Friday, October 29, 2010

Judge: 4-Year-Old Can Be Sued

Oy. This case is a tragedy, but anybody who wants to use it to score points about our overly litigious society -- and the way judges enable our worst legal impulses -- probably won't get much argument from me. The case involves a 4-year-old girl named Juliet who accidentally injured (and killed) an 87-year-old woman while riding her bike with training wheels. Awful, horrible for everybody involved. But the court case makes it all worse.

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.

Again: Oy. How many "reasonably prudent" 4-year-olds do you know? Kids are stupid, and they do stupid things -- even stupid things that they should know better than to do. What an awful case.

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