N.J.: “Drunken woman who fell off chair can sue Belmar cops”

Belmar, New Jersey: “A woman who pounded double-vodka cocktails at 7 a.m. and then repeatedly fell off a chair at police headquarters can proceed with a lawsuit against officers who arrested her for drunken driving, an appellate panel has ruled.” [Kathleen Hopkins, Asbury Park Press]

6 Comments

  • Sure, why not. Even judges need a good giggle on the bench from time to time. I suspect it helps what is probably otherwise a quite depressing job..

    Question is, do we want a judge who is versed in the classics and can apply THEM to their opinion against the plaintiff, or one who has watched every Benny Hill re-run and will be applying THEM to their opinion against the plaintiff instead,

  • Found the complaint: http://lmgcorporate.com/wfsb/news/complaint.pdf

    CNN is reporting that plaintiff Jennifer Connell now claims she was just seeking her medical bills reimbursed, but apparently she was also suing for pain and suffering, lost wages, and perhaps loss of enjoyment from daily activities.

    • This comment and citation of the complaint seems to be in the wrong place and should be in the ““New York woman sues 12-year-old nephew over hug that broke her wrist” thread.

    • This should be in the Connell thread

  • Let’s acknowledge what really happened in the appellate court. The appellate court did not say the plaintiff had a good lawsuit or that she should receive one nickle for her troubles. Rather, the appellate court rejected the government’s argument that the officers in question had absolute blanket immunity under the state’s Tort Claims Act. That is a GOOD thing. If the government had prevailed, it would have led to less accountability for not only police, but for all other public employees and in unlimited contexts, which would be BAD.

    Yes, the underlying lawsuit is arguably frivolous. But half the posts on this blog are rightly concerned with government accountability, so the appellate court ruling is something we should be quite happy about.

  • I don’t think this lawsuit is frivolous. Yes, the woman was irresponsible for getting falling down drunk, but once the police took her out of her car, it would have been obvious to any reasonable person that she was incapacitated. Having assumed control over her, they acquired the duty to take reasonable care of her, including seating her in such a way that she would not repeatedly fall out of her chair.

    The charge of refusing to take a breathalyzer test is also bogus. It doesn’t sound like she refused – it sounds like she was too drunk to understand what she was to do or to comply with the instructions.