This Wine is Too Tannic—I’m Suing!!
There are pros and cons to the idea that the loser in a civil lawsuit ought to be required to pay the legal fees of the winner. The “pro” side of that argument was aptly demonstrated in this lawsuit, brought by a wine drinker who sued a wine retailer simply because he did not like the wine be bought from the store.
First, imagine the kind of marketplace that would be created if a consumer could return a product and get their money back if the product, though not defective in any way, simply didn’t appeal to the patron. Better yet, imagine the impact on the marketplace if a consumer could have their money returned if they didn’t like a particular musical or acting performance. And what of wine writers who recommend wines? What if they could be sued simply because a reader acted on a recommendation and didn’t like the wine? There would be no wine recommendations, no films, no music, no art.
Better yet, imagine the impact on the number of lawsuits that would be filed if people like our unsatisfied wine lover in this case knew he’d have to pay the legal fees of the wine shop owner if he didn’t win his lawsuit? This would have certainly incentivized this wine drinker to come to his senses and not file such a dumb lawsuit.
The judge, upon throwing out the lawsuit, wrote the following:
“When the wine did not measure up to his subjective tastes, he decided that the wine was not as advertised. However, plaintiff has not demonstrated at even the minimum prima facie level that any deception took place, that there was any falsity or anything other than plaintiff’s assumptions were incorrect.”
The real kicker in this story? The wine drinker in the case has said he will appeal the verdict. It appears that the plaintiff in the case, who, before he sued the wine shop, told the owner of the shop, “I have nothing better to do with my life,” was true to his word.