By most injury-suit standards, it’s hardly exorbitant: “Curtis Brooner is only seeking $9,026.16. That is still a lot given the nature of the alleged injury, namely being locked for an hour in the bathroom of a Burger King in Wood Village, Oregon. … Here, though, it’s not the amount but how it was calculated: Mr. Brooner is demanding the equivalent of one Whopper meal per week for the duration of his remaining life expectancy, which he and his attorney estimate will be another 22 years.” [Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar]
“A white Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black 19-year-old college student and accidentally killed a neighbor has filed a lawsuit against the teenager’s estate, arguing the shooting left him traumatized.” The lawsuit by Robert Rialmo is a countersuit against a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Antonio LeGrier, father of Quintonio LeGrier. [AP, Washington Post]
P.S. Ann Althouse on why reporters should not leave the counterclaim angle buried in paragraph 6:
Rialmo didn’t file the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed against him. When someone sues you, you’re required to answer, and you are intensely motivated to think through whether you have any counterclaims. … I understand why the estate’s lawyer wants to portray this as outrageous, but it’s not as if the police officer reached out and dragged this family from its private condition of mourning into the brutality of litigation.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones doesn’t seem to appreciate the gutsiness of a Downey, Calif. woman’s actions, saying he finds it “shocking” that “a trusted financial institution manager would be a co-conspirator in a bank robbery and staged kidnapping, and then have the audacity to file a bogus workers’ comp claim for traumatic stress and believe she could get away with it.” [Insurance Journal, back in August but missed then; Matt Sutkoski, Matt of All Trades]
“A former University of California, Davis police officer who was fired after pepper spraying a group of students staging a protest in 2011, and whose actions went viral on the internet, is seeking workers’ compensation settlement, claiming the incident left him psychologically injured.” [ABC News]
Readers have been sending clips like this about a recent award to a Buffalo-area landowner whose property was inadvertently flooded by a neighboring developer. But this longer Associated Press report gives some context:
Lawyers on both sides said Monday that Marinaccio’s frog testimony amounted to just moments of a more than three-week trial — and may not have affected the jury’s award. The Court of Appeals, however, referred to it in a five-page decision in which it determined that while Marinaccio had been wronged, the developer hadn’t acted maliciously.
Sometimes a colorful detail is just a colorful detail.
I’ve got a short critique up now at Cato (earlier on the topic here). Proponents styled the enactment “Grace’s Law,” after a Howard County teenager who committed suicide; here’s Radley Balko on why “Laws named after crime victims and dead people are usually a bad idea.” While I believe the courts will eventually get around to striking it down, in the mean time the law will operate to chill some online speech.
P.S. Some recent thoughts from EFF’s Hanni Fakhoury on how laws can address the problem of harassment without being speech-unfriendly.
Imagine how it would change the practice of litigation if lawyers could be held answerable for intentionally inflicting emotional distress on opponents, witnesses or third parties. Of course that’s not going to happen, since our legal profession is quite good at immunizing itself from exposure to liability for the same sorts of injuries that it sues over when inflicted by others. In this SSRN paper (via Robinette, TortsProf), Alex Long of the University of Tennessee proposes a presumption that lawyers’ behavior is “extreme and outrageous,” a precondition of IIED liability, if they could get disbarred for it.
Lawyer Emmanuel Ludot “is acting for around 100 fans who are members of an association that calls itself the ‘Michael Jackson Community.’ He said that while each fan could be awarded damages of up to 10,000 euros ($A12,400), they were seeking only a symbolic euro.” Jackson’s doctor was convicted of involuntary manslaughter following the singer’s death from an anesthetic overdose. [AFP]
Even as odd lawsuit stories go, this underexplained little account of a product liability claim in Canada stands out. Conceding that having to pick gum out of one’s dentures is not plausibly deserving of C$100,000, does the plaintiff at least deserve points for honesty in averring that her depression lasted only ten minutes? [Edmonton Sun]