In the New York legislature, bowling alleys are hoping to win a law protecting them from slip-fall liability arising after their customers wear store-rented shoes outside the building and either slip there or track snow or other slippery matter back inside. Weather hazards have been tripping up more customers of the ordinarily indoor sport, it seems, since the state enforced a complete indoor smoking ban. The trial lawyer association is dead set against the bill; its president claims that the bill “undercuts the constitutional right to a trial by a jury” — presumably on the theory that it somehow undercuts trial by jury for a legislature to roll back any instance of liability for anyone anywhere. That’s sheer nonsense, of course — otherwise, it’d have been unconstitutional for legislatures around most of the country to have abolished the old heartbalm torts of breach of promise to marry and alienation of affection. [Albany Times-Union via Future of Capitalism]
Floating staircases, indoor rock formations, open firepits, moss-slicked ledges: if you try to raise a family in a Mid-Century Modern home, don’t be surprised if someone calls Child Protective Services on you. [Projectophile]
Lowering the Bar on the complaint in a San Francisco trip-fall case:
Sure, you could write “plaintiff tripped on the curb,” but that almost makes it sound like it might have been plaintiff’s fault. Writing instead that “the curb disrupted the motion of plaintiff’s foot” makes it clear that the curb was the bad actor here. …
The curb’s co-defendant, Gravity, settled before trial.
Through garden tours and charitable dinners, Chrissie D’Esopo has raised some $175,000 over the years at her beautiful home in Avon, Ct., near Hartford. Following a lawsuit over a slip and fall — not to mention the claim filed by the visitor’s uninjured husband — she’s decided to call it quits, but might reconsider on hearing of a recently passed Connecticut recreational-immunity law that extends legal protection to property owners who do not profit from a visitor’s presence. Notes a commenter: “This is why we can’t have nice things.” [Hartford Courant]
…had a great career in litigation after his fall [Pearls Before Swine cartoon, Sept. 23]
The site My OB Said WHAT?!? sums up a paradox that many hospital visitors have noticed:
“You’re not ready to leave until you can walk out of here.” – L&D Nurse to mom being wheeled out upon discharge.
Many hospitals do hold to a formal policy on the subject. Thus Methodist Hospital of Houston: “When your doctor has discharged you and you are ready to leave, you will be escorted out in a wheelchair by hospital staff.” Why necessarily in a wheelchair, when you may be perfectly capable of walking?
The Chamber-backed Southeast Texas Record has a theory. It’s the same theory endorsed at Yahoo Answers. As for whether patients actually fall and hurt themselves on the way out of the hospital, it appears from this Eastern District of Pennsylvania case (PDF) that, yes, it happens.
Jonesboro, Ga.: the defense lawyer called it “a fun fact pattern” involving “quite a cast of characters,” while the plaintiff’s lawyer acknowledged taking the case to trial even while knowing “that there was a less than 10 percent chance of winning on liability. … I never turn down the chance to take a case to trial when there is a real injury involved, no matter how tough the liability picture.” Does that imply that he represents other clients whose injury isn’t as “real”? [Fulton County Daily Report]
A British Columbia court has allowed a suit to proceed arguing that a government lending program which included inspection of the property to be renovated could incur a duty to third persons who might later fall on a staircase whose faults allegedly would have been detected had inspection not been negligent. [Erik Magraken; Benoit v. Banfield]
A judge has ruled that an elderly Manhattan woman can sue her landlord and a guide-dog provider over a fall she suffered on a step at her building. Gloria Clark argues that her earlier guide dogs had always guided her around a dangerous step over 26 years of living in the building but that while she was auditioning a new guide dog the dog’s trainer did not properly take care against the hazard. [New York Daily News]
British Columbia lawyer Erik Magraken shares this photo.
A Wisconsin personal injury firm wants locals to send them word of icy conditions in shopping walkways and suchlike places — as part of a public service campaign, it goes without saying. [Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Warshafsky law firm Spread the Sand]
CBS News takes a look at some instances in which in-store cameras captured footage of, e.g., victims carefully positioning the spills on which they intended to slip. More: Legal Blog Watch.