Harrisburg mayor-elect traumatized out of pumping gas, suit says

by Walter Olson on November 17, 2009

“In a 2000 civil lawsuit filed in Bucks County, Linda Thompson claimed a faulty pump sprayed her with gasoline, leaving her in damaged clothing and with a lingering fear of filling up her cars with gasoline. … ‘(Thompson) is unable to psychologically pump her own gas,’ the suit states. It also notes that ‘(Thompson) becomes ill upon the smell of gas and will not seek to obtain gas until absolutely necessary as a result of this incident.'” Earlier this month Thompson was elected mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital. [Harrisburg Patriot-News on still-pending lawsuit and election]

{ 6 comments }

1 Titus 11.17.09 at 9:42 am

Funny, I can’t pump gas psychologically either—I’m stuck doing it physically.

2 Mia 11.17.09 at 12:09 pm

She needs to get a bike.

3 Jim Collins 11.17.09 at 12:09 pm

She could move to New Jersey. End of problem.

4 David Schwartz 11.17.09 at 10:37 pm

The claims seem ridiculous until you find out she also claims she was severely burned (is seeking something like $150,000, not millions). If she was in fact severely burned, then the other claims are not quite as ridiculous as the first sound. (But then, why add these ridiculous-sounding claims at all?)

5 Walter Olson 11.18.09 at 8:38 am

Reading through the news report as a whole, I would be wary of assuming that Thompson claims the spilled gasoline blew up or caught fire (“severe burns” from such an incident would surely rate a higher damages demand, and any news organization covering the story would have wanted to provide more details). A reading that seems more likely — though I welcome correction if I’m wrong — is that she claims that coming in contact with the gasoline resulted in skin irritation which she characterizes as “burns” (i.e., “chemical burns”) of a “severe” nature.

6 David Schwartz 11.18.09 at 10:30 am

I think that is probably more likely. I can’t imagine the gasoline could have ignited without that being mentioned in the coverage. In that case, calling her (likely very minor, if any) skin irritation “severe burns” fits the pattern of ludicrous exaggeration for virtually nonexistent injuries.

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