15-year-old honor student and SADD member Lindsey Billman snuck out of a slumber party with three of her friends and had an alcohol-fueled night with two 18-year-old boys. Around 2:45 a.m., two boys and two girls had the clever idea of stacking milk crates to reach an air-conditioning unit that allowed them to clamber onto the roof of Anna S. Kuhl Elementary School. The two couples went to separate sides of the roof. Billman and Nicholas Moscatiello then had the further clever idea of doing whatever they were doing while sitting on a skylight, which didn’t support their weight, and the 33-foot-fall onto the gymnasium floor below killed Billman.
This is, alleges an Orange County, New York, suit filed by Lindsey’s parents, the fault of the school district and the city of Port Jervis, New York. After all, the district was “irresponsible” stacking milk crates by the school. A curious choice of words: out of the number of people irresponsible here, it seems to me that the district is at most a distant eighth. (Steve Sacco, “Parents suing Port Jervis, school in girl’s fatal fall through roof”, Times Herald-Record, Jul. 26; Adam Bosch, “1 teen dead, 1 critical in fall”, Times Herald-Record, Jan. 27). The attorney is Corey Stark, a 2001 law-school graduate in New York City who has single-handedly refuted the proposition that New York state needs more law schools. (Thought experiment: if the milk crates are an attractive nuisance, why isn’t the dairy liable?)