Two recent lawsuits beg the question of what it will take to stop the madness. One is the second case against a minister who accidentally hit a child who darted in front of her car in the Holland Hospital parking garage.
Another is a new case against the part-time groundskeeper at Duncan Memorial Park in Grand Haven for the sledding death of a youngster three years ago.
Both are ridiculous. Both have been through the court system before — just with a different plaintiff or defendant. But the premise of both is the same — a child died, so somebody must pay.
The only people who end up getting paid monetarily are the lawyers, who continue to file appeals or additional lawsuits. But it’s the families and defendants who pay a steep emotional price.
The latest suit in the tragic sledding death — against a 71-year-old groundskeeper — essentially claims that he should have personally removed every hazardous stick and branch at Duncan Woods. He also, apparently, was supposed to work around-the-clock at the park to warn everyone about where the dangerous sledding spots might be.
Did we mention he works 12 hours a week for $10 an hour to cut the grass and perform other routine maintenance?
Perhaps it’s desperation. As the economy took a nosedive in 2008, a lot of people lost financial security and the idea of a legal windfall is certainly enticing.
Or perhaps it’s the great need to blame somebody else for a tragic loss of a loved one. Because if someone — anyone — accepts a portion of the blame for the death of your child, it takes the burden of blame off the shoulders of the parents.
Whatever the reason, such frivolous lawsuits are clogging our court system. Perhaps it’s time to figure out a way to curb the legal enthusiasm for these kinds of lawsuits.
Legislative options should be considered to this effect.
Sledding is dangerous. Sledding on a forested path dotted with trees is incredibly dangerous. Running around in a dark parking garage is also unsafe.
Life itself is a risk. Kids in particular are fearless and don’t weigh risks before jaunting off to their next reward.
Parents also can’t protect their children from all harm that might befall them. They’d like to, but this would require youth wearing fireproof, waterproof, bulletproof and germproof bubbles until they’re 18.
It’s time to stop the appeals, stop the blame, stop the anguish — and start healing.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.