Blame Wayne Ritchie.

He’s the attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee, who has filed a lawsuit against Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, CBS, MTV, and Viacom, over the Super Bowl halftime show. The plaintiff is 47-year-old Terri Carlin, who claims she suffered “outrage, anger, embarrassment, and serious injury” from viewing the event with her family.

You have a stake in this because Ritchie wants to include all of us as plaintiffs and make it a class action, saying we were defamed by the incident and suffered damage to our reputation as Americans.

The claims are ludicrous, of course, and that’s why I tell you Ritchie’s name. As the attorney who filed this nuisance suit, he should be ashamed, although he’s probably incapable of such a feeling.

Wouldn’t it be nice if other lawyers, and the state bar association, denounced attorneys behind garbage suits like this? Hopefully, the legal system will throw it out before it reaches court — although there’s no guarantee, considering that the eenie-meenie-mynie-moe case against Southwest Airlines went all the way to a jury — but that’s not enough.

His colleagues in the legal community should take some sort of punitive action against any lawyer who files such a claim. After all, it is people like Wayne Ritchie and Terri Carlin who damage their reputation as attorneys.

Come to think of it, they do damage to our reputation as Americans. Maybe I should file a lawsuit on behalf of all of us — against them!
Followup: on Monday, February 9th, 2004, Ritchie and Carlin withdrew the lawsuit, with Carlin saying she believes she made her point. If her point was that there are people in this country with no life and nothing better to do than waste the court’s time, then she’s right. The notice of dismissal claims that she got calls and mail from supportive parents from across the country who wanted to join the class action suit. I doubt that’s true, but if it is, shame on all of them. At least now the legal system has one less nuisance suit gumming up the works — but the bar association should still take action against Ritchie for filing it in the first place.
Naturally, The Smoking Gun has the legal paperwork for your viewing pleasure.