Idgit Watch

N.Y.C. judge rules that 4 year old can be sued for mowing down elderly woman

Posted by danishova on October 29, 2010


Sheesh.  Now I know why some Nanny Staters want to ban Happy Meals. Apparently kids drive their bikes to McDonalds and purchase the food without any parental supervision, and the parent’s can’t be held responsible for their child’s actions.

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 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. …

It’s not enough that the poor elderly woman died. Let’s make this a double tragedy and ruin the lives of the improperly supervised children too:

[Attorney] 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.”

I’m all for raising responsible, well-trained children, but this is ridiculous.  Moreover, if the mother “had no active role”, by adding the child to the case it seems to me that the chance that the elderly victim’s estate will receive damages is actually diminished, so everyone loses.  Other than this idiot judge, I can’t imagine that any judge or jury will buy the argument that it’s the child’s fault.

UPDATE: Jammie Wearing Fool is on this, and reveals that the “nitwit” judge was appointed by NY’s doltish Governor, David Paterson.


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