Monday, October 26, 2009

The price of wounded pride

How do you decide how much you should sue for when there is no real damage other than to dignity?

This question occurred to me this weekend while reading an account of an altercation between a Toronto bus driver and a female passenger that resulted in said passenger suing for $2.3 million. This TTC tiff apparently started with a disdainful look, then escalated to unsavory language and a thrown paper cup.

So, how does the money part of this work, exactly?

Is there some formula for this that is taught in law school? Is there some sort of sliding scale with increasing amounts assigned to ascending orders of verbal abuse? Is there a discount if you are dissed in a language you don't understand? Is there a higher penalty for throwing a half-full coffee cup at someone than an empty coffee cup? Does getting hit full on with a Starbucks cup get you more than being grazed by a Timmy's cup? How much is a $5.00 dry cleaning bill worth when converted to lawsuit dollars?

Do you ask for more if the "F" word is used? More if one's mother is mentioned?

How about impugned integrity? Discredited reputation? Deflated self-esteem? Loss of dignity? Does it matter how much integrity, reputation, self-esteem or dignity you, personally, had before the incident, or is the calculation based on the national average? If the incident wasn't witnessed by anyone you actually know, how was reputation diminished?

Just wondering. Just in case.

1 comment:

  1. I think the strategy might be: "As much as we can get away with." Sad, eh?