"Avoid Death" warning label wins annual lawsuit abuse contest

Marilyn Tennissen Dec. 13, 2007, 3:38am

"Danger: Avoid Death," found on a small tractor, was chosen as the winner of the 2007 Wackiest Warning Label Contest sponsored by the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch.

"Danger: Avoid Death" is this year's winner of the Wacky Warning Label Contest.

Now in its 11th year, the contest is conducted by Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, M-LAW, to reveal how lawsuits, and fear of lawsuits, have driven the proliferation of common-sense warnings on U.S. products.

The "winning" label was found on a small tractor and was submitted by Kevin Soave of Farmington Hills, Mich. Soave will take home the $500 grand prize for the entry.

The $250 second place was given to Carrianne, Jacob and Robby Turin of Greensburg, Pa., for a label they found on an iron-on T-shirt transfer that warns: "Do not iron while wearing shirt."

Richard Goodnow of Lancaster, Mass., earned the $100 third-place prize for a label on a baby stroller featuring a small storage pouch that warns: "Do not put child in bag."

Contest organizer Bob Dorigo Jones says the silly labels reflect America's broken civil justice system.

"Predatory lawyers know they can file ridiculous lawsuits against innocent product makers and blackmail them into a cash settlement - even in cases in which a user has ignored common sense," Dorigo Jones said in a statement Wednesday.

Formed as a non-partisan, grassroots organization, the goal of Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch (M-LAW) is to eliminate the many negative effects that lawsuit abuse has on families, job providers and communities, the group's Web site states.

"Excessive litigation has robbed consumers of needed products and services and has added a hidden 'lawsuit tax' onto countless other products and services," it states.

Honorable mention went to Cyndi LaMonde of Traverse City for a label on a letter opener that says: "Caution: Safety goggles recommended."

Ann Marie Young of Fillmore, N.Y., took the second honorable mention for a warning she found which cautions users: "The Vanishing Fabric Marker should not be used as a writing instrument for signing checks or any legal documents."

More of the contest entries can be found at www.mlaw.org. "Remove Child Before Folding: The 101 Stupidest, Silliest, and Wackiest Warning Labels Ever" by Dorigo Jones is available at Barnes & Noble.

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