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Discussion Starter #1
"Really?!?" ??? ::)

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/nyregion/29young.html?no_interstitial

4-Year-Old Can Be Sued, Judge Rules in Bike Case
By ALAN FEUER
Published: October 28, 2010

Citing cases dating back as far as 1928, a judge has ruled that a young girl accused of running down an elderly woman while racing a bicycle with training wheels on a Manhattan sidewalk two years ago can be sued for negligence.

The ruling by the judge, Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, did not find that the girl was liable, but merely permitted a lawsuit brought against her, another boy and their parents to move forward.

The suit that Justice Wooten allowed to proceed claims that in April 2009, Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, who were both 4, were racing their bicycles, under the supervision of their mothers, Dana Breitman and Rachel Kohn, on the sidewalk of a building on East 52nd Street. At some point in the race, they struck an 87-year-old woman named Claire Menagh, who was walking in front of the building and, according to the complaint, was “seriously and severely injured,” suffering a hip fracture that required surgery. She died three months later.

Her estate sued the children and their mothers, claiming they had acted negligently during the accident. In a response, Juliet’s lawyer, James P. Tyrie, argued that the girl was not “engaged in an adult activity” at the time of the accident — “She was riding her bicycle with training wheels under the supervision of her mother” — and was too young to be held liable for negligence.

In legal papers, Mr. Tyrie added, “Courts have held that an infant under the age of 4 is conclusively presumed to be incapable of negligence.” (Rachel and Jacob Kohn did not seek to dismiss the case against them.)

But Justice Wooten declined to stretch that rule to children over 4. On Oct. 1, he rejected a motion to dismiss the case because of Juliet’s age, noting that she was three months shy of turning 5 when Ms. Menagh was struck, and thus old enough to be sued.

Mr. Tyrie “correctly notes that infants under the age of 4 are conclusively presumed incapable of negligence,” Justice Wooten wrote in his decision, referring to the 1928 case. “Juliet Breitman, however, was over the age of 4 at the time of the subject incident. For infants above the age of 4, there is no bright-line rule.”

The New York Law Journal reported the decision on Thursday.

Mr. Tyrie had also argued that Juliet should not be held liable because her mother was present; Justice Wooten disagreed.

“A parent’s presence alone does not give a reasonable child carte blanche to engage in risky behavior such as running across a street,” the judge wrote. He added that any “reasonably prudent child,” who presumably has been told to look both ways before crossing a street, should know that dashing out without looking is dangerous, with or without a parent there. The crucial factor is whether the parent encourages the risky behavior; if so, the child should not be held accountable.

In Ms. Menagh’s case, however, there was nothing to indicate that Juliet’s mother “had any active role in the alleged incident, only that the mother was ‘supervising,’ a term that is too vague to hold meaning here,” he wrote. He concluded that there was no evidence of Juliet’s “lack of intelligence or maturity” or anything to “indicate that another child of similar age and capacity under the circumstances could not have reasonably appreciated the danger of riding a bicycle into an elderly woman.”

Mr. Tyrie, Dana Breitman and Rachel Kohn did not respond to messages seeking
 

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Before you guys go crazy, let me tell you what this probably means.

It probably means that the parents' homeowner's insurance company will be liable for the injuries to the 87 yr. old woman. She certainly ought not to be without a legal remedy when runover by these kids racing their bikes on the sidewalk.

Generally speaking parents are not liable for the negligent acts of their children, so if it turned out that the parents were not actually monitoring the kids, and were not negligent in the supervision of these brats, there was a chance that the old woman and her family would have had no legal remedy, even though she did nothing wrong and the kids clearly did when they ran her down. And, let's face it, this is precisely why homeowners liability insurance exists: to protect homeowners from catastrophic liability, and to insure compensation for innocent victims.

I would bet almost anything that this ruling came about because a sleazy insurance company was trying to get the cases against the kids dismissed, so they could then argue on behalf of the parents that it was all the kids' fault, so that the insurance company could dodge all liability.

The ruling makes perfect sense in modern society.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Run down? How fast could two 4 year olds go on bikes with training wheels go? Sucks that she got injured, but who's to say her death was a direct result of the accident? She was 87 after all.

Not saying there's no resposibility by the parents of the kids, but this is pretty pathetic.

What do I know though? :-\
 

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Mrwigglestheworm said:
Run down? How fast could two 4 year olds go on bikes with training wheels? Sucks that she got injured, but who's to say her death was a direct result of the accident? She was 87 after all.

Not saying there's no resposibility by the parents of the kids, but this is pretty pathetic.

What do I know though? :-\
I don't see anything in the article that says her estate was claiming her death was a result of the fall. If the estate is claiming that, it would have the burden of proving the connection.

How fast can 4yr old kids on bikes go? Well, fast enough to knock over an 87 yr old woman and break her hip.

You might not be saying that "there's no resposibility by the parents of the kids", but the law might say so.

The other thing you ignore is that for decades NY law has apparently been that 4 yr olds could be held liable for damage they do. I don't have a problem with that. Why should you or I be on the financial hook for something that some kid does to hurt us or damage our property?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No, I said "Not saying there's no responsibility by the parents..."

But I understand what you're saying. Also, the article made it sound as though there were implying there was a connection.
 

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You may not be saying that the parents have no responsibility for the actions of their children, but NY law may very well say exactly that: that parents are not liable for the damage caused by their children.

In that instance, it makes perfect sense to allow a lawsuit directly against the child, as long as the child is old enough to know right from wrong, to act "as a reasonable person". New York has apparently determined that age is 4, and made that determination long, long ago.
 

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sswan said:
What remedy can a 4 year old provide? Her toys and halloween costume?
Ah, yes, another typically useless post from sswan. Why should I ever expect more?

As a practical matter, the homeowners insurance policy that her parents bought can provide an excellent remedy up to the policy limits.
 

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Another typical display of a lack of civility from the smarmiest person you'll ever encounter. Why should anyone ever expect more?

Are you absolutely certain that they're home owners with insurance, as opposed to renters without insurance? Maybe I missed it in the article.

You know what happens when you assume...You make an @$$ out of you.
 

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All that time, sswan, to come up with that?? :D Another smartass response by the site's great polarizer. Thanks for your usual "helpful" contribution.

Do I know there was insurance involved? No, not for a fact.

Can I make an educated guess, based on 30+ years of civil litigation experience? Yes, I can.

Who should bear this loss? The 87 year old victim who was just trying to walk down the sidewalk? Or the insurer or parents of the kids turned loose on a Manhattan sidewalk to race their bicycles? I have no problem at all saying it's the insurer or the parents.
 

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I had something else to do, you poor bipolar thing. And you know I feel terrible about being responsible for your current condition.

And yeah, since we all know Manhattan is dominated by single family dwellings, I guess there's some reasonable chance that they might be home owners.

The "Yes, I can" refrain is great! I think you need to say it at least three times in row, though, and have someone to say it in unison with.
 

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Wow, sswan. You must really be stressed today. You're really, really reaching. :D

Looks like my work here is through. Thanks for playing. ;D
 

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Punched some bullies in the nose when I was a kid, and had the satisfaction of seeing them run home crying. Less satisfying that internet bullies just get to log off...
 

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Goon and sswan both playing the "victim card"? :D Now that really is hilarious!


One's a troll and the other's just a wannabe thug. You guys crack me up. ::)
 

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Jörmungandr said:
.....guys like you are the reason why doctors need malpractice insurance in this country, why people need homeowners insurance or any kind of insurance for that matter because they are so scared of getting ruined financially when human error does happen.
No, catastrophic mistakes by doctors are why doctors need malpractice insurance.

As for homeowner's insurance, if you cause injury by your negligence (failing to act as a reasonably careful person would act under the same or similar circumstances), you are liable, and you should be. The victim shouldn't be out medical expenses, lost income, or any other damages because of your failure to act responsibly.

Hey, if you think you're in the right, you can always have a jury of your peers decide the case.
 

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gofindyourowndamnfish said:
Goon and sswan both playing the "victim card"? :D Now that really is hilarious!


One's a troll and the other's just a wannabe thug. You guys crack me up. ::)
I'm finally revealed as a wannabe thug--What a hoot!

It must have been hard for you growing up aspiring to be a bully and lacking the physical attributes. But with the advent of the internet, dreams really can come true.
 
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