Vern Henley, a poor, elderly blind man, was thrilled to receive a guide dog from Southeastern Guide Dogs. On their first trip out alone they went to a mall where a minister’s wife, Susan Faith, was walking. She saw them coming but didn’t move because she “wanted to see if the dog would walk around me.”
The dog tugged, but Henley didn’t respond soon enough and stepped on Mrs. Faith’s toe, breaking it. When she and her lawyers learned that Henley didn’t have any money, they sued the dog owner, Southeastern Guide Dogs, for loss of income and pain and suffering. Her husband Reverend Faith joined the suit for loss of his wife’s companionship.
Southeastern Guide Dogs, a non profit organization, relies on contributions and offers its dogs at no cost to blind people.
Southeastern offered $5000 to cover medical expenses, but the Faiths and their lawyers insisted on going on with the case even after the death of Mr. Henley.
After the story was published in the local newspaper, Reverend and Mrs. Faith received many angry phone calls. They apparently decided that their course of action was not the Christian way and dropped the suit. Aware of the bad public relations, their law firm donated $1000 to Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Thanks to Todd from Royal Oak for letting me know about this story.
The complete story is at the website Whiplash, America’s most frivolous lawsuits.
I should warn you that this website is highly addictive. My favorite is the college freshman who mooned his friends from the window of his upper level dorm room. The window gave way and he fell to the ground causing serious injuries. He sued the college for not warning him that pressing buttocks against a window might cause injury when the window gave way