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Grounds For A Lawsuit

(File photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

(File photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Do you actually have to be harmed to file a lawsuit?

Years before actor Matthew McConaughey won an Academy Award, he lost a lawsuit.

Apparently as a teenager, McConaughey had used mink oil, marketed to him as a cure for acne but it actually made his complexion worse. His complexion got better when he stopped using the product so he sued for $30,000.

McConaughey knew he’d lost when the mink oil maker’s lawyer showed evidence of the award he’d won, for most handsome. Which leads one to wonder: was the discussion of losing a lawsuit really a way for McConaughey to remind the world how handsome he is? And also, if the mink oil didn’t do what the makers said it would, why can’t he win a lawsuit?

As to the first question, Matthew, I believe you’re handsome. And to the second, the court system isn’t really the best way to resolve your grudges. If you believe you are a consumer who has been misled, then you should file a complaint with the Attorney General of your state or with the Better Business Bureau.

If you’ve lost money or faced actual injuries or permanent damage, then by all means you can file a lawsuit to be made whole. But unlike what people think, not getting exactly what you anticipated isn’t a lottery ticket; some harms aren’t actually compensable and you needn’t clog the court system over your clogged pores.

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