Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Lawsuits, Japanese style

One of the great canards of the lawyer-bashing/ tort reform argument has been the idea that Japan's impressive economic productivity since WWII has resulted in part from the small number of lawyers and lawsuits.

Next time somebody tells you that, lay this one on them, from the "Arts in Brief" news summary in today's NY Times:
Forty-nine Japanese magicians have sued two Japanese television networks for showing viewers the secret behind their coin tricks. The magicians are seeking $16,400 -- and apologies -- from Nippon Television Network and TV Asahi. "There was no need to reveal the secrets of tricks, and the defendants infringed upon the value of secrets of tricks, which are assets shared by magicians," the group of plaintiffs said in the lawsuit filed in Tokyo District Court.
True, the story illustrates that Japanese litigators have a way to go in pressing their clients' cases zealously. Had I been representing the magicians, I'd have demanded that the TV executives appear in court and pay the $16,400 in coins. And the plaintiffs would be allowed to "find" the coins, one-at-a-time, behind the defendants' ears.

What is this world coming to? I lost a little bit of my childhood when the judicial opinion of the Got Your Nose case was unsealed for public record.
At least they're not suing for 67 Million dollars for a pair of pants.
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