Frivolous lawsuits, frivolous books?





The other day, I did what writers often do, I commented on another’s writer’s blog.  This one in particular raised the question whether writers should purchase liability insurance just in case they got sued for something they wrote in one of their books.

What set me off were several comments I saw in the thread about “frivolous” lawsuits. People were so afraid of them that they were considering spending their hard-earned money to buy useless insurance.

What bothers me about this is that it is a sign that the propaganda of big insurance companies and major corporations has penetrated even to writers, a group one would assume would research such things, just as writers research characters and settings in their books.

The big boys who control advertising and finance in the United States have been brilliant in their use of the mantra “frivolous lawsuits” to scare people into buying products they don’t need and to convince politicians to pass laws that make them unaccountable for their actions. They have never seen a lawsuit they liked, unless, of course, it was one they brought against one of their competitors. Those suits are never “frivolous.”

Most people don’t realize how silly the notion of frivolous lawsuits is.  An attorney who makes his living bringing cases never wants to mess with is a case that has no merit.  Why is that?  Because he pays to finance the case out of his own pocket. He isn’t going to invest his own resources in a case unless he thinks he can get his money back.  And he isn’t going to get his money back if he tries to make a “frivolous” case fly.

It’s just a stupid concept. But people have swallowed it hook line and sinker.

Just like another concept that a big money group has fostered for years and continues to voice to this day.

That is the notion that books by indie authors are inferior to books published by big houses.

“Indie books are frivolous,” they say.  If they say it, it must be true, right? I mean they are the people who have always published all the good books.  Right?


The world is full of talented, hard-working authors who will never receive an invitation to set foot in a big New York publishing house.  The world is quickly coming to this realization as demonstrated by the phenomenal sales growth of digital indie books.

The reason the big boys still recite the old mantra is because they hope some people will be stupid enough to believe them.  It is a tactic as old as the hills: tell a lie long enough and often enough and people will come to believe it.

The indie world of writing is about truth-telling, not taking cheap shots.

Back to the lawsuit thing for a minute. Since I write tips for authors who want to write legal thrillers on this Friday blog each week, I propose this exercise. Have a lawyer prosecute a worthless case, beat his head against the wall, listen to jurors laugh him out of  court.  When you are finished, ask yourself if anyone in the real world would ever do something that idiotic just for the heck of it.

At the end of that exercise, I think you will see that the legal system is full of great stories about justice and the rule of law, not big money’s whipping boy, “frivolous lawsuits.”

And, if you meet an indie writer, shake his hand and tell him to give the big boys hell.




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