One mother is about to learn what the law cannot do for you. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

An Indian couple is suing their son for mental torture after, according to them, they spent their life savings on his education and lavish wedding but he hasn’t produced any grandkids for them. They’re asking for six hundred fifty thousand dollars unless he gives them a grandchild in the next year. He may need a family therapist but you don’t need a lawyer to tell you that’s not the kind of suit that would prevail in any U.S. court.  

Even still, it’s a mistake frequently made by American litigants. Not the belief that a court can order grandkids, but the mistaken understanding of what you can, and what you can’t, win in court. Because many people who think they’ve been wronged are looking to force behavior. If I win, that guy is going to have to do what he said he would, or apologize, eat his hat. But a judge can’t order any of that. All you can win in court is money. Which can buy stuff, but it can’t buy an apology—or a grandkid for that matter.

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