By: John H. Cross, Staff Writer.

Attorneys resoundingly claim to “Help the little guy.” Sometimes they do, often they create their own victims.

Erroneous lawsuits brought down Blitz USA, the largest manufacturer of the all familiar red portable gas can after almost 50 years of successful operation. The inquiry arises as to when an individual’s self responsibility and accountability come into play? Have we regrettably degenerated into a society taking the path of our elected officials and continually, ‘Passing the buck?’

The Miami, Oklahoma, based firm commenced producing metal, ‘Jerry cans’ for the U.S. military and then rebranded to retail red plastic gas cans. On their heyday they employed 300 and at the time of their demise at the hands of blood sucking lawyers, the remaining 117 people were laid off. This job generating entrepreneurship produced over 14 million containers per year and has been slapped with 62 lawsuits, resulting in well over $30 million in insurance settlements and an additional $30 million in legal fees alone.

Ironically, the attorneys receiving these exuberant fees contributed zilch to the economy.

Regrettably, 14 deaths have occurred, almost all resulting from flagrant misuse of the product. Unfortunately, consumers make stupid decisions, such as the gentleman who attempted to start a fire in a wood burning stove in his trailer home by pouring gasoline on an open flame.

Numerous products possess hazards and these dangers are irrefutably marked by warning labels from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These warning labels indisputably portray the danger in simplest terms and often dwarf the products’ label itself. Critics have insinuated that the addition of a flame arrestor to the container’s nozzle would mitigate a flashback of vapor to the container source resulting in an explosion.

The trade group which represents Blitz and other portable gas container manufacturers have repeatedly queried the Consumer Product Safety Commission to further regulate their products by rendering a decision in regards to flame arrestors. Contentiously, in May 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission task group findings concluded flaws in flame arrestors, which included overflow spills from the allowable fill rate and static charge spontaneous ignition from the metal arrestor not be grounded to a metal container. Further, metal containers were previously replaced with mandatory plastic containers by the same Commission. Again, the government’s indecisiveness yields nothing except the loss of 117 jobs.

Lawsuit abuse costs the U.S. $589 billion each year. As published by the Pacific Research Institute this ‘Tort Tax’ has an annual price tag of $9,827 per family of four, or $809 for every American. To sum up runaway costs, they further state that only 46% of the monetary awards are bestowed as compensation to the injured. The majority is spent on attorney’s fees and administrative costs. In perspective tort reform would create an additional 152,000 jobs in California and 87,000 in New York as per the University of California.

Why is it that people refuse to take responsibility for their own stupidity? Is it McDonald’s fault when someone scolds themselves with hot coffee? Did you ever notice the warning label on a window screen? What sensible, responsible person would place a child on a window sill expecting the screen to stop the child from falling? It is inconsolable when society is degraded to spending twice as much on erroneous lawsuits then we do on new cars and bonehead consumers with their attorneys realizing they can get rich by legally extorting money from companies. Each and every American must be accountable and responsible for their own actions. ‘Passing the buck’  will never advance you morally.