The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a famously (if not necessarily non-partisan) pro-business group, has put together its list of the five most ridiculous lawsuits of 2010. The group's Institute for Legal Reform regularly posts news of what it considers outrageous lawsuits to its website, and then lets readers vote for what they think is the most egregious example.
Here are the top 5 ridiculous lawsuits of the year:
1. Woman sues Oprah Winfrey and President George W. Bush, declaring they "implanted a camera with wire sensors into her with the intent of reincarnation."
2. Girl sues estate of pregnant woman she killed during suicide attempt.
3. Convicted killer sues to receive electrolysis as part of state-funded sex change.
4. Child-molesting teacher countersues boy's parents over negligent supervision.
5. Restaurant sued for failing to offer artichoke-eating instructions.
If you click this link, you can read more details on these lawsuits.
From a supply chain perspective, the one that I found most fascinating is the number one choice, not because it involves GWB and Oprah, but because this is precisely the kind of thing that opponents of radio frequency identification (RFID) have tried to warn us about for years.
Okay, the reincarnation angle is a new wrinkle, but basically the thinking within anti-spychip circles has always been that retailers and/or the government will go to any lengths to spy on us, including embedding tags in our clothes, cellphones and loyalty cards that will reveal not only our current whereabouts, but every piece of information about us, including social security numbers, bank account balances and preferred brand of shampoo.
As I wrote in my book (which, by the way, does have a bar code on the back cover but not an RFID chip), "What worries privacy advocates isn't so much what the technology is capable of now but what abuses future generations of RFID could inspire evil-minded people to commit." I'm not quite clear on why the government would want to reincarnate this poor woman, but Oprah's alleged involvement is all too easy to understand: Can you imagine the ratings for Oprah's new network if she could book the world's first live reincarnation on her show? I'd probably watch, even if it turned out to be as ultimately disappointing as the time Geraldo Rivera opened up Al Capone's vault. But then again, there's always the chance the woman might be reincarnated as Big Al himself.