MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-A new Internet site that touts itself as a platform to "simplify the lawsuit process" is drawing criticism from legal reformers who say SueEasy is seeking to make the nation even more litigious than it is already.
The portal allows users to browse pending court actions online and join other consumers' cases. The site says it helps consumers get the "best in legal help with the least amount of hassles."
For users, the ultimate goal is to get the attention of a big-time lawyer to take their case.
Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute Center for Legal Policy, told Legal Newsline that the SueEasy site is the latest in a series of Internet sites aimed at matching up attorneys with litigants.
"The main problem with this is quality control," Olson said from his New York office. "If this were a dating service, you'd have to wonder - whichever side of the dating you were on - what kind of dunce are they going to bring me?"
The site is likely to attract potential litigants with weak cases, he said.
"My first look at the Web site makes me think it's going to be approached cautiously by the lawyers with the strongest track records," Olson said.
The site, registered to Webtronaut Innovations, is essentially a reverse directory for lawyers. The company could not be reached for comment.
Attorneys are charged a monthly fee by the Mountain View, Calif., company to view potential cases in a variety of categories, including animal and dog bites, medical malpractice and slip and fall accidents.
Darren McKinney, spokesman for the American Tort Reform Association, said the site is the "latest distillation" of an attitude promulgated by the nation's trial lawyers over the last two decades.
"It's an attitude that runs against personal responsibility and seems to promote the notion that whatever negative happens in your life somebody else can be blamed and thus sued," McKinney told Legal Newsline.
On its Web site, users are assured: "At SueEasy our primary concern is for you to register a genuine complaint or grievance as quickly and as simply as possible."
In an interview from his Washington office, McKinney said he is not surprised that there is an audience for the site.
"It is discouraging to those us to who would prefer a return to the days when most Americans took responsibility for their lives, including the good and the bad," McKinney said.
From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.