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  1. #1
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Kids these days...

    From the New York Times:

    Citing cases dating back as far as 1928, a judge has ruled that a young girl accused of running down an elderly woman while racing a bicycle with training wheels on a Manhattan sidewalk two years ago can be sued for negligence.

    The ruling by the judge, Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, did not find that the girl was liable, but merely permitted a lawsuit brought against her, another boy and their parents to move forward.

    The suit that Justice Wooten allowed to proceed claims that in April 2009, Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, who were both 4, were racing their bicycles, under the supervision of their mothers, Dana Breitman and Rachel Kohn, on the sidewalk of a building on East 52nd Street. At some point in the race, they struck an 87-year-old woman named Claire Menagh, who was walking in front of the building and, according to the complaint, was “seriously and severely injured,” suffering a hip fracture that required surgery. She died three months later.

    Her estate sued the children and their mothers, claiming they had acted negligently during the accident. In a response, Juliet’s lawyer, James P. Tyrie, argued that the girl was not “engaged in an adult activity” at the time of the accident — “She was riding her bicycle with training wheels under the supervision of her mother” — and was too young to be held liable for negligence.

    In legal papers, Mr. Tyrie added, “Courts have held that an infant under the age of 4 is conclusively presumed to be incapable of negligence.” (Rachel and Jacob Kohn did not seek to dismiss the case against them.)

    But Justice Wooten declined to stretch that rule to children over 4. On Oct. 1, he rejected a motion to dismiss the case because of Juliet’s age, noting that she was three months shy of turning 5 when Ms. Menagh was struck, and thus old enough to be sued.

    Mr. Tyrie “correctly notes that infants under the age of 4 are conclusively presumed incapable of negligence,” Justice Wooten wrote in his decision, referring to the 1928 case. “Juliet Breitman, however, was over the age of 4 at the time of the subject incident. For infants above the age of 4, there is no bright-line rule.”

    The New York Law Journal reported the decision on Thursday.

    Mr. Tyrie had also argued that Juliet should not be held liable because her mother was present; Justice Wooten disagreed.

    “A parent’s presence alone does not give a reasonable child carte blanche to engage in risky behavior such as running across a street,” the judge wrote. He added that any “reasonably prudent child,” who presumably has been told to look both ways before crossing a street, should know that dashing out without looking is dangerous, with or without a parent there. The crucial factor is whether the parent encourages the risky behavior; if so, the child should not be held accountable.

    In Ms. Menagh’s case, however, there was nothing to indicate that Juliet’s mother “had any active role in the alleged incident, only that the mother was ‘supervising,’ a term that is too vague to hold meaning here,” he wrote. He concluded that there was no evidence of Juliet’s “lack of intelligence or maturity” or anything to “indicate that another child of similar age and capacity under the circumstances could not have reasonably appreciated the danger of riding a bicycle into an elderly woman.”

    Mr. Tyrie, Dana Breitman and Rachel Kohn did not respond to messages seeking comment.
    This is honestly the funniest thing I've read all week.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    6w7 sp/so


    Honestly I find it rather pathetic; whatever happened to common sense?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    Yeah, seems stupid but stuff like this is major when determining parental responsibilities, adult responsibilities, obligations and paramountcy of the child issues in welfare, "custody" and residency cases, schools and all sorts of health professionals will be bound by some of the implications of cases like this and they all set precedents for other cases too.

    Although I'm interested in the topic of negligence per se too, when can you really consider others to be negligent and liable when its your welfare that has been jeopardised? I think its fare that people are considered liable to a certain extent but I think its gone to crazy, crazy extremes, I'd have seen a time that the attention would have been focused upon the elderly person in this case, why where they stepping out in front of racing kids on bicycles, didnt they know what would happen?

    I suffered a collision in a car not too long ago, the woman who hit me was an asshole, they lied in court and their story was bullshit, the judge more or less stopped them mid sentence because they where going to make the situation even worse for themselves and held that my account was true, however, they held that on the basis of legal precidents, judge/case decisions, made in England I should not simply have taken up position in the road and indicated a turn but made sure that other motorists on the road also understood what my maneourve and indicator signal meant.

    The insurance agencies had really been fighting it out and it went 50-50 but there had been a bit of discussion I suspect between the barristers about what we where there for and they'd decided I wanted "a day in court" which I thought was ridiculous and they even asked me afterward was I not satisfied! The barrister for the woman basically told her to shut the fuck up because as the hearing was finished they asked something about a personal injuries claim and said they had a sore neck (at which point I was ready to kick their ass).

    The law in the UK, I think mirrors other develops too in, like EU law, UN law, developments in social services provision etc. which I think are ultimately unhealthy, the create unrealistic expectations of others and of the state, which can eventually foster a sense of grievance and grudge. Its like on the one hand there is "I am retarded, why can/wont/dont other people take that into account and make the proper allowances for me?! Why doesnt anyone care?!" and on the other there are I think fairly sound grievance that the few remaining "steady" or "smart" individuals HAVE to make allowances for others and actively seek to operate with that in mind.

  4. #4
    ¡MI TORTA! Amethyst's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    7w8 so/sx
    SLE Ti


    Sounds like interesting things to write about are slim to none.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    If a dog was allowed to run loose and it mauled a child to death, the owner would be liable. Why not apply the same principle here?

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