Lawsuits as Extortion
Tort reformers often claim that some vexatious plaintiffs use the tort system as a form of extortion. The scam goes like this: A plaintiff with a legitimate - but frivolous - claim will sue a defendant hoping to force a settlement for more than the case is really worth.
Sadly, this really does happen. In fact, I know of one vexatious plaintiff who has done this to over 7,000 defendants. This plaintiff finds someone who has caused them a trivial amount of financial injury - $10 or so - sues them, and forces the defendant to settle for an average amount of $5,000. Yet tort reform would do nothing to stop these lawsuits. Why? Because they're filed by big business.
This article sums it up.