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The Litigation Explosion: What Happened When America Unleashed the Lawsuit Hardcover – April 30, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (April 30, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525249117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525249115
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,261,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Walter K. Olson is fast becoming the legal world's foremost whistleblower. A columnist for Reason magazine and author of The Excuse Factory, Olson makes complex legal issues understandable to people without law degrees. In The Litigation Explosion, he tells of how the United States turned into the world's most litigious society. The account is entertaining because Olson is a good writer, but also infuriating because the problems he describes are severe--ambulance-chasers, junk litigation, and plaintiff awards that line the pockets of lawyers instead of the victims they allegedly represent. A good book for everybody, but a must-read for those in the legal profession. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Since the 1970s, according to Olson, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York, an explosion has taken place in American jurisprudence, and it is dangerous for everyone but lawyers and judges. It has resulted in our becoming the most litigious society on earth. Among the more insidious features of the new legal age are forum-shopping (picking the venue where a case has the best chance of succeeding), shotgun complaints (instituting a suit and then shopping around to determine in how many states one can simultaneously sue), depositions for discovery (asking hundreds of questions in hopes that some answers will prove incriminating). The catalogue of abuses by the legal profession cited here seems endless. Olson offers faint hope in his conclusion, urging that, to curb frivolous litigiousness, the loser in a case should pay all costs. An important book.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Miguel Faria on December 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book will remain timeless given the new legal assault onthe tobacco industry and the gun manufacturers. To find out the details and the evolution of legal concepts as it affects society, the reader should immerse himself in this momentous and extremely witty and well-written book by former Manhattan Institute scholar, Walter K. Olson. Olson's book traces the history of legal theory and ethics, and discusses the impact of these evolutionary (and revolutionary) changes on modern American society. Olson wittily, yet scholarly, details the detrimental effects of the litigation explosion on society. The book should be prescribed reading for anyone who recognizes that he/she too may well be caught in the net of litigation - that is, everyone of us. Olson makes it amply clear that no one is immune from this societal disease and that a strong remedy is needed to cure this affliction.
As I predicted in an editorial in the April 1993 issue of the Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, "On the Liability Crisis and the Glut of Litigators," the rate of litigation and the adversarial legal system has intensified with the presidency of Bill Clinton, who we know has the trial lawyers as his greatest campaign finance supporters. The litigation industry's proclivity to generate business for itself has been given a boost with his presidency, or rather co-presidency with attorney Hillary Clinton, and medical litigation has been no exception.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 1996
Format: Paperback
Walter Olson has produced the best book on the subject of
lawsuits and related problems in America today. His
research is scholarly and the presentation is lively.
Your blood may boil but unless you're a lawyer, you'll
have a hard time arguing your way out of the illuminated
nonsense in our legal system that Olson exposes.

If you like cheap novels this book isn't for you; but if
you want to understand one of the major problems with the crazy
U.S. legal system, you can't afford to miss this one.

Great reading and worth the time. I consider it #1 on the
list in this subject matter area. Olson has done Americans
a favor; will they do something about it?
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By Bob Turner on March 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book about how trial attorneys and their greed are killing America. Somewhat dated, as the situation is much worse today.
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful By wildbill on February 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
For a collection of anecdotes strung together by a layperson in the employ of a conservative think tank, "The Litigation Explosion" is pretty good. Walter Olson's tales are usually interesting, especially when he deviates from the facts of cases. His animosity toward lawyers makes for diatribes that are far more amusing than informative, so Olson's storytelling adds up to theses that seem more compelling the less that one actually knows about law. As is usual for popularizations, "The Litigation Explosion" will move the unwary to outrage and to tears. It will not educate the unwary, of course. It will instead adjust their attitudes so that they will embrace tort reform by book's end. Olson is a master propagandist, which is usually what the Manhattan Institute wants and pays for.
Walter Olson has produced an accessible book regarding lawsuits. His writing is lively. You'll laugh; you'll cry; your blood will boil if you mistake his caricatures for reality. If you believe that lawyer jokes are not merely funny but scholarship, this book is for you.
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