• ACtually it seems meritorious. they plan on suing the doctor who delivered the teen as a child, for apparently dropping the child repeatedly on the head. 🙂

    (yes, i am joking)

  • I hope this young lady doesn’t have any aspirations of becoming a commuter-train operator.

  • Actually, an untended manhole without any sort of cones or signs to draw attention is pretty hazardous. Even without texting, it would be possible to step through a manhole without seeing it.

  • Seems meritous to me. Negligent worker leaves open manhole momentarily unmarked/uncordoned (and apolgizes for it). I’ve almost stepped in to open access grates for pipes before. Though not large enough to fall in to, they are certainly large/deep enough to badly twist an ankle on. Granted, I did notice them, but I certainly felt like they were close calls… and I don’t text message.

  • Yeah, an open manhole is going to be a no-brainer for any jury. Even with contributory negligence on the part of the texting teen, there’s no excuse, really, for having an open manhole lying in wait. If there were cones or barriers, then the case might change, but otherwise, the taxpayers get to enjoy subsidizing city workers’ dumb behavior.

  • You know, back when I was young, if I fell into a sewer while not paying attention, my mom would just ask, “Did that feel good? It will when it stops hurting. Now go take out the garbage.” 😉

  • Do the people who feel okay calling this meritorious feel okay with the inevitable “anxiety, loss of sleep, inability to function socially, etc.” that will be alleged by the plaintiff? It’s one thing to say “this shouldn’t have happened” and quite another to say “this shouldn’t have happened, and the only way to make it right is to transfer tax dollars to the parents of a girl who can’t be bothered to look where she is putting her feet”.

    The girl lost a shoe through her own negligence. The city should probably send out a memo reminding people that pedestrians are too stupid to look where they are walking, so it might be nice to mark certain hazards. Why anyone thinks that lawyers need to be paid because of that is beyond me.

  • Paul: No, excess is excess; overlawyering is overlawyering. That does not detract from the fact that the city is at fault here, through the action or inaction of its employees. The city’d be wise to settle for a negotiated amount to avoid taking it to the crap-shoot known as ‘trial’.

    It might also kick some butt in the department responsible for manholes and their covers and any other department that might have played a role in avoiding the error.

    As has been noted on this blog before, the entire concept of personal responsibility seems to have gone missing in the US courts. That is the fact that needs to be faced.

  • If she does win, it should be for no more than a change of clothes, and possibly a new phone if her old one was waterlogged. Even those damages should be divided in half because she is stupid.

  • God forbid the girl walks into a parked car and skinned her knee, half the people commenting would be fine with a lawsuit for negligently leaving a car parked on a street. Personally, I’m with Mia on this one. Lesson learned for both parties.

  • It isn’t actually clear that she was attending to her cell phone and not to where she was going, is it? The news accounts merely say that her friend had handed her the phone and that she had opened it (which can be done without looking at it). Is there evidence that she was actually texting?

  • Isn’t there a long line of cases abut drunks hurting themselves on damaged sidewalks or street hazards? I seem to remember some such from law school. I do not recall what the general rule in those cases is, though.

  • @Tom T.

    I thought it was a blind guy and a manhole. At least that ‘s what I remember from torts

  • It doesn’t matter whether the manhole was unmarked or was fenced in by barbed wire and protected by a proximity alarm and 1000 watts worth of flashing lights, the kids parents will sue and they will win because that’s how things work.

  • I do not think she deserves a significant some of money. It seems there was no serious injury, which is fortunate. If there was any serious injury, then I think the city should be responsible. Actually, I think the worker should be responsible, but liability does not seem to work that way. I am just dismissing those who would imply that the workers who left the manhole uncovered without marking it were not at fault here. They were probably in violation of their workplace protocol. They had actually left the manhole open and unattended while they went to get cones, if I read correctly. Even without texting, a person does not always see what is at his feet.