Donald Trump has filed suit against comedian Bill Maher for comments Maher made on the Tonight Show regarding Trump's parentage. Many in the legal world find the suit to be the definition of a frivolous lawsuit and are quick to point out that tort reform would not have stopped this suit from being filed.
In an attempt to be funny, Bill Maher challenged Donald Trump to produce documentation proving that Trump is not the son of an orangutan. If Trump were to provide this proof, Maher would pay $5 million to charity. Maher's comments were made when he was a guest on the Tonight Show and were in response to an offer Donald Trump had made to President Barack Obama. Trump offered to pay $5 million to charity if President Obama would produce his high school transcripts for inspection by the public. Maher found this proposition to be ridiculous, and therefore, made a similar proposition to Trump. However, unlike President Obama, Trump responded to Maher by mailing a copy of his birth certificate via his attorney to Maher with a letter stating that he was not the son of an orangutan and demanding the $5 million promised.
After Maher refused to pay the $5 million, Donald Trump filed suit in California against Maher for breaching a contract. Trump insists that Maher's offer made from the couch of the Tonight Show constituted an oral agreement and since he responded then Maher was obligated to pay the money promised.
This case has spawned a discussion on frivolous lawsuits and attorneys who practice tort litigation are quick to point out that any tort reform that has been proposed would not have hindered Donald Trump from filing this suit. According to the article linked below, tort filings have declined substantially, while contract claims, like Trump's, increased 63% from 1999 - 2008. This leaves many in the legal world questioning if tort reform would do anything to stop such outlandishly frivolous suits like this one brought by Donald Trump.