Respectful Insolence

Suing over alien abduction

This would be hilarious if it weren’t for what it says about critical thinking skills:

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German lawyer hopes to drum up more business by pursuing state compensation claims for people who believe they were abducted by aliens.

“There’s quite obviously demand for legal advice here,” Jens Lorek told Reuters by telephone on Thursday. “The trouble is, people are afraid of making fools of themselves in court.”

Lorek, a lawyer based in the eastern city of Dresden who specializes in social and labor law, said he hoped to expand his client base by taking on the unusual work.

He has yet to win any abduction claims, but says there are plenty of potential clients, noting that extra-terrestrial watchdogs report scores of alien assaults every year.

“These people could appeal for therapies or cures,” he said.

Lorek, 41, is pinning his hopes for success on a German law which grants kidnap victims the right to state compensation.

The only thing that struck me as odd was that this guy is working in Europe. The U.S. is the place for such frivolous lawsuits. No doubt some lawyer right here in the good ol’ USA (probably somewhere near Roswell, NM) is looking for a law to use to file similar suits as we speak.

Comments

  1. #1 Skeptico
    October 11, 2006
  2. #2 llewelly
    October 11, 2006

    The only thing that struck me as odd was that this guy is working in Europe. The U.S. is the place for such frivolous lawsuits.

    I believed that for a long time too. Then I started to try and track down the details of many purported ‘frivolous lawsuits’. One by one I found each of them was not frivolous at all (or had simply never occurred).
    this is an example of the kinds of things I discovered. I’ve since become very skeptical of any story about a frivolous lawsuit.

  3. #3 Orac
    October 11, 2006

    Skeptico,

    Actually, I saw this a over the weekend, only got around to writing it up last night, and scheduled it to publish this afternoon. (I like to have my main post appear in the morning and “quickies”–if any–show up in the afternoon.) ;-)

  4. #4 Badger3k
    October 11, 2006

    I’m not sure it could be done here – we’d have to have a similar compensation law for it to work. They could try to say the government was covering up or working with the aliens (as some “theorists” believe), but if they try to prove it in court it will probably go as well as ID in Dover or the autism-thimerisol case going on now. Although, someone could do this to get publicity, and a loss would be more “evidence” of a cover up.

    I guess the next case for that lawyer will be demonic possession.

  5. #5 Sastra
    October 11, 2006

    I don’t understand — who would the “abductees” be suing? In normal circumstances, one would expect it to be the “alleged abductors,” but this doesn’t seem likely here.

    Though if they can manage it, that would be one trial I would really want to see.

  6. #6 Coin
    October 11, 2006

    Oh God I can’t stop laughing

  7. #7 Kiwiwriter
    October 11, 2006

    Would this case be defended by Colonel Worf of “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country?”

  8. #8 Neelo
    October 11, 2006

    “These people could appeal for therapies or cures”

    That line made me laugh. I don’t know about cures, but I must say that anyone who believes they’ve been abducted by aliens could certainly use therapy.

  9. #9 HCN
    October 11, 2006

    Well then there are these guys:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySWLyhGNwyM

    Oh, and the original location (has a short commercial before film):
    http://www.atomfilms.com/af/content/non_abductees

  10. #10 Sastra
    October 11, 2006

    Personally, if I were the judge I would award them all copies of psychologist Susan Clancy’s very readable “Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Abducted by Space Aliens.” Hint: it’s not likely to be because “it really happened.”

  11. #11 James
    October 12, 2006

    Sastra: “I don’t understand — who would the “abductees” be suing? In normal circumstances, one would expect it to be the “alleged abductors,” but this doesn’t seem likely here.”

    Under German Law kidnap victims are entitled to compensation from the State. That is what the lawyer in this case is angling for.

    I think this trial could be quite good, after all it would create another opportunity for a judge to use “breathtaking inanity” in a decision.

  12. #12 Aoleon
    October 12, 2006

    People are being abducted… it’s completely true. Find out more here…

    http://www.aoleonthemartiangirl.com

    Aoleon The Martian Girl

  13. #13 Sastra
    October 12, 2006

    James:
    Ah, thank you — a difference in Germany’s laws. That makes more sense (well, on the part that makes sense, anyway.)

    Susan Clancy (who wrote “Abducted”) had done research on victims who had undergone all sorts of trauma (rape, the holocaust, child abuse), looking to see how memory functions in extreme situations. Her study of “alien abductees” revealed a couple of interesting things.

    First, the emotional arrousal and suffering did not appear to be faked, but very real. People who “remembered” being abducted into space ships — and even people who didn’t actually remember anything, but were convinced it happened anyway (the majority!)– seemed just as traumatized as victims who had clearly undergone real attacks.

    But second, there was one significant difference. When asked “do you wish the attack had never happened?” virtually 100% of rape and holocaust victims answered an unsurprising “yes.” Almost NONE of the “alien abductees” did.

    Despite being genuinely upset, the value of having been selected; of knowing there was something great and powerful “out there;” of having an explanation; of finally understanding why you’ve never felt like you fit in with ordinary people; all evidently helped to compensate for any sense of personal violation.

  14. #14 Robster
    October 12, 2006

    I would suggest that they sue the closest available representative of the aliens. Scientologists and Raelians.

  15. #15 Diora
    October 12, 2006

    Cool! So, how would one go about proving having being abducted by aliens?
    “These people could appeal for therapies or cures”
    Somehow I doubt they’ll ask for therapy instead of cash. I wonder, how much is being abducted worth.

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