Lots of people want to know what voters meant just now when they mostly, in lots of places, swept ins from office and replaced them with outs.  Did they want to vent anger?  Express anxiety?  Demand a new path?  Something else?

Blawgletter suspects people wanted to say A Great Many Things, often all at the same time.  And we bet plenty of voters can't say exactly what bothered them so much.  They just feel that something has gone wrong.  Bad wrong.

What?  And what does the what mean for lawsuits involving businesses?

We've noticed over the last several years growing impatience with organizations that don't act responsibly.  How many people do you believe feel upset at subprime borrowers for taking out loans they knew they couldn't repay?  At the mortgage companies that gave them the money knowing they couldn't repay?  At the loan servicers who can't find the paperwork or, worse, sign affidavits pretending that they can and did?  At investment banks for packaging thousands of the high-risk mortgage loans and selling them as AAA stuff to investors for millions and then taking bailout money to tide them over?  At the government for letting the whole thing happen in the first place — and then seeming powerless to fix it?

We could also talk about health care, the auto industry, taxes, deficit spending, late fees, unemployment, and on and on.  People seem to us more than anything angry, anxious, unhappy — you name it — that nobody seems willing, at last, to take responsibility.  Responsibility for mistakes, responsibility to fix them.  Now more than in our memory.

Which brings us to what could happen lawsuit-wise.  In a word, we think:  more.  For example:

  • a greater willingness by governmental entities to use litigation as a (high-profile) tool to combat and punish what citizens may view as harmful private irresponsibility.
  • a multitude of private suits against companies whose conduct over the last couple of years has earned them a public odor of selfishness, arrogance, and greed.
  • heavier emphasis, especially at trial, on showing that the other side behaved in an irresponsible way and that your side acted — and continues to act — responsibly.

Ponder this responsibility idea.  See if it resonates with you.  And tell us what you think.