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The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Nov. 16

1. Papa John's Poppycock

Mama Mia! This Papa John's (PZZA) text message lawsuit is a textbook case in stupidity.

Shares of the pizza purveyor got flattened this week, falling as much as 4%, over a class-action lawsuit that could potentially cost the company more than $250 million. The lawsuit, certified last Friday in a U.S. District Court in Seattle, claims Papa John's violated state and federal law by hiring a marketing company called OnTime4U to send unsolicited pizza deals to unsuspecting people's cell phones.

For its part, Papa John's cut its ties to OnTime4U back in April 2010 when it was first sued over the tasteless texts, telling franchise managers that the practice "is most likely illegal" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. Caroline Oyler, Papa John's head of legal affairs, dismissed the suit, maintaining that the texts were sent "by third-party vendors and a small number of franchisees."

Oy Vey Oyler, we could not agree more. Let's be honest, these whiners were receiving unwanted texts, not being waterboarded. No way is that relatively minor annoyance worth damages of $250 million, or nearly a quarter of the market cap of Papa John's.

The lawsuit contends that more than half a million such texts were beamed to Papa John's customers with some folks complaining that they received the messages multiple times a day and some in the middle of the night. The attorney representing the class is pushing for the plaintiffs to pocket $500 or more in damages for each text message.

Oh for the love of tort reform! Somebody send that guy a text telling him that silly cases like this are gumming up our court system and diverting American businesses from getting the economy going again.

We would do it ourselves, but we don't want to get sued.

--Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York.

Stock quotes in this article: LMT, JCP, MSFT, ANF, PZZA 
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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