Citing text messages she sent her boyfriend shortly before the incident, Montana prosecutors contend that Justine Winter’s crash at 85 mph into an oncoming vehicle was a deliberate suicide attempt. Winter, who faces trial on homicide charges in the deaths of Erin Thompson, the woman she ran into, and Thompson’s 13-year-old son, has now sued Thompson’s estate as well as the construction company that built the interstate overpass where the accident occurred. [Daily Inter Lake, Siouxsie Law]
- Failure to warn? “Non-Child Sues For Slide-Related Injury” [Lowering the Bar]
- “AG Cuomo Sues Lawyer for Fraud, Says He Sold His Name to Debt Collector for $141K” [ABA Journal]
- Ted Frank on his move to the Manhattan Institute and Point of Law [CCAF]
- “Viacom is becoming a lawsuit company instead of a TV company” [Doctorow, BoingBoing]
- UK: “NHS pays £10,000 to family of psychiatric patient who committed suicide” [Times Online]
- American Cancer Society: federal advisory panel’s chemicals-cause-cancer alarms are overblown [NYTimes] More: Taranto, WSJ.
- “Who Knew Bankruptcy Paid So Well?” [NYTimes]
- Famed sleuth Bloomberg Holmes on the case: was the Pathfinder headed for a vile sodium den? [IowaHawk]
And then sues would-be suicide over foot injury sustained in the jump. The unusual case reached an Illinois appellate court last year, which ruled that a suit could proceed against the would-be suicide, though not his wife, who had also been named as a defendant on the grounds that she had requested the plaintiff’s help. [Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog]
Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow John Avlon, in Forbes:
New York City spends more money on lawsuits than the next five largest American cities — Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and Philadelphia — combined. The city’s $568 million outlay in fiscal year 2008 was more than double what it spent 15 years ago and 20 times what it paid in 1977.
And the odd and extreme cases continue:
A Brooklyn insurance investigator won $2.3 million this year after he tumbled onto the subway tracks with a 0.18 blood-alcohol level and lost his right leg. (“They’re not allowed to hit you just because you’re drunk and on the track,” his lawyer explained.) A corrections officer received $7.25 million after unsuccessfully attempting suicide, on the grounds that the city should not have permitted her to have a gun. (“Ms. Jones could just have easily turned her city-authorized firearm on anyone,” her lawyer said.)
The piece is adapted from a contribution to a City Journal symposium, “New York’s Tomorrow”, and there’s also an associated podcast (cross-posted from Point of Law). More: Eric Turkewitz talks back from a plaintiff’s point of view (“when you account for inflation, there really hasn’t been much change at all” [compared with 15 years ago)] (& welcome Above the Law, WSJ Law Blog readers)
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders discusses the large settlement paid by Santa Clara County to the family of Andrew Martinez, who suffered from schizophrenia and became famous as Berkeley’s “Naked Guy” before taking his own life in jail. She quotes me on the terrorizing effect of suing public managers individually and on the way outside direction of public agencies by litigators often (as consent decrees, court orders and legal avoidance layer one atop another) can add up to “management by no one at all.” [Debra Saunders, “A naked million”, San Francisco Chronicle, May 24].