Our Litigious Society

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"Our Litigious Society"
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In February, free-lance photographer Robert Levin filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Waste Management company for the injuries (including brain damage) he suffered while trying to take photographs at New York City's Ground Zero in December 2001. Levin had surreptitiously climbed atop one of the company's garbage trucks to get a better vantage point when the driver pulled away, causing Levin to fall, which Levin now says showed Waste Management's "failure to respect (my) rights as a pedestrian." [New York Daily News, 2-10-04]

British postal worker Alan Pugh filed a lawsuit in Birmingham County Court (England) in December against a Wolverhampton University religious studies teacher who he said had put too much outgoing mail in a letter box, causing Pugh to injure himself trying to haul it away. The lecturer had mailed 270 oversized envelopes, totaling around 50 pounds. [Daily Telegraph (London), 12-20-03]

According to the New York State Police, Stephen Pappadake, 17, was speeding (80 mph in a 30 mph zone) and passing multiple cars illegally on the morning of April 29, 2003, and he eventually lost control of his car, crashed and died. In January 2004, Pappadake's parents filed a lawsuit against the last driver that Stephen was illegally passing, who they said had veered to the left, causing Stephen to leave the road and crash. The lawsuit made no reference to the police's conclusions. [Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.), 2-1-04]

On the morning of July 7, 2001, a vandal tossed detergent into the fountain in Canal Park in Duluth, Minn., producing a massive, continuing mountain of bubbles. About four hours later, Kathy J. Kelly, walking by the still-foamy mound, failed to steer clear enough, fell on the soap-slippery sidewalk, and suffered several injuries including, eventually, gangrene. She sued the city for not having cleaned the fountain or roped off the area. In March 2004, a jury ruled in her favor, finding that 30 percent of the fault was hers for getting too close but that 70 percent was the city's. (Jurors were not allowed to assess the fault of the original vandal.) [Duluth News Tribune, 3-23-04]
 
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