I'm not sure I'm following this argument. Are you saying that because Ms. Young was wrong about one argument( punitive damages), she should have lost the other argument (actual damages)? I don't think logical arguments have side effects like this.
Remember, these are two distinct issues here (probably two distinct items of suit), with distinct rewards, punishments, and topics. Wanita Renee Young was right, in my opinion, about actual damages she suffered, and the cause of that damage. She had to go to the hospital because of these girls, and that cost her some $900 dollars. She shouldn't have to incur that expense just because two teenagers thought it was good idea knock on her door in the middle of the night, then run away when they were called out to. That would frighten anyone, especially an elderly woman who was alone.
On the other hand, she was wrong, also in my opinion, about the motivation for those actions, and accordingly did not win her punitive suit. That being said, she is certainly entitled to think that teenagers deserve to be punished for causing her all of this trouble, even if you and I do not agree with her. Or is the argument that she lacks that right to have such an opinion and bring it up for discussion?
I don't think this lawsuit was frivolous at all: there was damage here, and somewhat complicated cause, effect, and responsibility issues. This is just a difference of opinion between the teenagers and Ms. Young. I think that just the fact that we're discussing these ideas is a good thing, and will help form a better civilization. I also think that the judge was wisely able to pick apart the valid argument from those that were less than valid.
Finally, I don't think that Ms. Young acted maliciously in suing for punitive damages. I think she was incorrect, but I can understand where she might be frustrated. If I were to knock on your mother's door @ 10:30 pm and run away, especially if she had suffered breakin in the past, she would probably be frustrated as well.
All Wanita Renee Young wanted to do was go to sleep in her own home and her own bed. At 10:30 PM on a friday night, I think she has a reasonable expectation of privacy. She has the reasonable right, IMO, not to expect strangers to knock on her door in the middle of night and run away. I'm glad to live in country where even those with unpopular opinions get a chance to seek address in court: I think it's one of the geniuses of American society. Of course, I'm also glad she didn't win the punitive damage suit. I think that also speaks well of American society.
the judge, seeing the case history which clearly should have included the refusal to accept compensation when offered, should have immediately concluded that the woman had no case and thrown it out (in fact making her pay all legal cost to the defendants as well). This is a clear case of a frivolous lawsuit, exactly the kind the US government is attempting to stamp out.
I believe a frivolous lawsuit is one which the plaintiff himself believes has no chance of succeeding. Given that the woman did win some damages, it seems the suit was not frivolous in that she was correct in thinking she could win some damages.
I agree that the U.S. legal system encourages plaintiffs to sue for more damages than they actually deserve, and this is one example of what results. I note that in U.S. Federal court, there are now some rules that encourage plaintiffs to accept reasonable settlement offers (I think by making them bear more of the costs of the suit after the offer if the ultimate decision is that the offer was sufficient). Perhaps this is an argument that states should adopt similar rules.
If I'd had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. -T.S. Eliot such a short, tiny ad: