It's Not Whether You Win Or Lose (Your iPod), It's How You Sue Your Friends

from the the-wisdom-of-parents dept

Remember last week when we wrote about the excessively litigious teenagers (or, their parents) who couldn't figure out how to settle a dispute over a lost iPod amicably and instead went to court? Apparently someone was sickened enough by the situation to anonymously donate an iPod and iTunes credits to the teen who lost hers. Seems like a nice solution that gets this situation out of the courts. However, the mother of the teen has rejected the donation and wants to proceed with the lawsuit. At this point, it's become clear that it's not about being made whole for the lost iPod, but about punishing the girl who lost it. It's true that the friend who lost the iPod probably should have been more careful about things -- and it sounds like she could have done a much better job dealing with the situation after it happened, but it's hard to see how this really deserves to continue to go to court, especially after a solution presented itself. The anonymous donor is the only one who's coming out of this whole situation looking halfway decent.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 2:27am

    this is one of those articles i'd rather have not have read as it merely exemplifies the stupidity of the american populace...

     

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    Sohrab, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 2:44am

    holy god....No wonder we cant get shit done in our court system cause bullshit like this exists

     

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    pixelpimp, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:14am

    ditto

    amen!!!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:18am

    All of you people who are using this as an excuse to complain about the supposed litigiousness of an identifiable group, I have one question for you:

    What was this girl who lost her iPod supposed to do?

    Conditions of the your answer must meet the following criteria:

    1. You cannot claim that she was somehow stupid in lending her iPod to her friend. My friends will lend me their car or their external hard drive or some other goods of value, and I always return them.

    2. You cannot claim that the friend who lost the iPod is not responsible for her own actions. This includes having anonymous donors replace it since it is simply teaching the girl who lost it that other people will come to her rescue at any point in time. There is, therefore, no reason to be responsible or take care of someone else's goods when entrusted to her care as such if you advocate such a solution.

    This court action isn't about punishment or lawsuits. It is about asking for borrowed goods back and being able to do something about it when they aren't returned. Any assertion to the contrary is ridiculous

     

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    david, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:19am

    wow... i knew my fellow americans were idiots, but this just beats them all...

     

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    Jeroen (profile), Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:21am

    I told you so...

    I got mildly flamed here a few weeks ago for stating that frivolous lawsuits like this could only happen in the US. Now look what we have here...

     

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  7.  
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    david, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:23am

    rebuttal

    at a certain point, you just need to decide that everything is OK and you should just move on with your life... since the ipod's been replaced, its no longer a problem.

     

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    sean, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:26am

    principle

    At this point it's a matter of principle; they don't want the girl who left it on the desk to feel like it's ok to make a careless error because someone will be there to bail her out.
    I don't think taking her to court is the right tack either, but I can see why the anonymous gift would be rejected as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:28am

    Your rebuttal violates condition 2 above

    How do you engender responsibility within society when you simply let people get away with things? It's an incredibly slippery slope, and the reason why the League of Nations failed to stop WWII - they let Germany, Italy and Japan run their imperialist campaigns unfettered.

    Or, put another way, you get treated largely by the way you let people treat you.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:34am

    if i lost my ipod which i wish i had, i'd be fine with a replacement. i'm sure most people would be, too. as long as SOMEONE does something, its ok.

     

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    david, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:35am

    and btw, since i forgot, comment 10 is from me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:36am

    Why would you be ok with a replacement if someone does something? Do you not think it's important to deter people from abrogating their own responsibility and relying on the donations or goodwill of others not directly responsible? Why would you allow someone to be conditioned in this way?

     

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    david, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:39am

    do you understand the concept of forgiveness? also, they friend was not relying on a donation. they were in deep s**t, they knew it, and know that they were saved by a miracle. they would have learned their lesson, no?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:42am

    Gheeezzz

    Wow, the idiots posting here are obviously attorneys..... or up tight people that hasn't gotten laid in years. How does a lost toy such as an iPod compare to Hitler? That is a very far fetch in my opinion. Those remarks on this blog should be saved and given to some comedy show. That's hilarious. We can call this new show or movie... "all because of the iPod."

    I want to counter the up tight arse posters here...

    First of all, the girl that did lose it I am sure has had a difficult time and probably already learned her lesson. For Pete's sake, don't beat up on the poor girl who simply misplaced it. The publicity and the defense is bad enough. It is a shame that her parents did not offer to replace it, but hey... these are risks parents should take when buying their children's toys: THEY DO GET LOST. THEY DO BREAK. THEY CAN GET STOLEN. and most importantly: THEY ARE CHILDREN.

    Shhheeeezzz. That's fine if the parents don't pay. I would use that tool to teach my child the risks associated with loans. I am a parent, I am aware and will take responsibility for the loss in my children's toys.

     

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    Emma, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:42am

    I don't think it's right for people to just get away with things all the time...but sometimes things just happen. It's not like she meant to lose her ipod...things like that happen all the time and her mother needs to realize that

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:50am

    I only have this much more to say to you regarding this:

    If someone ever commits or has committed a crime or tort against you, ask yourself: what did they have to lose?

    If what they had to lose was next to nothing, you can be sure they will be conditioned to do it again.

    If what they had to lose was their freedom or a lot of money or their own property, then they might think twice about ever doing it again.

    This isn't about being uptight. You're intent on teaching the child who lost the property a lesson. While that's certainly important, why should you not teach the child who lost that they have a responsibility too? The way I figure it, there is more than a good lesson learned by the girl who lent it out to her friend simply due to all of the trouble she is going to to try and get it back.

    And where is the reciprocal good will of the girl who lost it? If I lose something that belongs to someone else, I will replace it because it's the right thing to do. I will also expect to be sued or otherwise expected to pay it back if I don't do it myself.

     

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    Kyros, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:55am

    grow up..

    The parents involved in this situation need to grow up themselves. Maybe sign up to have a brain donated to them?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:56am

    Re:

    While I don't see this as a good use of the court system... here here!

    You're always talking about accountability on Techdirt so finally something is happening.

     

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    Gordon Stewart, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 4:30am

    Where are the parents of the girl who lost the ipod? If my child lost the ipod, I would be replacing the unit and taking the money from her allowance. Responsability and accountability should be taught in the home not in court.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 4:32am

    Its not the parents who are suing jobs to punish the other girl and make her learn a lesson, especially not by using the courts. It should be the other set of parents. The wrong has already been righted, so I have a lot of trouble believeing a judge won't grant a summary motion if it even gets to trial

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 4:44am

    RE: #9

    Wow, #9. I can't believe you just compared the loss of an ipod with the failure of the League of Nations...

    That's one hell of a leap! I salute your uncanny skill at comparing the loss of a $400 mp3 player to the deaths of 50 million people in WW2 because people are letting other people "get away with things."

    Mountains and molehills, people. Let's not lose track of which one is which.

     

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    pudro, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 4:59am

    Teens, not adults

    I think everyone is overlooking the point that these are 14 year old girls. If we were talking about adults, I could see the point of much of this, but we're not.

    The true accountability issue is with the girl who loaned the iPod, not the girl who lost it. Someone needs to teach this girl that SHE screwed up by loaning a high-dollar piece of technology to an equally irresponsible 14 year old girl. I doubt this is the only time that the girl who lost it is going to screw up, and she will learn enough times that people won't always bail her out. Someone needs to teach the other girl that you shouldn't sh*t on your friends over petty things and that you shouldn't always use the legal system to bail you out.

    And if that anonymous donor really wanted to be helpful, he should have donated those things to the defendant, so that she could say "I'm sorry. Here is a replacement for what I lost of yours." That way, any refusal on the prosecuting party's part would nullify their legal claims.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 5:15am

    one thing that has been overlooked in both posts about this situation is the court. many people say that stuff like this tie up the courts. and let criminals sit out on bail waiting for trial.

    well this isn't the case. that's criminal court, this matter falls into small claims court. totally different systems.

    just wanted to clarify that up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 5:32am

    pudro, what are you possibly thinking when you say someone should donate to the girl who lost it?

    Again, BOTH parties have a responsibility and BOTH of them should be held accountable. The difference is that the girl that the iPod originally belonged to is going through a hell of a lot of difficulty trying to get it back. That's her lesson, and she'll learn it well. But what about the lesson for the other girl? If she learns other people will bail her out when she screws up, she'll come to depend on them and will continue to act irresponsibly herself.

    At 14, you should know right from wrong, and you should know that if you break it or lose it, you bought it. You can argue semantics like the parents have responsibility for their children, but SOMEONE in that family of the girl who lost the iPod should be made financially responsible for the loss, and ALL of them should discuss it as a family as to the responsibilities.

     

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  25.  
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    Michael, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 5:48am

    Ipod, schmipod.... She loaned it out. She relinquished control of it, and that was poor judgement on her part.

    The firiend lost it, and is responsible for replacing it since she borrowed it.

    Hopefully each of them would learn from this anthill of an incident, and become a little more responsible.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 5:53am

    Re:

    I guess noone remembers that earlier the parents of the girl who lost her friend's ipod offered to replace it, but they would not accept it because it would have been a refurbished one.

     

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  27.  
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    thecaptain, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 5:56am

    Holy crap not this again Mike.

    You're usually pretty level headed but how can you miss the point by so much?

    YES, the litigous mother is a jerk and YES the iPod can be replaced now.

    That's NOT THE POINT!

    The point is a wrong was done, and needs to be redressed and the person responsible DOES need to be punished (reasonably).

    If the anonymous donor's gift was accepted, it would all blow over, true...but what lesson would be learned? Only this: That this girl does not need to ever be responsible because someone else will clean up her mess.

    I'd agree with you if the mother was asking for millions or virtual slavery or something. I hardly think its unreasonable to make the girl work a little to replace what was lost by her own carelessness and stupidity.

    Lets start teaching some damned personal responsibility a little PLEASE!

    Geez.

     

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    ®idiculous ©rap, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 6:10am

    Re: Teens, not adults

    Call me crazy, but I do not find this lawsuit as ridiculous as most of you.

    If you lost my iPod, I'd expect you to replace it. If you lost my daughter's ipod, same.

    If you didn't replace it, you and I would be in small claims court. And once we'd gone that far, I would be so ticked off with you that a gifted ipod from Steve Jobs himself wouldn't stop me from my small claim against you.

    If the 'borrower' girl's parents had simply accepted responsibility for their child, this would have been over before it started...

     

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    c0de, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 6:25am

    wtf

    seriously they are just doing it for attention, and i bet they are some trailer park trash that has nothing better to do but drag thier names in mud and make fools of them selves. i actually feel bad for the little girl because everyday that she goes to school kids are prob making fun of her saying things like 'dont borrow a pencil from her, she will sue you'. these parents are clueless and are just making thier childs life more difficult. its hard enough to be popular in school (which shoundt matter) but to have the whole school affraid of your parents because they will sue you for a something as petty as an ipod...

    these are children, taking them to court does not in anyway punish them, so what they miss an hour of TV or socilizing out of the week. if the point is to punish take away the ipod! take away the playstation! take away the cell phones (which im sure they have, pfft)!

    and if you would all remember, that the girls parents that lost the ipod were willing to give her a sightly used ipod of the exact same model, but the mother of the plantif wanted it to be brand new and with out discussing this with the mother of the defendant, she sued them!

    do a little more research and you will all find that the plantif's parents are hyping this whole thing just to get attention and try and get media on thier side, while the defendants parents wanted to keep it out of courst and settle and not have thier names drug though all this.

    there is no winner now, and no punishment that the courts can give will be sutiable for a 14yo girl. they can not ask the girl who lost it to pay she dosent make any money, and they are not able to put her in jail (not criminal court) and they cant force her to stay in her room... small claims court dosent punish people except for in thier pocketbook, which i doubt the 14yo has any money in.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 6:28am

    Re: Gheeezzz

    just fyi, the parent offered to replace it!

     

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    Judge and Jury, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 6:30am

    Yo, captain

    Captain, you seem to think that this lawsuit is not about retribution, but about 'teaching responsability'. As was pointed out the family of the girl who lost the ipod offered to replace it with a refurbished one. Maybe the refurbished one has a much lower market value than the lost one, but I doubt it. If it's the same model and it's refurbed by the manufacturer with warrenty, there should be no distinction.

    In addition, what were the terms of the loan agreement? Do you know? I would assume that it wasn't spelled out in a paper document. Being a human and having survived the age of 14, I can make a pretty strong assertion that the loan agreement didn't include specific instructions on how or where to return the item. I don't know anything about the school these girls go to, but at the school I went to when I was 14 it would have been perfectly acceptable to return an item to someone's desk and believe it would be safe there. Even an expensive item.

    Don't think that you can or should use the legal system to teach responsability. Teaching is best left to the home and the schools and the churches. Courtrooms are for legal recourse for victims of crimes. The last time I looked it wasn't illegal to lose something (even someone else's borrowed property), irrisponsible, yes, illegal, no.

    Clearly there are a lot of facts not in evidence on this blog. So it would be foolish to think that we can pass judgement on either party here. However, this lawsiut smells a lot like retribution, and that's a very real slippery slope.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 6:31am

    I see a lot of good discussion here, but I haven't really seen anybody drive home to the point yet. The point is that THIS WASN'T ANYBODY'S FAULT. Everytime something goes wrong, we always have to point our finger and blame somebody, and usually that somebody is somebody else, not ourselves. Sometimes stuff happens, and it's honestly nobody's fault.

    If these two girls were really friends, girl A shouldn't be viewed as at fault for lending it out. That's what friends do. Girl B shouldn't be viewed as being at fault either, because she did attempt to return it. Granted, it wasn't the best choice of a method of return, but it's not like she dropped it down a sewer or sold it or something equally stupid. If you want to blame somebody, blame the thief who took the iPod from girl A's desk. That's the guy that should be getting sued right now if you really want a lawsuit. And even that would be a dumb idea. Lawsuits are meant for much more serious problems in our society, not the squabblings of teenagers.

    Maybe the League of Nations reference was a bit much, but I can honestly say that I think stupidity like this on a large scale will be the death of this country. It seems our country as a whole no longer has any moral ground upon which to stand, and the lack of that foundation is crumbling our great nation piece by piece.

     

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    BinaryWorld, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 6:42am

    Judge Judy?

    I wonder what Judge Judy would say...

     

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    ehrichweiss, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 6:59am

    Re:

    Anonymous Coward: you wanna know what the girl who lost her ipod should do? Take the goddamned donated ipod like the article suggested, dumbass. If they refused the donated ipod they are looking for sensationalistic press and punishment, not to get their mp3 player replaced. Period.

     

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    ehrichweiss, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 7:03am

    Re:

    Anonymous Coward wrote:"If what they had to lose was their freedom or a lot of money or their own property, then they might think twice about ever doing it again."

    Weeeeellllll....since you were talking about a CRIME, and we're talking about an ACCIDENT, the difference is that little thing we call "intent".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 7:06am

    ehrichweiss, nice name calling, but - again - you are WRONG. I ask - again - what does taking the donated iPod teach the girl who lost it?

    The answer is: that she can continue to lose people's stuff without herself being responsible for it because someone else will randomly come and save her.

    PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: LEARN IT, ON *BOTH* SIDES OF A CONFLICT.

     

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    Anonymouse Donater, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 7:24am

    crap

    I must've forgotten to write my name on the box....

     

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  38.  
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    ehrichweiss, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 7:29am

    Re:

    AC: you're still a dumbass(and a coward, remember? oh, and a troll it seems). Everyone, repeat, E V E R Y O N E, everyone loses stuff. It's an accident and there's little you can do about it. If it were a crime, I'm all for retribution, otherwise you're just seeking attention. Personal responsibility was taken when the refurb ipod was offered, so what was your point again?

    You can argue that it's not a new ipod that she was offered but it wasn't a new ipod that was lost either, it was considered used the moment she put a single song on it. Since refurbed units sell for more than used units, you should consider personal responsibility and start admitting your POV was wrong.

     

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  39.  
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    Ap, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 7:32am

    Yes but

    Have we lost sight of the purpose of the civil court system in the US (and elsewhere)? Civil court does not exist to punish. Civil suits are ONLY to make the plaintif whole. In other words, to replace what was loss with the value of that which the plaintif no longer has. Its really hard to see how punitive damages could apply here. Its also difficult to imagine any jury awarding anything for something as silly as emotional damage over the loss of a piece of plastic.
    Frankly if the jury is at all reasonable they'll be angry at the plaintif for wasting their time with this crap and not award her a cent, maybe even make her pay for the defendant's lawyer.

     

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  40.  
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    Jon, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 7:51am

    Are we serious?!?!

    You have GOT to be kidding me! This is a joke right? The court system is not in place to "teach kids lessons". Where the hell have your minds gone? Kids lose stuff. Kids feel bad. End of story. They are not being "conditioned" to think they will get away with it again because someone donated an ipod and they don't have to pay for it. GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK. Take the damn donated ipod, and let the girl who lost it, give the other kid a $15 itunes giftcard.... all the music on the lil girls ipod was probably stolen anyway... TAKE HER TO COURT...just kidding... this whole thing is ridiculous and I am pissed it has gone this far!

     

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  41.  
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    nunya_bidness, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:01am

    Re: I told you so...

    The flame is that frivolous lawsuits like this happen all over the world. Not just in the USA.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:08am

    *shakes head*

    This will set a precedent that every single time someone loses something that didn't belong to them, they will know that a lawsuit could very well be in their future should the United States be filled with more stupidity.

    To the woman filing the lawsuit, life is about mistakes. So your daughter's ipod was lost. Sorry to hear about it. Another one was offered to replace it? Take it and go on with your lives. Be grateful that you have food, a place to stay, a job, and other meaningful things.

    If you feel that your life is too insignificant, move to a 3rd world country and see how people live. Or better yet, watch a show on tv that shows unfortunate people walking 4 hours a day to find water. Then tell me if filing a lawsuit about an ipod really defines you as a person in today's world.

    You're a pig. May misery find you soon and deal with you.

     

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  43.  
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    Bryan, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:09am

    Where did the i pod go.

    I'd like to live in a world where I could leave my ipod on my desk and expect it to be there when I return. It would be nice to find out who has the said ipod now. I suppose people are just to busy with there law suits to look though.

     

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    Judge Judy, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:11am

    Re: Judge Judy?

    The girl who borrowed the ipod should replace it with a new one. Case closed.

     

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    Matt, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:14am

    I've said it before and I'll say it again... "Don't use the legal system to do your parenting!"

     

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  46.  
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    Luke, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:16am

    What kind of an idiot loans out a $400 piece of equipment?

    I like my friends and all, but really how dumb can you be to loan someone a $400 electronic device with who knows how much in songs loaded on to it? Plus, the device has no formal way of proving that you own it. Apparently these two weren't very good friends to begin with otherwise it would've never made it to this point.

     

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    keybored, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:24am

    Re: Gheeezzz

    Finally a common sense responce. Thank you, you are 100% correct in this post.

     

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  48.  
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    separatethread, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:28am

    Re:

    1. AnonymousCoward is correct. Large or small, the crimes we commit against each other can sometimes only be dealt with through litigation. It is not a corruption or abuse of our court system just because the infraction seems petty by other's standards.
    2. Everyone else is correct, too, because THIS IS NOT NEWS. We have bigger fish to fry these days. By virtue of the fact that I have now been typing this response for ninety seconds, I already feel like a media whore. Done.

     

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  49.  
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    JM, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:30am

    Donor

    The anonymous donor is the only one who's coming out of this whole situation looking halfway decent.

    Sounds like the donor is not only entirely decent (IMO) but entirely decent in a situation full of entirely selfish individuals. I think you should have given this selfless individual a little more credit than 'halfway decent'.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:30am

    I have never heard of anything quite so foolish come out of Canada. That is all I have to say.

     

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  51.  
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    MikeT, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:36am

    And I bet half of you scream about responsibility

    Well gee, back in my day, all of the early to mid 90s, when I was a wee lad in elementary and middle school, my friends and I used to bring expensive console games and magic cards with us. A lot of times we'd swap them out for a few days. We didn't let our buddies' stuff out of sight until it was safely at home.

    So excuse me for not being sympathetic to this addle-brained, immature bitch who can't take responsibility for her friend's prized gadget that she was entrusted with.

    It's not up to that anonymous donor to make the situation right. The girl who betrayed her friend's trust by just leaving a very expensive gadget unprotected out in the open needs to pay up.

    This is the sort of case that civil courts were made for. All she's saying is that she was wronged, wants the money for her iPod and wants the lawyer fees paid for. Hell, this is probably being filed in small claims court, which is designed for getting property damage taken care of.

    There's gotta be a lot behind the scenes here. I really doubt that the girl and her family couldn't pay for this out of pocket to make right for losing her iPod. In the mean time what's she supposed to do, just go without any recourse for getting screwed over?

    No, I bet the girl's mother told her that she'll make her widdle sally pay her friend back when hell freezes over.

     

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    James V. Reagan, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 8:38am

    48 comments...

    and NONE address the ROOT CAUSE of this issue... that a thief was involved and stole the iPod.

    Yes, the person that borrowed was irresponsible.

    Yes, the person that loaned is overreacting and wasting valueable court time.

    Why do we in America let criminals have a free pass? So much judgement is placed on those who are less than responsible rather than a laser focus on criminal activity? What if we spent the time we spend blaming victims focused on ensuring our law enforcement and judicial systems have the tools they need to reduce crime?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 9:02am

    erichweiss, your condescension detracts from your argument and indicates that you can't think logically.

    It is the RIGHT of the person who the iPod belonged to to sue for compensation. Everyone reserves the right. It probably is more trouble than it's worth, but it's still their right. The reality is that the judge won't give them the full value of the iPod, but that doesn't mean that a refurbished iPod has that value. It's probably less. Refurb is a recipe for disaster in my experience with electronics. Did they counter back with a monetary amount? Something else? What about the inconvenience? So now they go the legal route. The girls will learn valuable lessons either way.

    Keep using harsh language - you only compromise your own point and demonstrate your immaturity.

     

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    Mindless Drone #674492764883, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 9:03am

    And We Care..... why?

    Jesus f*ck people, this type of crap happens EVERY DAY. The ONLY reason this gets ANY coverage at all is because it's an iPod. WHOOOOOPTY DOOOOOO!

    Know how many kids get thier sneakers stolen each day in America? How about bikes? Video games? Oh, but that doesn't matter, because it's not a "Hawt Gadget".

    F*ck you, Techdirt, for furthering the media's stupidity on pointless topics, and the rest of you need to just stfu as well. It's a goddamn iPod. Who cares?

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 9:21am

    One more time...

    There are no lawyers. This is a small claims suit. There is no lawyer being paid in this case.

    Court costs are probably just the filing fees.

    And this is precisely the sort of thing that small claims courts are designed to handle. It's a great system.

    As to why they didn't accept the donated iPod, I'd have to hear the mother's reasons myself, rather than just speculating on her motivations.

     

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  56.  
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    Cantalwayswin, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 9:24am

    There must be a lot of lawyers that post to techdirt.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 9:28am

    Re: Your rebuttal violates condition 2 above

    Are you trolling?

    The courts are not there to teach social responsibility. The courts are not there to teach anything. A civil suite is not meant to punish. It is meant to put the parties back in the same position they were in before the bad.

    If someone offered to make the injured party whole, I do not want my tax dollars wasted in a personal vendetta to "teach" (i.e. punish) a careless child. That is what parents are for. The child let someone steal an ipod, she didn't invade Poland. *Eye to heaven*

     

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  58.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 9:35am

    I agree...

    she does need to be punished but I think the lawsuit is grandstanding. If I were her dad I'd just make her work or dock allowance or cut off holiday gifts until the value of the iPod and music was replaced. She learns her lesson, the other girl gets her iPod back, the legal system is able to get to real cases, and the friendship of the two girls might, just might, have been saved.

     

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  59.  
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    Judge Judy2, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Judge Judy?

    You say, "The girl who borrowed the ipod should replace it with a new one. Case closed."

    Was the ipod stolen on the same day it was bought?
    Even if the child had lost it instead of returned it in a way that might have let it be taken by a thief, the value of a use ipod is a used ipod, not a new one. The parents of the child who returned the ipod "carelessly" offered a used ipod. The other party wants something of greater value than the item they lost.

    Judge Judy says get a life.

     

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  60.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 1st, 2006 @ 9:55am

    Re:

    If the anonymous donor's gift was accepted, it would all blow over, true...but what lesson would be learned? Only this: That this girl does not need to ever be responsible because someone else will clean up her mess.

    You don't think the fact that this has been all over the news hasn't made the girl feel awful about it? I think she made a mistake, and while she may have handled it badly, I find it hard to believe that the donor's iPod would teach her that everything will just blow over. By this point, I think she'll be DAMN careful anytime someone lends her anything ever again (if they ever do, since everyone knows she's not responsible).

    I think that's punishment enough.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 9:58am

    Re: principle

    I completely agree. Far from being an example of our overly-litigious society, it is one of the few cases where those responsible are (hopefully) going to be held responsible.

    To expand, let me offer a note of comparison. Most lawsuits these days are all about diverting responsibility--thieves who sue homeowners because they cut themselves while breaking in--instead of forcing someone to accept responsibility which was theirs in the first place, as in this case.

    It may seem ridiculous and trivial, but I think the most ridiculous thing here is the fact that the parents of the girl who was borrowing the ipod did not immediately make her take responsibility. Sure, it was an accident, but she was in possession of the device and it was her responsibility until returned safely to the owner. Not that hard to figure out.

    And now I've left a long and rambling comment about it.

     

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  62.  
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    Rob, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 10:07am

    What does the RIAA have to say about this?

    Now someone has an ipod in their possession, with who knows how many songs on it, that they didn't pay for...who is going to pay the artists for their losses!?

     

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  63.  
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    No One Knows, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 10:11am

    Well kids, there you have it. Better living through court action. Teach them young all you need is a good lawyer, and you can live your whole life off of legal larceny. Screw your friends, all they are is a money resource anyway. And if you make enough money, you can have the best friends money can buy. (May God have pity on our Kids, for as parents we do not deserve it.)

     

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  64.  
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    Rikko, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 10:11am

    We've gotten off track..

    Everyone seems to have forgotten what happened here:

    1) Girl A loans iPod to Girl B
    2) Girl B returns it by leaving it on Girl A's desk
    3) THIEF steals iPod from Girl A's desk

    We're now punishing Girl B because of THIEF. Perhaps a poor judgment call, but this is absurd. We've basically decided we'll now bend over and say "well, crime happens now and that's just the way of it, so let's pick on someone related to the crime and pick on them instead of trying to find a thief".

    Absolutely not. Girl B didn't LOSE the iPod, she returned it in a stupid place.

    What the hell has happened to us that we no longer care about criminals and instead focus on a misguided sense of "responsibility"? This case has merit if Girl B dropped the iPod off a bridge or simply lost it. She didn't. It was stolen.

    Now, maybe she lied and actually stole/sold the iPod and didn't put it back on the desk at all, but that has never been questioned in this case.


    We can all make the world a better place if we walk down the street until someone offers to sell us a TV or bike, and then smash their heads open.

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 10:24am

    Re: We've gotten off track..

    "We can all make the world a better place if we walk down the street until someone offers to sell us a TV or bike, and then smash their heads open."

    Yes, you've definitely gotten off track alright...

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 10:36am

    Re: We've gotten off track..

    We're now punishing Girl B because of THIEF. Perhaps a poor judgment call, but this is absurd. We've basically decided we'll now bend over and say "well, crime happens now and that's just the way of it, so let's pick on someone related to the crime and pick on them instead of trying to find a thief".

    I agree. When did we as a society decide to blame the victim instead of the thief? Is it when the police became to lazy to investigate petty theft?

    In a public school, there is often a police office in the building. If a student tries to report a crime, it is hard to even get the police to take a report. Instead, the grill the victim and add insult to injury by telling the kid they deserve what happens to them and to take care of it themselves. They they send out a memo on the problem of gang violence to the teachers.

    I know every crime isn't solvable, but how many students were in class when the ipod was taken? Did the police make any attempt at questioning students and taking the crime seriously? Even a token effort to send a message that crime would be investigated in school? I doubt it.

    In the school I worked at, all the police did was sit in the office reading the paper, and even when teachers pushed the panic button (meaning they were being attacked in class) it took about 5 minutes for the office to respond and send school security (meanwhile, other students protected the teacher--at a risk to themselves). If Police took theft and battery in school as seriously as they do when it happens to a yuppie or a senator, then the ipod would not be an issue.

     

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  67.  
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    Michael, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 10:37am

    Of Life and Lessons

    It's interesting that everyone keeps getting back to the "lessons" to be learned about responsibility of ownership and of others property. These are, of course, very important and should be conveyed to every child out there, not only these two girls. There are, however, many other lessons to be learned here and those lessons -- often more intrinsic in nature -- seem to have been forgotten in this case.

    Someone mentioned that these girls must not have been very good friends in light of their actions after-the-fact: I'd be inclined to agree. The reality is that a true friend wouldn't let an iPod (no matter its cost or value) come between them. Real friends accept each other's shortcomings because they value their relationship enough to do so. They forgive each other's mistakes and don't hold them over each other's heads or use them as bargaining chips. Perhaps someone should be teaching these girls about what it is to be a true friend.

    And even if they are not very good friends, what ever happened to the notion of "taking the high road." Yes, the plantiff has the right to seek legal remedies, but that doesn't mean that this is the best course of action. Sometimes weighing your options and choosing not to take legal action is the wisest choice. Also, it is often the more genteel response -- especially in matters as trivial as this. Everyone is always complaining that today's kids are uncivilized, disrespectful, and irresponsible, yet few seem willing to teach their children the value of "taking the high road" by actually doing it from time to time.

    Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice I was given in my youth (when I was about 16) was that you should never lend something that you can not afford to loose. It wasn't that I shouldn't expect to get it back -- it just shouldn't be something I couldn't bare to live without. That goes for "things" and for money. The old proverb -- "Never a borrower or a lender be." -- assumes that the loss of what is loaned would drive a rift in a relationship. If you stick to loaning out only that with which you feel comfortable parting (and prehaps you should even go so far as to mentally "right it off" at the time of loaning it), then this old proverb looses its teeth. This premise has helped me choose when not to loan things many times over the years. While I may have lost a few things over the years, I've never lost a friend. Perhaps that's a lesson someone should share with these girls and their parents.

     

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  68.  
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    LogicPeople...C'mon, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 11:10am

    wow

    wow... i thought the people in the article were borderline retarded... but equating a lost ipod with the failure of the league of nations leading to world war 2? there has yet to be a word to describe the utter absurdity of such a correlation... seriously, it's an ipod... any time you lend anything out to a person there's the chance you might not get it back, and whether or not you're thinking about that, this is a reality. talk to the girl who lost the device and ask for retribution, don't take her to court... this is an exemplification of the jerry springer crowd who also watch the people's court... the pathetic scum of america...

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 12:06pm

    I notice it's the MOTHER who rejected the replacement offer. Way to go MOM.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 2:44pm

    Several lessons to be taught here...

    First, the "kidiot" that lost the stupid thing in the first place has to be held accountable for her carelessness. No doubt she didn't do it on purpose, but it was an expensive "toy" and not giving two poots about it was wrong. Second, the parents of the "kidiot" that lost it should have punished their daughter for being careless and replaced the lost iPod and music in it, while making the loser pay them back for replacing the losee's "toy". Third, the girl who lent the iPod to her friend should learn that lending takes some risk and responsibility as well. Lastly, the parents of the "kidiot" that had her iPod lost should sit down with the loser's parents and discuss, with kids attending, the rsponsibilities of borrowing and lending.

    Far too often we end up NOT teaching our "chirren" to be responsible. If we don't instill the values of a resonsible life, then what kind of society so we have to look forward to. It appears that most of us here have opinions, and most of them want to do the right thing. Very few (if any) of us want the "kidiot" that lost the damnable thing in the first place to be publically flogged, but come on...you have to take responsiblity for your mistakes. You won't always have an annonymous donor in life, unless you have huge breasts and some rich old guys eyeing you, but that's another issue...

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Several lessons to be taught here...

    i agree with you on everything except the public flogging part. do we really want the lesson that is instilled into our kids that the way to solve a problem is a lawsuit?

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 3:56pm

    Sanguine Dream - Have you ever done something by accident that was wrong? Did you really think the girl who lost the ipod deserves to be punished?

    No, she doesn't NEED to be punished. Get that thinking out of your head. I know you are smarter than that. (I hope)

    I feel sad for all you people who think that every mistake needs to be justified by some sort of punishment. It's your mentality that is going to f*ck up the world in the future.

    Mindless Drone - You said this happens all the time? Where is your proof? Provide some links about people suing over a book, a shoe, a pen, etc.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 5:45pm

    IDIOTS!!

    All you people claiming the mother is doing the right thing are CRAZY! She needs to continue the lawsuit to teach the girl a lesson about responsibility & consequences?

    What the hell freaking kind of lesson is she teaching her own daughter? That you should hold grudges, whine, bitch and moan for any perceived harm? And even when a solution presents itself, you continue whining cuz your main goal is to PUNISH someone? What happened to the old way of living life? Y'know, sometimes you get burned, you learn some lessons, you move on.

    Hey, here's a great novel idea: The girl's "punishment" is that her friend is MAD at her for losing her iPod. Since she (and her parents) refuse to pay for it, maybe further punishment is that the iPod-girl will no longer be friends with her. Maybe the losing-girl should save up her allowance (or after-school job) to pay for a new iPod.

    And the daughter's lesson should be "exercise some judgment" and "if you choose to entrust someone with your things, you bear some risk".

    This bullshit does not belong in court, and all you freakin morons advocating for it have lost your minds. No wonder the whole world hates us stupid Americans. Fools & imbeciles.

     

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  74.  
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    VPR, Sep 2nd, 2006 @ 12:17am

    Sorry Mike, but I disagree.

    You can't blame the media for making a semi-large story out of this & say "that's punishment enough". She might be a bitch & enjoy the attention...ever consider that side?

    What if the family was poor & the mother saved pennies in order to give it to her daughter as a present? It would be a different story then I bet.

    If they truely want this settled, the parent(s) of the "damned" should simply replace it. Honestly, if my son was throwing rocks and accidentally broke your window, I'd be right over while on the phone to get it replaced.

    Shit happens. What matters is what you do after the fact.

    Is it really that hard to be a responsible parent these days?

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2006 @ 12:48am

    To #73 and like thinkers, remember that teaching responsibility is the most important thing in society for ALL parties involved in a conflict. Next time you get robbed, remember that one or more people may have taken the attitude of "oh well, this was my fault" instead of making the person who was responsible actually responsible.

     

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  76.  
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    Holy Moses, Sep 2nd, 2006 @ 8:44am

    An Eye for an Eye

    A Tooth for a Tooth.

    An Ipod for an Ipod.

    A Bluetooth for a Bluetooth.

    C'MON IS THIS REALLY TRULY *JUSTICE*????

     

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  77.  
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    nyonix, Sep 4th, 2006 @ 4:47am

    FFs, anyone that goes to court just to teach a 14 y old girl a lesson, must have some serious problems,i fell for her daughter....

     

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  78.  
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    sara, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 5:18am

    ipod stole

    This situation is very similar to what a friend do to me. I'm a nice person so what i did was let her listen to it, and she never gave it back. Then again i forgot to ask for it back. But she should of given it back to me. The next day we got into a big fight and now 2 weeks later, she still hasn't given it back. I did go up to her and ask time and time again but it still doesn't seem to work. The next step was to go to administrator. I didn't want to do this, i didn't want to go to a teacher or even the principle. BUt if it's what i need to do, then of course i'll do it. I don't want to fight her but i just want the special thing that i got as a gift back.

     

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  79.  
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    maggie, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 8:37pm

    where can i get one of these ipods for not going to court for someone losing my ipod.
    because its been more than a year & all i hear is " ill give you the money, tomorrow...."
    my dad works for the police and he doesnt want to start shit but he want my ipod back that i got for christmas two years ago..
    & my parents worked really hard for it.
    it was an 80GB white ipod.

     

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