Song of the Day: Amarillo by Morning by George Strait
Have you ever been sued? Most have not. I’m willing to bet some of you have.
This probably won’t come as a surprise to those who know me, but I have. And it wasn’t for some piddly amount either. Not like my hubby when his psycho ex-girlfriend sued him for the cost of a 12 inch TV and a package of underwear.
Oh no. I was sued for a much bigger sum. Think of a number. Now go bigger. No, bigger. I was sued for a whopping one million dollars. Why was I being sued for a million smackeroos? Let’s just say the Mercedes did not have the right of way. Unfortunately, the owner didn’t see it that way and my driving came under scrutiny, as I was driving a rental while my Cutlass was in the shop for repairs from a previous accident. Doesn’t look good, does it? At nineteen, there wasn’t much chance the plaintiff would see one cent out of me. I had nothing to my name but a beat-up Oldsmobile worth maybe five grand after a good spit shine. And as the saying goes, you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip. Needless to say, the case was dropped as the owner came under fire for possible insurance fraud.
So why am I talking about crazy litigations? My good friend Christie Craig is being sued by TxDot (Texas Department of Transportation) over the title of her latest humorous romance, Don’t Mess With Texas. Don’t Mess With Texas is also the anti-litter slogan adopted by TxDot many years ago. In a nutshell, TxDot feels that the use of the title violates Texas’s trademark. But that’s not how it all began. TxDot first filed for an injunction to prevent selling Christie’s book, claiming her book would damage Texas’ reputation because her book contains love scenes…between a man and a woman…in a committed relationship…practicing safe sex. When a judge struck down that lawsuit based on the First Amendment of free speech, TxDot slipped in the backdoor citing trademark violations and dilution. Never mind the slogan has been used numerous times in songs and magazines, as well as on clothing.
I love my state. I was born and raised here. We Texans are a rather proud lot. But as a Texan, I’m thoroughly disgusted and embarrassed by what TxDot is trying to do. I’m outraged that in a time of economic strain my tax dollars are wasted on pursuing such a ridiculous lawsuit.
Another writer friend of mine, Suzan Harden, has proposed a write-in campaign to the state’s governor, Gov. Rick Perry (you might have heard of him, :-P) to put an end to such frivolity. Stop by her blog for more information.
Whether you are a Texan or not, whether you are a writer or not, this type of lawsuit affects us all. It’s an attack on our free speech. It’s abuse of our tax dollars. We must make a fuss over this and be heard. Feel free to join me.
Snail Mail: The Honorable Rick Perry, PO Box 12428, Austin, TX 78711-2428
Phone No: (512) 463-2000
Twitter: @GovernorPerry (mention @TxDOT and @Christie_Craig)
Ever been sued? Have an opinion about this lawsuit? I’d love to hear from you.