Posts tagged as:

personal responsibility

Glasgow, Kentucky: “A former Glasgow police officer is suing a Barren County gun store after being handed a loaded gun from under the counter and accidentally shooting his finger off.” [WBKO]

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Sad on multiple levels [AP]:

[Omaha assistant city attorney Tom] Mumgaard said courts in Nebraska have decided cities must protect people, even if they make poor choices.

Most people realize that cities must restrict potentially dangerous activities to protect people and guard against costly lawsuits, said Kenneth Bond, a New York lawyer who represents local governments. In the past, people might have embraced a Wild West philosophy of individuals being solely responsible for their actions, but now they expect government to prevent dangers whenever possible.

I’d say there’s more than one kind of downhill toboggan momentum we might want to worry about. Commentary: Lenore Skenazy (“If we believe that ‘whenever possible’ = ‘imagining all possible dangers, no matter how remote, and actively preventing them all, all the time, even by drastic decrees,’ then we get a society that puts 100% safety above any other cause, including fairness, convenience, exercise, rationality — and delight”); Ira Stoll (“This is the sort of story that you’d think might build some political support for tort reform.”).

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“A Long Island woman says in a lawsuit that her 29-year-old son died in a drunken driving crash because police decided not to arrest him on DWI charges earlier that night…. Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday’s is also named in the lawsuit, because [the late Peter] Fedden was drinking there before the two crashes, according to [Fedden family lawyer Harry] Thomasson.” [NBC New York, auto-plays]

New Jersey: Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Dennis O’Brien has granted summary judgment to the defendant law firm of Wolff, Helies, Duggan Spaeth and Lucas and dismissed Thomas Hickey’s suit over his injuries in falling off a reclining chair in its office during a deposition. Hickey’s lawyers had argued that the law firm as owner and maintainer of the chair was negligent not to check its settings for safety before each use. The court found that whatever hazards might inhere in the chair’s low-tension setting, Hickey had been sitting in it for 90 minutes which was “sufficient time for him to learn the chair was designed to tilt and to appreciate its tension setting.” [Ashley Peskoe, NJ.com]

More chronicles of office-chair falls here (law office, Palm Beach, Fla.), here (law office, New York, N.Y.), here (NYC police detective shot by self in tippy chair), and here (U.K. law firm ad).

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“A man who fell off a cliff while intoxicated can sue the people who brought him there and waited hours to get him help, a California appeals court ruled.” [Jeff Gorman, Courthouse News]

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Nigel Sykes, currently serving a 15-year sentence, is suing employees of Seasons Pizza in Newport, Del. who allegedly tackled him as he was robbing the pizzeria at gunpoint. His suit, filed without a lawyer, asks in excess of $260,000, saying employees of the dining establishment beat him up and poured hot soup on him. “While U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson tossed out several of Sykes’ claims, she allowed the case to move forward against the pizza employees, two arresting officers and Seasons.” Sykes, whom police linked to a series of robberies at a bank and various retail establishments, had filed an earlier suit with different factual allegations which was dismissed on procedural grounds. He has also claimed that he should be allowed to take back his plea in the criminal case, arguing in a motion, “I’m not good at making good choices.” [Sean O'Sullivan, Wilmington News Journal]

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“A woman using a Grand Central Terminal stairwell fell and broke her ankle last year because a spooky advertisement for the [Showtime serial-killer] series startled her, a new lawsuit charges. Ajanaffy Njewadda and her husband, a former Gambian ambassador, are suing the MTA and the cable network, accusing them of placing the ad in a dangerous spot for pedestrians.” [James Fanelli, DNAInfo New York]

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Menlo Park, Calif.: A 90-year-old lawyer’s BMW SUV jumped the curb and pinned two 6-year-old twin brothers against a wall, seriously injuring them. Now the driver, Edward Nelson, “states in his response to the lawsuit that the plaintiffs ‘carelessly, recklessly and negligently conducted and maintained themselves’ in a way that contributed to the accident. Furthermore, ‘knowing the probable consequences thereof, (they) placed themselves in a position of danger and voluntarily participated in all the activities,’ and so assumed any related risks. Finally, the plaintiffs failed to ‘reasonably mitigate’ any damages they sustained.” [Sandy Brundage, The Almanac (Peninsula communities, Bay Area)]

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“Two Northeastern Pennsylvania bars have settled for a combined $6.6 million with a man who became quadriplegic after driving drunk and crashing his car into a tree.” Jason Mercado sued two East Stroudsburg, Pa. bars on the theory that they had inexperienced bartenders and staff who should have known better than to serve him. Attorney Robert Sink, who represented Mercado, said the case was not without its difficulties: “if the jury found the drunk driver was more than 50 percent at fault, then he would have gotten nothing” under Pennsylvania law. The insurers defending the case decided that the risk of a verdict otherwise was worth $6.6 million. [Legal Intelligencer]

P.S. Redditors discuss.

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“A mom found to be insane when she drowned her three young children can’t get money from the wrongful death settlements that followed their killings, a Nassau judge ruled [last week].” [Newsday, earlier]

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“A Romanian man who has admitted to stealing masterpieces by Gauguin, Monet and Picasso on Tuesday threatened to sue the Dutch museum he took them from for making his robbery too easy.” [AFP/ArtDaily]

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Over Labor Day weekend, hundreds of teenagers held an illegal party in the upstate New York home of former NFL star Brian Holloway. They left a wide swath of photos on social media, and Holloway put up a website identifying more than 100 of the 300 partiers. “But rather than apologize to Holloway for their children’s behavior, some parents have contacted their lawyers to see what legal action they can take” against him. [New York Daily News; response from radio personalities Chuck and Kelly, WGY]

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“… wants cut of wrongful death settlements.” “A mentally disturbed suburban New York woman who drowned her three young children in a bathtub in 2008 wants a cut of $350,000 in wrongful death settlements obtained by the children’s fathers, attorneys said Friday. Leatrice Brewer, 33, was found not guilty because of mental disease or defect in the deaths of her children, so her attorneys say she should not be subject to laws that bar convicts from profiting from their crimes.” [Associated Press/NY Daily News]

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Albuquerque: “The wife of an armed robbery suspect shot dead by a shop clerk said the clerk was wrong, and now she has filed a civil lawsuit claiming wrongful death….’He [deceased robber Ramon Sedillo] does bear some fault, but it’s like a pie. You divide out the fault accordingly, and [store clerk Matthew] Beasley could have done something different,’ [Sedillo family lawyer Amavalise] Jaramillo said.” [KRQE]

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The family, now represented by Chicago’s Corboy & Demetrio, is refiling a suit dismissed earlier [Deadspin]:

According to The New York Times, the complaint alleges that the N.H.L., through the actions/inactions of the teams and team physicians charged with caring for Boogaard, breached a duty to Boogaard in failing to monitor his prescription drug use. The suit also alleges that the league’s substance abuse program violated its own rules when it failed to suspend or reprimand him for his several lapses, even in the face of multiple failed drug tests and his admissions that he occasionally purchased the drugs illegally.

P.S. In other sports-lawsuit news, “Vijay Singh sued the PGA Tour on Wednesday for exposing him to ‘public humiliation and ridicule’ during a 12-week investigation into his use of deer-antler spray that ended last week when the tour dropped its case against him.” [ESPN, auto-plays video]

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And now William Lawler is suing the Amarillo, Tex. sports bar that served both of them earlier in the evening, saying it should have cut them off. The suit, which seeks $1 million or more,

also claims the two had an “amiable relationship, and would have never fought were it not for their extreme level of inebriation.”

Lawler’s lawyer Ryan Turman said he thinks they have a solid case.

“We feel like we’ve got solid facts. We feel like Pink is responsible,” he said. “You just trust a jury to do what is right on these.”

He said the lawsuit was filed in accordance with the Dram Shop Act.

[Amarillo Globe-News, more, Jon Mark Beilue column; & welcome Above the Law readers]

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Great moments in blame-shifting: In Dade City, Fla., an ex-con with cocaine and other drugs in his system tried to outrun the cops in a high speed chase, then veered into a farm neighborhood where he smashed his car into two trees on a one-lane dead-end private road, instantly killing himself and a passenger. Now the estate of his passenger (who was also on drugs) is suing 21 local residents who jointly maintain the private road, saying they should have kept it clear of trees and did not provide adequate signage. “There were no apparent visual roadway obstructions or environmental factors that would have contributed to this crash,” a report from the Florida Highway Patrol stated at the time. [Tampa Bay Times](& Alkon)

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“A former California law student who suffered a spinal cord injury he attributes to nitrous oxide has sued three head shops that sold him the substance.” Jason Starn says after two months of steadily abusing the gas he developed Vitamin B-12 depletion, a side effect of overexposure to the compound. [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal; Sacramento Bee]

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