Elderly woman sues four year olds

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The children may not be liable, but the parents always are. If children cause injury/damage to someone or something, parents are liable for the damage caused (strict liability).

Mary - posted on 10/30/2010

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In theory, it DOES seem ridiculous to sue the children, but I have a suspicion that it all comes down to legal strategy. When you really think about it, that 1928 case could actually have been used as a defense if the estate only sued the parents. The parents could have argued that because the child was over 4, she was a "reasonably prudent child" who ignored parental attempts at caution and discipline. If argued successfully, that 1928 case could actually be used to release the parents from liability. While absurd, the lawyers for the estate may actually just be very throrough, and doing all that they can to ensure a ruling in favor of their client. By suing both child and parent together, it strengthens their chances that at least one party will be held accountable and liable.

I DO think the parents are liable. Allowing your child to race a bicycle on the sidewalks of Manhattan is unacceptable and does constitute risky behavior. It is an activity that did result in serious injury to a frail old lady.

Jodi - posted on 10/30/2010

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It was a 4 year old Desiree. Not that I agree with suing a 4 year old either, but I just wanted to make that correction.

Desiree - posted on 10/30/2010

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No not trivial but really to sue a 2 year old. Thats plain insane. Sorry, If everyone had to sue a 2 year old there would be plenty parents sueing their own children. Accidents happen and where there are kids there are accidents. My children have been driving me nuts for years, and I have had countless accidents because of them and so did my 85 years old grandmother. But it par for the course and thats life.

Jodi - posted on 10/30/2010

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Mary, I must admit, I have done a bit of a google search on this one since, and in fact, her death has also been cited as a result of this accident in some instances. Who knows what to believe with the media, so I absolutely see your point.

But I still believe that to sue the 4 year olds is ridiculous and totally a ploy to sensationalise the case and an attempt at the biggest money grab possible. However, I also understand why the judge had to allow it, based on precedent presented in the case law.

Mary - posted on 10/30/2010

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Desiree, I'm not sure that you can call a fractured hip in an 87 y/o trivial.

Desiree - posted on 10/30/2010

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Sorry but now that is going from the ridiculse to the sublime. There are more important things to sue people over, but really for a judge to even consider it much less allow it what exactly is this world coming to, Being able to sue people for trivial things in a waist of money, time and resources and if I had been the judge I would have thrown it out of court and given this person a fine for wasting resources on stupid things.

Mary - posted on 10/30/2010

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I just have to wonder if this judge is seeking publicity and noteriety for himself. I can't think of any other purpose for this ruling. What, exactly, is suing a child of this age going to accomplish? What can you get as compensation - her Barbie collection?

I do understand the estate going after the parents. the kids didn't just bump into her - they broke her freakin hip. This is excruciatingly painful and debilitating, particularly in the elderly. While the article states that she died 3 months later of "unrelated causes", my guess is, that she was so weakened, and not fully recovered from that hip fracture, making her much more susceptible to other issues. Many eldery patients who sustain a hip fracture survive the inital assault and surgery, but slowly decline and die a few months out. Many develop respiratory infections such as pneumonia as a result of the inactivity and immobility following the original fracture.

While there may not have been any malicious intent by the children or parents, it is one of those sad situations where (understandable) childhood carelessness did cause serious pain and suffering to an old lady, and most likely contributed to her death. When you look at from the perspective of HER family, and not that of a mother of small children, it's easier to see why they would sue. I don't understand the point of suing the children individually, unless it is a legal strategy to try and maximize the award they win from the parents.

Jodi - posted on 10/29/2010

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I'm assuming the judge has had to follow legal precedent. So while it may be ridiculous, the judge had to allow it.

Katherine - posted on 10/29/2010

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Unless they find case law that's good, to say that it's happened before and the children weren't sued, or the case was bad law, it's good. No one can over turn it.

Jodi - posted on 10/29/2010

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I don't know how civil case law works in the US, but in Australia, if a judge from a higher court has ruled something, then a judge in a lower court can't override that case law ruling, no matter how old the law is, and it has to get referred to a higher court for the ruling to be overturned. Maybe that's what happened here?

Katherine - posted on 10/29/2010

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I totally agree! They're going by case law from the 20's!!!!!! Sheesh, I mean really???

Jodi - posted on 10/29/2010

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I think this is a ridiculous grab for money. This isn't about justice and making sure someone is adequately compensated. The lady in question is dead (from unrelated causes), why would the estate bother? Unless there are still unpaid medical bills that can't be afforded, it is a grab for money in my opinion.



Secondly, how ridiculous to sue the children. I mean, what are they going to accomplish by suing the children AND parents as opposed to just the parents?



The whole thing is just stupid IMO.

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