Southeast Texas Record Feb. 9, 2015, 2:52pm


"What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"

That's the disturbing question Madeleine Albright asked of Colin Powell back in the 1990s in an effort to justify a military intervention he opposed as inappropriate.

The contrast between the diplomat's and the soldier's views could not have been starker. Powell understood that war is something best avoided and that the point of having a superb military is precisely to be in a position of not having to use it.

Going to court should likewise be a last resort, something to be avoided if possible. Nevertheless, there are plenty of plaintiffs and trial attorneys who think like Albright, wondering what's the point of having a court system if they don't use it.

And use it they do, for every conceivable grievance, however minor, bypassing all the simpler, speedier, less expensive options for resolving the matter.

Houston attorney Kiri Martin filed suit in Harris County District Court last month against Preston Heath Davidson, who lives in the apartment below hers and who is accused of intentionally keeping her awake for 42 nights in a row. She is seeking roughly $10,000 in actual damages, unspecified damages for mental anguish, and exemplary damages.

A temporary restraining order was granted the same day Martin filed her suit, prohibiting Davidson from “engaging in any act … that seeks to and does cause disturbance of Plaintiff’s sleep at night.”

Why didn't Martin ask for the restraining order sooner? Why didn't she ask for it in lieu of the suit? With a month-to-month lease, why not relocate and leave her alleged tormentor behind?

Davidson may be in the wrong, but there must have been numerous other options Martin could have pursued. Granted, by her account, she is suffering from sleep deprivation. Still, a lawsuit does not seem like the best response and may cause more sleepless nights as it drags irritatingly through the court system.

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