Did you know that being married is like being nibbled to death by a duck?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Drunken Stupidity Can Make You Money

Woman falls off piano, sues restaurant - You can probably already see what's coming, but what the heck, torture yourself and read further.

A woman is suing a Sarasota, Florida restaurant after she fell while
dancing atop a lounge piano. The 57-year-old woman fell backward off the piano
to the floor of the restaurant. Attorneys for the restaurant, Michael's on East,
say it was the result of the woman's drunkenness and carelessness. They say they
can't be responsible for the actions of intoxicated people. But the lawsuit says
the restaurant's director encouraged her to climb up on the piano, and even took
her by the arm and helped her climb up. The suit says she suffered a lingering
neck injury.

Unless "encouraged her to climb up on the piano" means exactly the same thing as "forced against her will with the barrel of a gun and threats of physical harm from a large gorilla," then I hope she spends thousands of dollars of her own money on this lawsuit and gets nothing.

Taking a page from the "I learned everything I need to know about life from the movie Animal House" book; fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life miss piano-dancer.

8 comments:

El Jeffe said...

Your wisdom at the end of the post is staggering. It's almost impossible to believe that you don't have a doctorate in genius, yet (and I stress yet). "Twisted is so smart, S-M-R-T"

Mr. Twisted said...

I only have a masters degree in genius, my Phd is in *wisdom*.

El Jeffe said...

well put

~E said...

"I hope she spends thousands of dollars of her own money on this lawsuit and gets nothing."

Unfortunately, that's wishful thinking. With these types of cases,she's signed a contingency fee agreement where her attorneys front all the costs and recoup them plus their 1/3 of the fee at the end from the gross settlement. The restaurant's insurance company will more than likely settle because it's cheaper to settle than run the expense of a long, drawn out jury-trial with expert witnesses, doctors, and the like. The American tort system is a huge shake-down. That's why I prefer to work with the dead, or soon to be dead clients. =P

Sobek said...

~e,

For the most part you're right. It's often easier and cheaper to just settle. But every once in a while you get a client with a brain in his head who realizes cheap in the short run means expensive in the long run.

I've got a guy who owns a bunch of apartment complexes. He will inevitably get involved in lawsuits over the things (slip-and-fall stuff, maybe worse). He figured out that if he caves on one of them, he gets a reputation for rolling over, and he'll get sued again and again.

~E said...

Sobek,

I totally agree with you... for me the law is a matter of principle. I would much prefer to aggressively defend clients all the way to the end. However, a lot of them can't afford to fight for principle or their insurance companies do a risk assessment and decide settlement is cheaper and easier... which perpetuates the vicious cycle of predatory plaintiffs.
While I realize that there are plaintiffs with legitimate claims, I think too many people are making legal shake-downs a way of life.

P.S. I work for a Probate/Real Estate/Contract lawyer.

Kell said...

I had considered staying out of this one but I was overcome with stupidity.

Couple of things...

Yes, there are predatory plaintiffs. However, I have a difficult time swallowing this as the only serious problem. When a case such as the hot coffee case makes it to a jury trial, a jury of our peers made the decision. Where the heck is common sense in this type of decision? The plaintiffs and their attorneys are looking for compensation. Why do those that serve on juries cave??

We can't completely blame them for making money on a system that is allowing it to continue. If that is the case, than the American business model just went to shit. I think that it is crazy that a company could post huge revenues when they sold rocks with a cute name. Whose fault is that? The idiot that gave me a pet rock or the company that was willing to sell the rock? This is the same thought process. There is a reason for the system, yes there are loopholes, there are good guys and bad guys, but that is the way the cookie crumbles. You simply can't fault them for doing a job that the system needs, based on the ethics and the actions of a few.

What about tobacco companies? Who is the bad guy in this situation? The defendants or the plaintiffs? The companies selling the product or those that purchase them and then continue to use them? If that is the case, can I sue Jose Cuervo for making crap tequila? Could I sue Jose if I wreck my car? Yup. Should I be able to? In a perfect world, no... it is called personal responsibility. Which is sorely lacking in so many.

If she was that damn drunk, the restaurant has an obligation to discontinue serving her. And they sure as heck shouldn't have helped her up on a damn piano. They are not completely blameless and since most insurance policies don't have a stupidity clause, the restaurant is on the hook for some of the damages, not simply because they like to roll over and play dead.

I think she is an idiot who deserved to thump her head when she fell. She thought she was some hot lounge act that should be up on a piano and then she fell and felt like a complete jackass. But then again, I wouldn’t want to live somewhere that she didn’t have the option to take her grievance to court.

Business owners like the one Sobek discussed... kudos! That is exactly what we need more of. People to stand up and say "you are an idiot and it is your responsibility." A rare find indeed.

Raise your hand if you want me off this soapbox. I really need to stop doing this. I hate when people rant and ramble in a comment section of someone else’s blog. So VERY annoying. Oh wait.. that’s me. Yikes, I’m done.

~E said...

I'm not saying that predatory plaintiffs are the only serious problem, but they are a one of them.
As for juries, the voir dire process isn't designed to select the 'most qualified', competent, common sense people to serve as jurors. It's designed to select for a mediocre average that won't lean too far in either direction - for either Plaintiff or Defendant. Jury Trials are very technical, very tedious, and filled with lots of showmanship.. all designed to play on emotions, not necessarily to appeal to logic or common sense.
As a Paralegal, I have to take a crash course in all sorts of subjects in order to educate myself about the technical nuances of complex litigation issues. I spend months, if not years, working on these cases, preparing them for trial. If it takes me that long to understand some of this information, how can we expect Average Joe or Jane to grasp the issues in a matter of hours, perhaps few days, and make a reasonable, informed, educated decision?
As for why people on juries cave... for most people Jury Duty is long, boring, tedious, it takes them away from their Life, their jobs, doesn't compensate them adquately for that time, and in the end, most of them don't want to be there in the first place. At the end of the day, when most of the jurors have come to some decision and one person is holding out, there is an unbelieveable amount of pressure on the hold out to cave in and just go with it so the rest can go home and get on with their lives.

I very much agree that stupid people should be held accountable for their actions and responsible for the consequences. However, in our litigous society, too many people want to find someone else to blame for their stupidity and make them pay for it. The drunk lady volunteered to get up on that piano, no one held a gun to her head and forced her to do it, nor did anyone push her off the piano. She was stupid and reckless and got what she deserved. Personally, I don't think she deserves compensation for it.

I apologize to Greg for ranting and rambling here... just his comment that I initially commented on stood out and sparked me to say something on a subject that I feel strongly about.