Venemous Post columnist Linda Stasi has written in the past about what she views as frivolous, expensive lawsuits. Also, she works for a paper that has criticized our suit-friendly laws, calling it a “Suer System.” So when Gawker writer John Cook found out that Stasi was suing the city for $2 million over injuries she sustained after tripping over a police barricade, naturally, his interest was piqued. Stasi’s injuries, the complaint says, left her “severely injured and damaged, rendered sick, sore, lame and disabled.” Additionally she suffered “severe nervous shock and mental anguish, great physical pain and emotional upset.” Now, this is no being put into a coma and almost killed by a giant tree branch, but it sounds painful. Except that Stasi never seemed to miss her Post column deadlines, even though the main injury was to her wrist.
Stasi, to her credit, candidly addressed the seeming hypocrisy to Gawker. “I wasn’t disabled,” she said. “I didn’t ask for disability. I worked from home. If you work at a newspaper, you can’t just stop writing — someone else will come in to fill your seat.” (Much like how if you work for a blog, it’s pretty hard to justify calling in sick when you can basically do what you do from bed, with only the darkest, angriest portion of your brain actually functioning. And at any moment they can hire an angry monkey to replace you.) Stasi also said she hadn’t realized her lawyer would ask for such a large sum.
“Those are pro forma numbers,” her lawyer, Lawrence Wertheimer, said. “Certainly, she’s not looking for $2 million, and she’s certainly not going to get $2 million. You basically get whatever the jury decides, and you have to enter a number, so what you do is, you go high.” This is the problem with being a professional criticizer who has written hundreds of columns: At some point or another, you’re going to do something you’ve already raked someone else over the coals for doing.