In July of 1999, chaos broke out in South Park, Colorado. A chain of highly expensive lawsuits flooded into local courts. The first claim in this explosion of litigation proceedings arose from an incident occurring at South Park’s only educational institution, South Park Elementary. A student named Eric Cartman was awarded damages to be paid in the form of half of his fellow student Stan Marsh’s belongings, the result of a judgment entered against Stan for allegations of sexual harassment.
Judgment was based on the following statute: “The first party of the first panda may sue the second party panda, unless that panda was said panda aforementioned panda.”
The cause for this particular lawsuit and subsequent lawsuits was a mandatory seminar held at South Park Elementary School in the 3d grade classroom of Mr. Garrison, and his teaching assistant Mr. Hat. In attempting to educate and influence the values of South Park Elementary’s impressionable young students, the school district hired a mascot known as Petey, the Sexual Harassment Panda to teach sexual harassment law in schools. Petey would later rename himself and become the “Don’t Sue People Panda,” a direct result of his unwaveringly optimistic, reasonable, and altruistic Panda attitude.
Petey’s role in causing the high number of civil cases arising in and against South Park Elementary, did not extend past the initial seminar he gave, (the lecture in which the case of Cartman v. Marsh began) until he was called as an expert witness in the case of Cartman v. South Park Elementary. In that case, plaintiff Cartman, and his attorney, Gerald Bloflovski, the only attorney in South Park, were awarded 1.3 million dollars in damages from South Park Elementary for its liability in the case of Cartman v. Marsh. As a result of the lawsuit, Petey lost his job and was outcast to the Island of Misfit Mascots after deciding in his own words, “It’s OK. I get it; there’s no room in the world for pandas.”
Gerald Bloflovski, known better as “Kyle’s Dad,” being the only lawyer in South Park, prospered greatly during the period following his victories against 3rd grader Stan Marsh and South Park Elementary. As the only attorney available to South Park’s citizens, Kyle’s Dad was able to acquire a great deal of wealth in a very short amount of time. Gerald’s son Kyle, a student in the same class as both Cartman and Stan, puzzled at why his father was continuing to litigate such a long list of cases.
While outside admiring the size of the new home Kyle’s Dad paid for with his earnings from litigating cases, Kyle approached his father with an inquiry that lead to the following dialogue between them:
Kyle: Dad, if the school has to pay you and Cartman 1.3 million dollars, where does that money come from?
Kyle’s Dad: Well, Kyle, schools have lots of money. You see we all pay taxes and part of that tax money goes to public schools, and it’s from that money that we got our 1.3 million dollars.
Kyle: And you don’t see a problem with that?
Kyle’s Dad: No. It’s a very fragile system that nature has designed: all things flow into each other.
Kyle: You’re trying to confuse me now aren’t you?
Kyle’s Dad: Sort of. Yeah.
Although Kyle’s Dad was acting in good faith to protect the interests of his clients, forces that were arguably beyond his control, brought South Park Elementary to the brink of bankruptcy. In a matter of days, the excess litigation in South Park reached a critical point, culminating in the case of Everyone v. Everyone, in which Kyle’s Dad represented both plaintiff Everyone and defendant Everyone (else).
In this time of crisis, Kyle, seeming to be the voice of reason in a town full of maddened citizens, all out for money from each other, and the educational system on which they relied, sought out Sexual Harassment Panda at the Island of Misfit Mascots. As the only expert witness that could possibly intervene in the case of Everyone v. Everyone for the common good, Sexual Harassment Panda agreed to return to South Park with a new name, and to teach “a new message, a message that people would find useful.” That message would be that “people shouldn’t sue each other all the time.”
In a brilliant piece of testimony the new and improved “Petey the Don’t Sue People Panda” imparted these words of wisdom before the court in the case of Everyone v. Everyone:
“When you sue somebody it hurts everyone. You sue for money, but where do you think that money comes from? From the schools, from taxes, from the state, from you. There’s no such thing as free money. When you sue somebody, you take money away from parks and schools and charities and put it in your own pocket, and that makes me a saaad Panda.”
Everyone, as well as Everyone, took Don’t Sue People Panda’s message to heart. For a brief moment Everyone considered filing a claim against Kyle’s Dad for his recent activities as a litigator in South Park. However, Don’t Sue People Panda’s wisdom held true, and Kyle’s Dad convinced not only himself, but Everyone, that frivolous lawsuits like those that had drained the coffers at South Park Elementary were far too easy to manipulate for personal gain.
In light of this development, the court dismissed the case of Everyone v. Everyone. It was noted in the court’s record for future reference that “[Not all citizens of South Park] take kindly to cases being dismissed around here!” Nevertheless, order and fairness were restored to the legal system in South Park, and everyone in town learned a valuable lesson from their experiences in suing everyone else. Everyone learned that, in fact, they were only hurting themselves, their reputations, and everyone they involved in their lawsuits by bringing too many frivolous and baseless claims to court.