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A Florida attorney who worked on what has recently been voted the most frivolous lawsuit in recent memory says he wouldn’t do it over again, but he insists that the case has been dramatically distorted. In 1995, the Reverend William Christian and Carolyn Christian sued a seeing-eye-dog school for negligence after a blind man, in training with a new dog at a mall, stepped on and fractured Christian’s toe. The couple sought $160,000 in reimbursement for pain, suffering, humiliation, disability and medical bills. In an online poll of 6,135, orchestrated by the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch (, C hristian v. Southeastern Guide Dogs was voted, by a 42 percent to 23 percent margin, as being so ridiculous that even a dog wouldn’t file it. The poll adapted James Percelay’s tart descriptions of five cases in a new book, “Whiplash! America’s Most Frivolous Lawsuits.” Bradenton, Fla., lawyer Don Grieco is named in the news clips as the Christians’ lawyer, even though all other attorneys in the case say that his boss, Melton Little, filed the case, oversaw its discovery, and took it to mediation. Little did not return phone calls by press time. “I understand that, at first look, it’s a horrible case,” said Grieco, who was a junior lawyer at the time. Yet, Grieco insists that the case was not frivolous. “I’ll tell you what: It had some merit. If it wasn’t the blind, it’d be a decent case,” he contended. He said that it was fundamentally about mis-supervision: one trainer simultaneously watching several blind novices who were training their dogs. Grieco’s description contrast with most public descriptions of the case. Florida Governor Jeb Bush cited it as an example of society’s shameful momentum; dozens of international news outlets ran stories right from the Christians’ yard — the vast number scorning the Christians for suing the school after the blind man died. Absent from most other retrievable descriptions of the case are the facts that Vernon Henley, the blind man, suffered from diabetes, weighed well over 200 pounds, and had trouble controlling his legs. The trainer had several opportunities to avert the fateful collision, Grieco asserted. Percelay’s tale ends with the client, abashed by the publicity, giving up and settling. No, Grieco insisted, it was the lawyers who withdrew, after securing a $5,000 settlement offer from the school’s insurance company. But the couple held out for more. “We had gotten money on the table,” said Grieco, who said his firm advised them to “take it and run.”

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