Posted: Apr 17, 2009 9:42 AM
If what we've heard about cap-and-trade isn't bad enough already, wait until you hear this. Contained within the 600-plus pages of the Waxman-Markey global warming/cap-and-trade bill that was recently introduced in the House is language making it legal to sue the federal government and private companies if you "suffer" from “Global Warming.”

According to the Washington Times, "the measure sets grounds for anyone 'who has suffered, or reasonably expects to suffer, a harm attributable, in whole or in part,' to government inaction to file a 'citizen suit.' The term 'harm' is broadly defined as 'any effect of air pollution (including climate change), currently occurring or at risk of occurring.'

"Under the House bill, if a judge rules against the government, new rules would have to be drafted to alleviate the problems associated with climate change. If a judge rules against a company, the company would have to purchase additional 'carbon emission allowances' through a cap-and-trade program that is to be created by Congress."

You may think that lawsuits like this would be few and far between, but let's consider some past cases that sound a little bit peculiar,  but are unfortunately commonplace:

- A women hit by a New York City subway train while lying on the tracks attempting to commit suicide was awarded $9.9 million dollars.

- A woman who sued McDonalds for gross negligence after spilling hot coffee on herself was initially awarded $3 million in damages before a settlement produced a smaller amount.

-A judge sued a Washington, D.C. dry cleaner for losing his pants to the tune of $67 million.

This cap- and-trade bill "would allow citizens to seek up to $75,000 in damages from the government each year, but would cap the total amount paid out each year at $1.5 million."

Whether the plaintiff wins his case or not, this provision as-is is a trial lawyer’s nirvana. Even if they don't win, they'll tie up the courts and force these companies to disrupt there business, even without merit, and force them to put their time and resources into legal costs.

Just another troubling cog to this cap-and-trade machine that is barreling through Washington.