Experts like Howard think this is growing problem. "We took a wrong turn in American justice about 40 years ago," he told ABC News, "judges have been sitting on their hands …. letting people claim anything, and the effect is not better justice, it is worse justice."
We all pay a price for frivolous lawsuits, say experts. Tort claims cost the nation about $233 billion in 2002, which is more than double the average cost of other industrialized nations, according to a study by Tillinghast Towers Perrin.
And "one frivolous lawsuit can put a small business out of business," according to the US Chamber of Commerce
As legal threats grow, so will the uncertainty and exposure felt by individuals and businesses. "At one point in the 70's a lawsuit for a million dollars would make a headline. Now people make claims for a billion dollars," Howard told ABC News, citing the case of the $67 million fancy pants.