Lawyers say they help the "little guy." Sometimes they do. But they also create their own victims. The newest casualty is Blitz USA -- the nation's largest producer of consumer gas cans.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "The Consumer Product Safety Commission has never deemed Blitz's products unsafe."
But lawyers saw an opportunity. They realize that people misuse gas cans by pouring gasoline on hot embers (to restart fires). People get burned, and some die.
It's not Blitz USA's fault that customers make stupid decisions. But lawyers know that litigation costs are often higher than the cost of a settlement. In many cases, Blitz USA agreed to settle, sometimes for millions of dollars. It would probably have cost more to fight a case and win.
Other trial lawyers realize that they can get rich by legally extorting money from the company, so they joined in.
In a letter to customers Blitz USA notes that "these claims and the costs of defending these claims have increased dramatically."
Last month, the lawyers drove Blitz USA into bankruptcy.
Now more Americans will store gasoline in less convenient and much less safe containers.