August 12, 2007 in City

Who do I have to sue to start living my American dream?

Doug Clark The Spokesman-Review

As a proud member of the work force for more than 30 years, I have reached that point in my career where I want to sue the pants off someone and collect a huge mountain of cash.

An enormous settlement would allow me to quit this bone-crushing job of having to write three whole columns a week.

Then I could start living that American Dream: lounging around all day in my boxers, drinking margaritas, watching Oprah and occasionally hollering at neighbor kids to “stay the hell off my lawn!”

Unfortunately, there has always been a major obstacle keeping me from joining the true national pastime of filing lawsuits and cashing in.

And that is getting the proper legal advice to know which fat cat to fleece.

See, a lot of people think they’re savvy about the law, but most of them wouldn’t know a discovery motion from the Discovery Channel.

Retaining a real attorney, however, can be expensive. Plus, many of them won’t speak to me because of the demeaning lawyer jokes I share from time to time with my readers.

Sample 1: “A lawyer will do anything to win a case. Sometimes he will even tell the truth.”

Sample 2: “Terrorists hijacked an airplane full of lawyers. The terrorists threatened to release one every hour unless their demands were met.”

The good news is that Spokane is blessed with a terrific summer program that offers free legal advice to even con artist columnists.

It’s called Street Law.

Each Saturday through the Labor Day weekend you can find lawyers offering their knowledge to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. at Spokane’s Riverfront Park.

The program is sponsored by the Center for Justice and the Spokane County Bar Association. Last year Street Law helped 400 people with problems that ranged from domestic violence issues to bankruptcy to landlord/tenant disputes.

As luck would have it, the attorney I consulted for a half-hour one recent Saturday was twisted enough to play along with my litigious quest.

Talking to Jerry Davis helped me see the folly in suing a giant corporation like, say, Avista.

Oh, sure, it sounds like a winner. I could argue that the power pirates owe me untold punitive damages for emotional pain and suffering due to unexpected rate increases, lobbyist payoffs and sky-high executive salaries.

Trouble is, Avista’s legal staff is slightly less populated than Calcutta. Those slicksters would end up placing a lien on my spleen.

Many lawsuits are just plain dumb.

There was that bonehead judge who tried to squeeze $67 million out of a dry cleaning establishment that supposedly lost his pants.

I once lost my shorts at a roulette table, but I never considered suing the casino.

I read on the Internet last night that a Texas man is suing 1-800-Flowers for $1 million for revealing that he had been catting around on his wife.

This guy shouldn’t be filing a lawsuit. He should be thanking his lucky stars that his aggrieved spouse hasn’t tried to turn him into a steer.

As Davis and I conferred, an ice cream wagon approached. The attorney told me he could call it over and, with a convincing tumble, I may be able to collect “Creamsicles for life.”

Not quite the cold cache I had in mind.

But a crafty “slip and fall” in front of one of those pricey new downtown condos could be the golden tort I was after, Davis suggested between laughs. The downside, he added, is that I might wind up suing some overextended rube “who just barely made the mortgage.”

The law is so complicated. It’s nice to see a program like this available.

But let’s face it. There’s probably only one surefire way for a guy like me to get a big personal injury lawsuit started.

I should stand outside the police station and ask cops if they’d like an autograph.

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