more costly than funny, more ridiculous than riveting. Let’s not even consider the financial factors — which impact all taxpayers — here. Simply look at some of the issues contributing to the overcrowding of the legal system. The Heartland Institute has a periodic publication (here’s the latest) that summarizes the worst of the worst. Hint: there’s part two of the lawyer suing his dry cleaners over a lost pair of pants and seeking punitive damages.
It’s often written that tort refom is needed. Tort sounds like something that should be popping out of your toaster in the morning. The simple, straightforward name is lawsuit abuse. And it’s being practiced by a set of lawyers who are playing a game, not practicing their craft in the way it was intended.