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Friday, January 07, 2005

Behold, King of the Squeamish…


Viewer Sues NBC Over 'Fear Factor' Rat-Eating Episode
Joe Milicia
The Associated Press
01-07-2005


A viewer is suing NBC for $2.5 million, contending that he threw up because of a "Fear Factor" episode in which contestants ate rats mixed in a blender.

Austin Aitken told The Associated Press he watches "Fear Factor" often and had no problem with past installments where the reality show's participants ate worms and insects in pursuit of a $50,000 prize -- but eating rats went "too far."

"It's barbaric, some of the things they ask these individuals to do," Aitken said Thursday.

Aitken's handwritten lawsuit contends the rat-eating made his blood pressure rise, resulting in being dizzy and lightheaded -- and vomiting. Because he was disoriented he ran into a doorway, "causing suffering, injury and great pain."

Asked why he didn't shut off his television before the rat-eating segment, Aitken said he couldn't do it quick enough.

( Full Article )
This AP article was posted over at Law.com. There are a few blanks that need to be filled in so you can appreciate the entire picture.
Sure, this claim will probably get zipped on Summary Judgement. In other words, it will be dismissed before getting to a jury. However, costs will be acquired before that can take place.

I'm assuming that the suit was filed in New York. That venue requires a significant amount of Discovery before the Court will rule on the Declaratory Action. Therefore, the mere fact that the suit is preposterous does not relinquish the truth that there will be Loss Adjusted Expenses (LAE) acquired by NBC to have the case removed.

The costs (either paid directly by NBC if they have a significant Self Insured Retention status, or paid by their insurance carrier) end up on the balance sheet. If NBC pays those costs itself, it’s a direct loss. If an insurance company pays under the policy, the loss frequency and incurred figures will be keynote in determining the policy premium costs to NBC in the new policy year. Therefore, the expense would, indirectly, be passed onto NBC.

The costs associated with this case get transferred into the category of expenses for NBC eventually. NBC, in order to operate effectively as a business, will have to adjust their income through advertising revenue to accommodate expenses. That translates to higher costs to advertise on the network. The advertisers, in order to cover the increased cost to advertise will take the added expense, and transfer it to the cost of their product or service. That cost increase, my friends, gets passed onto you, the consumer.

I'm sorry to inform you that the consumer has no one to pass the added cost to. You are the bottom of the barrel. Maybe one or two outlandish lawsuits like this won't make a dent in the operating expenses of the Defendant (NBC). However, don't be naïve. There are many, many such cases that hit the Courts. You're paying for them.

Mr. Austin "I can't find my remote" Aitken just cost you some money in the quest of righteous indignation. He doesn't get it, and neither does most of America.

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