From Charlie: Judge rules 4 year old can be sued!

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 ruling by the judge, Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, did not find that the girl was liable, but merely permitted a lawsuit brought against her, another boy and their parents to move forward. 

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 of unrelated causes.

Her estate sued the children and their mothers, claiming they had acted negligently during the accident. In a response, Juliet’s lawyer, James P. Tyrie, argued that the girl was not “engaged in an adult activity” at the time of the accident — “She was riding her bicycle with training wheels under the supervision of her mother” — and was too young to be held liable for negligence.

In legal papers, Mr. Tyrie added, “Courts have held that an infant under the age of 4 is conclusively presumed to be incapable of negligence.” (Rachel and Jacob Kohn did not seek to dismiss the case against them.) 

“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.”

In my humble opinion, the judge is an absolute moron. A remedial course in child development may be in order. What a Dumbass!

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10 Responses to From Charlie: Judge rules 4 year old can be sued!

  1. Profile photo of Vertigo Vertigo says:

    Um, this is SOP, its the parents responsability and liability, but the childs name must be entered in the court order to make the connection.

    There is a law in most communities that states bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks and its the parents responsability to enforce it.

  2. billybones says:

    Actually, bike are legal on the sidewalk in that community. Also, the child is usually named, but not as a defendant in the suit. The judge states that a 4 year old child is capable of reasoning through whether or not his or her behavior is safe. Horseshit.

  3. Profile photo of Breezy Belle Breezy Belle says:

    A 4 year old child is NOT capable of determining whether or not his/her behavior is safe – that’s why parents set the rules, and parents (especially of 4 year olds) supervise the children closely. And – who the hell is the judge to PRESUME what the child’s parents may or may not have told her… even about looking both ways, or racing bicycles on the sidewalk where both the children were riding??

    What about whether or not an 87 year old is considered to be capable of looking both ways before stepping out onto the sidewalk to take a walk???

  4. thothamon says:

    i must agree with the current Belle of the Bar….suggesting that a 4 year old is capable of being sued for negligence. Also, Billy is right, I read a different article where more background was given, however I failed to save the link.
    On a side note, and having made an assumption about the gender of the Breezy one, why is it that those of the fairer gender never stick around? We had the privelege for a while of being graced by the lady who was on the Fargo City Council, and then a lady with the same first name from Glyndon, and Buffalo Gal stops by…but that is about it. Are we really that uncouth?

    • Profile photo of Breezy Belle Breezy Belle says:

      Your assumption of my gender is accurate… 😉 My profile info will confirm that, too. Of course, then you have to assume I am being truthful, too. (Let’s assume I am – or, I could make sure… lemme check…. yep, there they are… I am indeed female!)

      I wouldn’t know about the previous levels of couthiness (my own Colbertism, hehehe!)… but will say that I am not your typical “girl” – I can trash talk with the best of them… so, it’s generally difficult to offend me. However, please do not take that statement as a challenge to try… 😉

    • Profile photo of Vertigo Vertigo says:

      I can tell you why, and its not pretty. We are made up of sexist males who gang up on women and its not worth their time to engage in petty arguments here. ‘

      Been there, done that. Bring up the abortion issue alone and you will drive almost all women away, because no matter what side you take, it will be a mans perspective and they lose.

      Who was that woman who was here a lot Billy? I don’t recall her name, but she was great!.

      As to Linda Coates… she dissapeared when she lost the election for mayor (which I did and will again support)… I guess it wasn’t worth her time. To tell the truth, she was a product of our system and as our community development commisioner, she was woefully underqualified and my personal expression of this didn’t help… although it was truthful and needed to be expressed.

  5. thothamon says:

    please vert, tell me who ganged up on any of the females who came here?
    Linda Coates was never ganged up on. I believe the other lady that I referred to was also named Linda. The only female who has been here who has been subjected to name calling has unfortunately been Buffalo Gal, who never makes attacks on people here, but simply provides her comments on politics, for which she is personally attacked. That, I think, sucks…I disagree with most of her political opinions, but the attacks on her person are indeed out of line.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree…I liked Linda Lou becuse of her affection for the last great band Little Feat…and she had a sense of humor…the attacks on Buffalo Gal were and continue to be a source of embarrassment..she got it for her age, outlooks, and her comments were belittled..she never responded in a harsh manner. I think we humored her. I believe she is a retired English teacher so I worried about red ink as I am loath to proof read. Seemed very nice.
      Yhis joint is definitely not for the faint at heart, though we are nuts…

      Belle..may I recommend the archives…they will make a fine book someday if Billy ever opts to take a cheap route to his first novel…kind of like a modern day take on “Confederacy of Dunces”…I would think the archives should read…”And To Think They All Thought They Were Right”….
      I peruse them from time to time for nostalgia……ah the good old days….sigh.


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