Everyone is talking about the disgraced Costa cruise captain Schettino's outrageous lawsuit against Costa claiming that the cruise line wrongfully terminated his employment.
The outrage is appropriate. After all, this is a captain who interrupted dinner with his mistress only long enough to run his ship into the rocks and kill 32 of his crew and guests and then hop into a lifeboat and leave the carnage he caused behind.
What are the words that come to mind when you think of this captain? "Coward" and "chicken" come to my mind.
With news of his lawsuit against Costa, another word which starts with "c" comes to mind - "chutzpah," a Yiddish word meaning audacity.
Law blogger Eugene Volokh noted in an article entitled Lawsuit Shmawsuit that the word chutzpah has been used 231 times in American legal opinions, 220 times after 1980.
Shortly after the Concordia disaster, I tweeted what I thought was an outlandish joke, namely that captain Schettino had hired me to file a slip-and-fall lawsuit against Costa after Schettino tried to justify his abandonment of the ship by claiming that he somehow slipped and fell into a lifeboat. Little could I comprehend that the captain would have the audacity to actually file a lawsuit against Costa.
When the criminal trial against Schettino is over, lets hope that he is convicted of all charges pending against him. And he is also found guillty of chutzpah.