Kent and Surrey, England: “Police have told residents to stop putting wire mesh on their garden shed windows – because they could be sued if a burglar is injured.” [Telegraph]
“State Senator Jim Alesi fell off a ladder and broke his leg at someone else’s unfinished home three years ago – and now he’s blaming the homeowners for his injury. Alesi is also suing the home builder, Louis DiRisio.” Alesi has said he was checking out the development and didn’t realize the house in question, which he entered through an unlocked basement door, had already been sold to owners. The homeowners’ right to sue Alesi for trespassing has now expired under the statute of limitations, and they may be rethinking their decision not to press charges at the time. [WHAM, WHEC, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle] Update: he drops suit.
Wal-Mart stores in many parts of the country are famous for letting motor-home travelers park overnight in their lots for free. One wonders whether that policy will last: a Florida couple is now suing the retailer over an incident in the parking lot of its Cedar City, Utah store, in which the family shot and killed a man who intruded in their parked home. They say they have suffered emotional distress and medical problems and that “store officials knew the man was loitering in the lot” but failed to act. [Salt Lake Tribune via Consumerist, where commenters haven’t been conspicuously sympathetic to the plaintiffs]
A bill in the California legislature held out hope for encouraging wider adoption of the lifesaving devices, but couldn’t make it past the Litigation Lobby. [John Frith, California Civil Justice Blog]
A woman’s lawsuit charges that the death of her 77-year-old husband was the “direct and proximate result” of his slip and fall 21 months earlier on an “unnatural accumulation of ice” in front of a Trader Joe’s supermarket. A newspaper article last year describes the man as having fought a “courageous battle with cancer” before his death. [Josh Stockinger, Batavia (Ill.) Daily Herald]
“A woman who says she was attacked by a homeless man and woman while leaving a Jewel Food Store is suing the store and the alleged homeless individuals.” [Jennifer Fernicola, ChicagoNow]
“…[T]he professional body that represents health and safety experts has issued a warning to businesses not to grit public paths – despite the fact that Britain is in the grip of its coldest winter for nearly half a century. … The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents expressed its disappointment that public safety was being neglected because of fears of possible litigation.” A past president of the British Orthopaedic Association said: “If people want to clear pavements, they should just do it. I would have thought it’s a public service and it is a shame we have ended up with a culture where if someone slips, they want to sue someone. People need a bit of grit, in both senses.” [Telegraph] Update: IOSH, the health and safety group, says newspapers misstated its position and that it is indeed in favor of businesses’ gritting public paths (h/t commenter Yossarian).
Deron Johnson, 48, a man “with a lengthy rap sheet”, denies that he was trying to rob Margaret Johnson, 59, of her purse and gold chain when she shot him from her motorized wheelchair with her licensed .357 Magnum. Cops grabbed him but he won acquittal at trial and he’s now suing her and the landlord of her Lenox Terrace housing complex in Harlem, asking millions. [New York Post]
More: Scott Greenfield has questions, as does Bill Poser in comments.
Last year we covered the unsuccessful suit against Contemporary Watercrafters, a Rockville, Md.-based pool maintenance business. It’s getting some more attention now as one of the entries in the U.S. Chamber’s Faces of Lawsuit Abuse campaign (careful, it auto-plays video with sound). Angle we didn’t mention in our earlier post: the owner was annoyed at the mess made by the geese and approached the Humane Society about removal but was told “it was a no-go — the Migratory Species Act forbade him from moving or disturbing the geese. All he could do was wait for their goslings to hatch and hope they then moved on of their own free will. The store put up tape around the area and signs warning passersby of the terrible geese threat.” (On the Record (Md. Daily Record blog), Dec. 9).