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Personal responsibility? What's that?
March 3, 2005 1:59 AM   Subscribe

Little Timmy's fallen off the parking garage? Forget Lassie, call the lawyers! He didn't choose to jump between the eight-story buildings. The inanimate object made him.
posted by schroedinger (54 comments total)

 
Anyone participating in this sport is a prime candidate for a Darwin award.
posted by berek at 2:31 AM on March 3, 2005


just when you thought it was a rhetorical question, it kinda gives new meaning to "if Jimmy down the street were to jump off an 8 story parking garage, would you?"
posted by trinarian at 2:44 AM on March 3, 2005


That idea sets a bizarre precedent. Taken to extremes, I'd have to make sure that no-one got a ladder, climbed on to my roof, and jumped off - they might sue me.
posted by different at 3:01 AM on March 3, 2005


Well FARK me sideways. Stupid kids.
posted by graventy at 3:07 AM on March 3, 2005


No, no safety measures. In fact, no lawsuits either. Do what Japan does with the rails. Charge the family for the obstruction and clean-up.

Those that survive, fine them for being stupid asses in the first place. If they whine, beat them with a 2x4 until they shut up.

This just gives legitimate lawsuits a bad name, and letting people like this live and breed is only going to hurt us all. There is no "risk" by not having a fence between the parking garages. Anyone who is incapable of making the logical conclusion that jumping between 80-foot tall structures is not entirely safe has no business being out in public unsupervised.

I say toss the kid, the parents, and the scumbag lawyer out of court and let them pick up trash on the highway until they pay back the city for the cost of their idiocy.
posted by Saydur at 3:22 AM on March 3, 2005


You've got to be kidding me. Counter-sue the jumpers for misusing the garage building. They didn't park there did they?
posted by dabitch at 3:41 AM on March 3, 2005


Good idea for a drinking game: "Who will they sue?"
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:41 AM on March 3, 2005


France, obviously.
posted by DaShiv at 4:14 AM on March 3, 2005


Before the lynch mob here declares their verdict based on 300 words, consider that the lawsuit could simply be a counter-measure against attempts from the garages to file charges against the kid for tresspassing. If this kid has medical injuries, paying for treatment is likely a lot harder if he incurred them while committing a crime, and that's probably the first thing the parents want to avoid. Also note the article says "filing" a lawsuit, not "a jury is deciding how many millions the mom gets."

Also, I think the lawsuit is inherently stupid too, but I also took a look at the pictures. That parking garage should have a security fence.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:24 AM on March 3, 2005


I think they should put long, sharp spikes on the ground between the parking garages.
posted by PigAlien at 4:31 AM on March 3, 2005


Shit, why stop there, sue the clown who put the ground in the way, because you know, it's not the fall that hurts. And what about this gravity lark, someone's gotta be accountable, how many people does gravity kill every year, it's gotta be stopped. It's not about the money, it's about the safety of future generations of idiotic, stoned teenagers.
posted by isthisthingon at 4:46 AM on March 3, 2005


XQUZYPHYR, I really couldn't make out anything from the pictures. They weren't at all clear.
posted by different at 4:52 AM on March 3, 2005


> That parking garage should have a security fence

Screw that - then whats the limit? Take any two buildings reasonably close together, would they need to have rooftop fencing as well?

How far do we have to go to protect morons from their own moronic actions?

Let 'em jump, Darwin'll sort 'em out. Those that survive may have a future in sports, those that don't - well we don't really need to encourage this sort of behaviour in the ole gene pool, eh?

And I agree with PigAlien. Long spikes, broken glass, etc.


While we are at it, we don't the parking attendants get to sue the jumper for causing them "undue stress"? After all - the last thing you want to see on the job is some broken-up shithead kid who watched a few too many Jackass episodes... Yeah, speaking of that - why doesn't the kid sue big media, after all - it couldn't have possibly been his own idea, right?

Look - I was a kid too, I hung around with a few idiots in my time. And when they did stupid things - I did not. I evaluated the risk and said; "screw that buddy, I prefer life".
posted by jkaczor at 4:54 AM on March 3, 2005


Ah, garage-jumping... a pursuit fully as intelligent and forward-looking as subway surfing.

F*ck the kid. I say the garage's owner should sue the kid and his parents, the kid for causing all this trouble (surely this must have caused the garage to be closed for some time), and his parents for barratry (and being such f*cking profiteering sh*ts).
posted by clevershark at 5:16 AM on March 3, 2005


they need to put fences up ... you might argue that the kid doesn't deserve a judgement ... but can you really argue the same thing about his parents, who didn't make any decision about this?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:19 AM on March 3, 2005


XQUZYPHYR, but the kids probably were trespassing. I was guessing that they probably didn't park there.
I guess my verdict then is; wow how stupid is it to have a system where "paying for treatment" is harder when you've committed "a crime", as it probably makes no difference if the injured person tripped on his shoelace as he was shortcutting through someones lawn or if he fell with a shotgun and blasted his toes off as he was trespassing inside someones house.
Seriously, is it harder to pay for treatment depending on how the injuries were caused? Really? Does the price for a cast go up or what?
posted by dabitch at 5:29 AM on March 3, 2005


Gah. Since when is the legal system there to protect abject morons from their abject moronity?yes I know that's not a word


This is, in a word, ridiculous. The judge that even allowed that suit to be filed should be removed from the bench.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:37 AM on March 3, 2005


pyramid termite: With that reasoning, the parents should sue the kid, since he made the decision to do something stupid.

Or maybe they sue themselves, since they didn't impart the proper wisdom in their child.
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:41 AM on March 3, 2005


steveinmaine: agreed. And if the kid is that stupid, what are his parents doing letting him out unsupervised, committing crimes?
posted by different at 5:50 AM on March 3, 2005


Maybe we really should sue France - these kids were doing Le Parkour (previous MeFi discussion), which came from, you guessed it, FRANCE!
posted by zsazsa at 5:55 AM on March 3, 2005


Thank you, Saydur. I haven't laughed so hard in a long while.
posted by effwerd at 5:56 AM on March 3, 2005


This is ridiculous. If people take risks like this and then get hurt, well, tough shit.
The article does mention that there was a (short) fence around the garage. If you install a swimming pool in your backyard, in most municipalities, you have to install a fence completely enclosing the pool; this is to ensure that little children don't wander in and drown. If you don't have a working latch, and a toddler ends up in there, you are liable for that-- but these aren't toddlers.
They are kids who made poor decisions. Happens all the time. Remember the AskMe thread about stupid things we did as kids that ought to have killed us? One can liken this to the teens that lay down on the center-line of the highway. What, you gonna sue the D.O.T. because your kid gets run over? They should install electric fences around the dangerous highway?

No.

No one should get sued.
posted by exlotuseater at 5:59 AM on March 3, 2005


The parents decided to have the kid in the first place and to let him go out unsupervised with his friends for hours at the age of 16. Anyone who's ever been a teenager knows that's a risky, foolish act with likely criminal consequences. The garage owners should sue the parents for negligence.
posted by fshgrl at 6:00 AM on March 3, 2005


I agree with the general sentiment that this kid and his parents deserve no compensation from the garage owners. Unfortunately, premises liability law might be on the side of the kid thanks to the dope at the garage who admitted that they knew that this garage jumping is a problem and they did nothing about it.

Trespassing adults usually forfeit their "vivtim" status, but children don't because the courts hold that children do not perceive danger as well as their elders. A property owner has to take steps to ensure the safety of children who play in the area, even if they are not supposed to be there.

Sad, but true.

On preview: should and is, should and is...
posted by Cassford at 6:05 AM on March 3, 2005


Report: Garage Jumping Is Dangerous New Trend

Forget cocaine, we need to figure who the hell is bringing in these garages to our country!

Back in my day, we only shaved with running chainsaws. Kids these days.

*shakes cane*
posted by tpl1212 at 6:23 AM on March 3, 2005


This is an outrage! I can't believe a judge actually sided with this Darwin award candidate! Our court system is out of control!

What? There hasn't been a judgement yet? This is just a lawsuit being filed?

Oh.

What's the problem, aside from a trivial lawsuit? Don't we pay people to, uh, judge these things and throw out the crap without merit?
posted by revgeorge at 6:28 AM on March 3, 2005


"There was a very, very short length of fence that was completely ineffective in preventing this from happening," D'Assaro said.

Um...yeah. I agree, stupidity got him his injuries. It's not always the property owner's fault when someone does something stupid on it.
posted by agregoli at 6:49 AM on March 3, 2005


I'm suing the kid, and I'm suing Schroedinger for the FPP, and I'm suing each and every one of you malcontents for discussing this and for making me read it, and I'll sue Metafilter and especially Metatalk if it gets brought up there. I'm sick of all this 'law suit abuse' and me not getting a penny. I'm sick of it all.

So, either file suit against me yourselves, or send money so that we can settle this matter once and for all.

Until the next time.
posted by OmieWise at 6:49 AM on March 3, 2005


Ahh, Florida. Somehow it does not surprise me at all..
posted by c13 at 6:57 AM on March 3, 2005


I say that the lawyer in this case should be fined, disbarred, and then drawn and quartered.

And don't put up fences, either. If these teenagers continue jumping and continue falling, those particular genes will not be passed on to another generation.

Evolution is slow, but we shouldn't make it harder for it to work, at least not in this case.

Yikes!
posted by mooncrow at 7:29 AM on March 3, 2005


it kinda gives new meaning to"if Jimmy down the street were to jump off an 8 story parking garage, would you?"

Well you were 16 and Jimmy and all your other friends did it without getting hurt AND told you what a blast it was-- how it is soooo great, Dude, you will have a blast---AND called you a chickenshi* for not jumping, then chances are, "Yes."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:50 AM on March 3, 2005


I wish I was surprised by this.
I am amazed that this kid is willing to demonstrate his idiotic behavior to the world in such a manner.

Is this kid even 21 (the story says he was drinking...)
How do they not go after the people who supplied the alcohol?


I'm a big fan of Jackie Chan, but part of the appeal of watching him is the fact that I'd most likely end up like this idiot. (not that Jackie made it unscathed, mind you)
posted by Busithoth at 7:50 AM on March 3, 2005


During our visit to the Singapore Zoo, we were amazed at the unobstructed views of the animals. During the Night Zoo train tour, anyone could have jumped off the train, hopped over the narrow ditch, and given the lions and rhinos a whack on the head.

We asked about security measures; our guide shrugged. "Singapore law is different," he explained. "If you're stupid enough to jump into the animal's space, this is not considered the zoo's fault. In fact, if you survived, you'd be fined."

Meanwhile: here's my favorite photo caption from the garage-jumping story: "D'Assaro is filing a lawsuit against the city of Orlando and the private garage owner for making little effort to correct a potential deadly risk."

Yeah, those guys really ought to do something to clear up all the gravity around that garage.
posted by MadeByMark at 8:11 AM on March 3, 2005


Wow. Just... wow:
The family says that's not good enough and that both garages need to take responsibility before a garage jumper loses his life.
Those are some bold parents, teaching their son that others "need to take responsibility" when you do something stupid. Hopefully the kid grows up and ends up suing the Sun for giving him heatstroke (it has a responsibility to dispense shade once in a while), suing the ocean for almost drowning him (the sea needs to take responsibility and send a few puffer fish to act as a floatation device), and mother nature the next time a hurricane whips through Florida (nature has a responsibility not to hurt this family).

I love how they can be so cavalier about throwing the word "responsibilitiy" around to everyone but the most obvious target for taking that, the boy who hurt himself.
posted by mathowie at 8:18 AM on March 3, 2005


Only in America.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 AM on March 3, 2005


Anyone participating in this sport is a prime candidate for a Darwin award.

Amen. Mountain Dew commercials = NOT REAL.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:58 AM on March 3, 2005


Forget about the Darwin Awards. This'll definitely win a Stella Award.
posted by seanyboy at 10:19 AM on March 3, 2005


I go boom off da gawage and made my face owie. Gimme dollar monies pwease?
posted by Debaser626 at 11:34 AM on March 3, 2005


Actually jumping from roof top to roof top is really big in Europe...
Parkour website
posted by wonway at 12:25 PM on March 3, 2005


There was a very, very short length of fence that was completely ineffective in preventing this from happening," D'Assaro said.

Anyone else get the feeling nothing less than electrified razor wire would have been "completely ineffective"?

Secret Life of Gravy: Well you were 16 and Jimmy and all your other friends did it without getting hurt AND told you what a blast it was-- how it is soooo great, Dude, you will have a blast---AND called you a chickenshi* for not jumping, then chances are, "Yes."

Geez we're talking 16 years olds, people legally able to take charge of a 10,000lb vehicle and propel it anywhere they want. Maybe we should be permanently revoking the drivers licenses of both the participants and their parents. Stop them before they hurt themselves again (or someone else).
posted by Mitheral at 1:06 PM on March 3, 2005


it's a relief to know that almost all of us here have never done anything stupid in our lives, perfectly teach our children everything and monitor them faillessly 24/7 and are therefore entitled to say to others ... "my genes are smarter than yours" ...

a lot of bush supporters feel the same way when they talk about social issues such as teenage pregnancy, abortion and welfare, don't they? ... same arguments ... same justifications ... same self-righteousness ... same darwinistic philosophy

but you guys are "different", right?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:48 PM on March 3, 2005


Er, no. I've done some incredibly stupid things in my life. Climbing cliffs, sans rope, is one example; colliding my noggin against a tree whilst snowboarding is another.

In neither case would I expect (a) Parks Canada or (b) the ski mountain to be liable for my own daft choices. I should not have climbed cliffs without a rope. I should not have been on a blue run when I'm a bunny snowboarder.

Pray tell, termite, just how the building owners are responsible for people who try to fly like Superman?

Where do you personally draw the line? Need every edge have merely a warning sign, "Caution: Leaping to the Next Building May Cause Injury or Death"? Or must those edges be fenced - and how high? What if someone decides to scale that fence: is it the owner's fault for not putting razor wire atop it?

Tell us why it should not be the individual's responsibility to take full responsibility for choosing to participate in what is an uncondoned and plainly dangerous stunt?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:00 PM on March 3, 2005


Oh, yes. Taking Bush as an example, it is clearly the best idea to throw out the law. Who needs law? And those trial lawyers, what a bunch of jerks!

Try: Attractive Nusiance

They knew it was a problem from the previous injuries, yet apparently did nothing to prevent these over-grown children from doing it some more.

Seems rather clear, from what I understand as the law, but IANAL, I'm even a law student. But don't we usually try to protect kids from themselves? Hmmm? If it was the FIRST incident, I'd feel less inclined towards the inujured party in this case.

And keep in mind: if the kid is disabled permanently, 'society' will end up paying the price if no one else does (except for the misery of the kid and his parents, that is)

Pet Bitch: why can't they provide teenagers with something more reasonable to do? This would not have happened if they'd had weed and a rock concert to attend!
posted by Goofyy at 4:17 AM on March 4, 2005


They knew it was a problem from the previous injuries, yet apparently did nothing to prevent these over-grown children from doing it some more.

Even if they knew it was a problem, I fail to see how it makes them responsible.
posted by agregoli at 7:35 AM on March 4, 2005


Attractive Nuisance? Oh, puh-lease. It's a parking garage, not a swimming pool.

Car-surfing kills a few kids a year, too. Standing on the roof of a moving car is, let us all be perfectly frank, really fucking stupid. But, hey, it's a rush, so dumb kids do it.

Guess that makes it an "attractive nuisance", too. Time to put razor wire on cars, right?

Sorry, but that theory just doesn't wash: there has to be a point at which you simply place the responsibility squarely and solely on the person who chose to partake in a dangerous and illegal activity.

For me, trespassing on a building then throwing oneself off it is well beyond the line.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 AM on March 4, 2005


Tell us why it should not be the individual's responsibility to take full responsibility for choosing to participate in what is an uncondoned and plainly dangerous stunt?

because he's a minor ... this IS a well established legal principle, you know ... as is the concept of "attractive nuisance"
posted by pyramid termite at 10:09 AM on March 4, 2005


They knew it was a problem from the previous injuries, yet apparently did nothing to prevent these over-grown children from doing it some more.

Using this reasoning, someone better do something about all those wide open highways that people insist on driving at illegal speeds on and causing wrecks, injuries and deaths. I'd say 15 mph speed bumps every mile or so should do the trick, otherwise it's just too attractive to go fast with so much open highway in front of you.

"I just didn't make it," Bargfrede said.

Well, no kidding, kid! We don't live in the Matrix, and you aren't Neo. I'm sorry, but if you don't have enough sense to not jump off tall buildings, no fence in the world is going to keep you safe from yourself.
posted by Orb at 10:53 AM on March 4, 2005


So where do you draw the line, PT?

Car surfing is an uncondoned and plainly dangerous stunt. Yet kids do it. Should car roofs not be considered "attractive nuisances"?

There is a point at which it becomes absurd to attempt to protect people from themselves.

It obvious that you and I have very different limits regarding personal responsibility.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:04 AM on March 4, 2005


pyramid termite: it's a relief to know that almost all of us here have never done anything stupid in our lives, perfectly teach our children everything and monitor them faillessly 24/7 and are therefore entitled to say to others ... "my genes are smarter than yours" ...

I've done plenty of stupid; got the scars to prove it. But I never sued anyone I could when it was obvious to anyone who doesn't think we should all live in padded cells that it was my stupidity at fault and not some third party.

My point is I was responsible. If you won't take responsibility for your actions then a case can be made that actions must be taken to protect you. However you don't give guns, poisons, explosives or other objects to people who can't be responsible for their actions. Objects like cars and the privilege to operate them where the irresponsible can harm others.
posted by Mitheral at 12:26 PM on March 4, 2005


[mumbles something about "nanny state", the destructive trend toward diminished personal responsibility, and stuff about kids these days and what sort of adults they're gonna be...]
posted by five fresh fish at 12:50 PM on March 4, 2005


fff ... you're trying to turn this into an argument about what personal responsibility is while ignoring that it's the parents that are suing, not the kid ... and that the garage does have a responsibility to build a fence, now that they know there is a problem here

question ... if that kid falls on someone and kills him, who are the survivors going to sue? ... just the kid?

it's not my ideas about personal responsibility that differ from yours ... it's my ideas of community repsonsibility ... and both are needed in this world
posted by pyramid termite at 3:00 PM on March 4, 2005


more silly lawsuits... about as worthy as this one, I think.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:21 AM on March 8, 2005


fff -- those are fabricated lawsuits.

I am going to sue for breach of somethingorother...
posted by Cassford at 9:30 AM on March 8, 2005


Huh. How irritating.

At least Snopes has some true silly ones:
Though the cases described in the e-mail are fake, real lawsuits of equal silliness can be found in abundance. An equally impressive list could easily have been compiled by anyone with access to a news database and a few moments to spare. For instance:

In March 1995, a San Diego man unsuccessfully attempted to sue the city and Jack Murphy Stadium for $5.4 million over something than can only be described as a wee problem: Robert Glaser claimed the stadium's unisex bathroom policy at a Billy Joel and Elton John concert caused him embarrassment and emotional distress thanks to the sight of a woman using a urinal in front of him. He subsequently tried "six or seven" other bathrooms in the stadium only to find women in all of them. He asserted he "had to hold it in for four hours" because he was too embarrassed to share the public bathrooms with women.

A San Carlos, California, man sued the Escondido Public Library for $1.5 million. His dog, a 50-pound Labrador mix, was attacked November 2000 by the library's 12-pound feline mascot, L.C., (also known as Library Cat). The case was heard in January 2004, with the jury finding for the defendant. In a further case which was resolved in July 2004, the plaintiff in the previous suit was ordered to pay the city $29,362.50, which amounted to 75% of its legal fees associated with that case.

In 1994, a student at the University of Idaho unsuccessfully sued that institution over his fall from a third-floor dorm window. He'd been mooning other students when the window gave way. It was contended the University failed to provide a safe environment for students or to properly warn them of the dangers inherent to upper-story windows.

In 1993, McDonald's was unsuccessfully sued over a car accident in New Jersey. While driving, a man who had placed a milkshake between his legs, leaned over to reach into his bag of food and squeezed the milkshake container in the process. When the lid popped off and spilled half the drink in his lap, this driver became distracted and ran into another man's car. That man in turn tried to sue McDonald's for causing the accident, saying the restaurant should have cautioned the man who had hit him against eating while driving.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:39 AM on March 8, 2005


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