The No Responsibility Society: Suing Because Your Daughter Is Texting So Much She Didn't Notice The Open Manhole

from the houston,-we-have-a-problem dept

A bunch of folks have been sending in various versions of this story -- and I have to admit, it sounds so ridiculous that it reads like an urban legend. I was hesitant to even write about it at first, but with so many mainstream media sources covering it, perhaps it really did happen. Basically, a girl who claims she was so focused on text messaging while working fell into an open manhole in Staten Island. Now, that should be embarrassing enough, but the really crazy part is the claim that the girl's parents are planning to sue the city for not adequately protecting their daughter from herself. At least they're not suing the mobile carrier or mobile device maker as well...


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  1.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:40am

    If she didn't see a large hole in her way, how was she supposed to see warning cones?!

     

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    scote, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:45am

    Liability is not a dichotomy. If the open manhole was not marked properly then the city is liable, regardless of whether there was some culpability by the girl. The percentage of liability is a fact for a jury to determine.

     

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    Kazi, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:54am

    "while walking" and not "while working"!

    Text messaging isn't a job!


    Also, how do they know that she just didn't jump into the manhole to have a story to tell and is now experiencing buyer's remorse and the texting story is just a cover?

     

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    j201, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:54am

    "At least they're not suing the mobile carrier or mobile device maker as well..."

    Yet.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:55am

    Okay, seriously...

    This is why sometimes authoritarian dictatorships sometimes look kind of good. Because American society and law is such that this young girl's parents, who have apparently raised their daughter to be such a fucking idiot that she is randomly falling into deep holes (god I hope she was covered in poop), will likely get rich off the back of the city (meaning tax payers).

    On Planet Spaceball, we would have smiled at the parents and then promptly taken the girl's uterus away, insuring that she would not be able to replicate her stupidity through passage of genetic material.

     

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  6.  
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    Matt, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:05am

    Re:

    @ scote

    Agreed!

    Masnick conveniently forgot the part of the story where there were no cones or other safety measures that are required to be there by law. Yes, the girl was a fool for falling into the sewer because she wasn't paying attention and its more than likely she still would have walked right on by the safety warnings if they were there, but since they were not there will be some liability issues for the city.

    Im not sure if she should get much more than her hospital bills paid for since she was the idiot who was texting/walking and not paying attention.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:05am

    What next...

    I suppose the next teen girl (or boy) who gets in an accident while texting and occasionally driving will sue the person she runs into because they failed to avoid her while she was preoccupied.

    Incidentally, I was behind a white car yesterday that was going 30 mph in a 45 zone!!! The road merged with another road that had three lanes. You know where this is going. The lady (or girl - she looked teens or twenties to me) was texting. I glanced in my rear view mirror after I passed her and watched her weave into the next lane and back again - I guess driving was getting in between her and her important text.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:15am

    lol I love the fact that the trolls are on every story. Matt you have a dedicated following of naysayers...that said it does seem as though the city had some fault in that they should have put up cones first, had this been a blind pedestrian we would all have been outraged. A texting teen however will and should not garner the same sympathy. Hopefully her medical, clothing and new phone are taken care of and that's it. Maybe she learned a lesson from this, but I seriously doubt it.

     

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    Esahc (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    witty masters

    "And yes, her parents are also witty masters of the English language. The mother, Kim Longueira, speaking to MSNBC: “Oh my God, it was putrid. One of her sneakers is still down there”"

    LMAO

     

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  10.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    Re: Okay, seriously...

    Amen, Mr. Helmet.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    Re:

    "Maybe she learned a lesson from this, but I seriously doubt it."

    Haha, yeah, the lesson she should have learned is that too much texting will get you in some deep shit...

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    If there is a open hole in the ground that will allow you to fall into a sewer you need to put up cones and probably even rope it off with caution tape.

    There are a dozen ways someone can accidentally fall into a hole in the ground that isn't marked. Perhaps a business man looking at some report, a tourist looking at the buildings and not where he is walking, some kid fooling around with friends walking backwards while they are talking, ect

    All unsafe and stupid things to do but people aren't practicing safe and smart methods all the time.

     

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  13.  
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    Michael, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    "Her mother, Kim Longueira, said it doesn't matter that her daughter was walking and texting..."

    Ummm... I think it does matter.

    Not sure if NY is a contributory negligence state, but at the very least the girl's actions mitigate the damage?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:29am

    Re: What next...

    was going 30 mph in a 45 zone!!!

    So, on most roads, there's a speed limit, not a minimum. I'm not sure what you're complaining about.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    It matters, sure, but that the girl was texting doesn't relieve the city of all liability. "It doesn't matter" in the sense that she girl is still owed reparations.

     

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    Kazi, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    It may be a speed limit but it's advised that how slow you go doesn't make it dangerous or obstruct traffic.

    Going 30 in a 45 is dangerous especially if you are swearving left to right. If I'd be driving behind you I'd make note with a long horn.

    Furthermore, depending on your state, it's illegal to use a phone and drive. Therefore, the person could have clearly been endangering others dependent on the location.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re:

    Mike wasn't the only one -- the Wired Article he links to doesn't mention it, either. You need to click through to the original(?) MSNBC page to get that fact, and they bury it about 1/2 way down the page.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    if she was kicking over street cones and walking through caution tape I'd agree with you... however if it was just a open hole in the ground I'd say it in fact "does not matter"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:41am

    Next thing you know they will be trying to pass a new law that says no walking while texting (which they already have in some areas).. Our country has so gone to shit.. Bunch of fat lazy Americans.. I'll be so happy when I get my boat!

     

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  20.  
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    Rob R. (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: What next...

    Going 15 MPH under the limit is a hazard to other drivers. Regardless of "should be" or "well they ought to" this is reality. People drive at or just over the speed limit and people that drive under it cause accidents because the morons that speed also don't pay attention. Yes, they "should be" going slower and "ought to" pay attention and slow down - but they don't. And they won't. So going slow is a hazard.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:45am

    Re:

    If traffic is going at 80, but the posted limit is 65, what are you supposed to drive at? Was this a small road, or was there room to move around her? As the over-taking driver, it would be your responsibility to not hit her from behind. She was doing the right thing by not exceeding the speed limit.

    Now, swerving is a sepparate issue, and I'll agree with you there. But I'll note that driving 30mph got three exclamation points, and swerving only earned a period. This directs my judgment of where you put your emphasis.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: What next...

    Going slow is not against the rules of the road. They may be a hazard, but by your own admission they're a hazard because of the negligence of others. Blame the victim much?

    This is besides the point, which is that she was texting and driving -- that was irresponsible.

     

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  23.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    Most states also have fines for either driving too slow or obstructing the flow of traffic, so that guy was an idiot anyway.

     

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    Sea Man, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:50am

    She's suing for the lack of safety measures in place, and rightly so. End of story.

     

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    Me, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re:

    If traffic is going 80 and the limit is 65, I go a few MPH under that limit. People can blow their horns all day. I watch as dangerous speeders swerve in and out of lanes trying to get ahead while I enjoy my casual drive.

     

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    James (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re:

    Exactly right sir. The city has already stated that safety procedures were not followed. IF she had tripped over the cones and fell in, that would have been a different story.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: What next...

    you can get a ticket under impeding traffic or other charges for driving too slow. In fact, depending on where you are, if you are driving the speed limit and everyone else is speeding the cops will pull you over. My father got a ticket for that once.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    Wait, a troll is someone who contradicts, Mike? Interesting...

     

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  29.  
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    Ryan, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Speed limits do not necessarily have anything to do with safety. The government decided to politicize it a while back(what a surprise) and set the limits at 55 to cater to environmental groups. Of course, nobody followed them and stopped paying attention to limits because they were no longer correlated with the safe speed on the road. Even now, they are still mostly set below the maximum safe speed because drivers are used to this; if they raised them, many would assume they could go faster to an unsafe speed.

    Anyway, the point is that if you are merely trying to obey the law, then you are doing an admirable job. If you are trying to be safe, then you are a moron. You can let other drivers honk all you want until you get sideswiped, your car rolls across the median, and you are brutally killed as your car is engulfed in flames. The road and traffic dictate the safe speed, not the limit.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What next...

    "Going slow is not against the rules of the road."

    what country are you in? In most states of America you will get pulled over of hazardous driving if you are going 10 under without having caution signs and/or emergency lights flashing

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    In many states you would rightfully get pulled over for doing that unless you have your emergency lights on. You are the hazard on the road, not the hundreds of other people following the flow of traffic.

     

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    TheStupidOne, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Other Reasons

    Funny how the comments dissolved into a discussion of driving habits, but anyway ...

    What if the girl had been completely deaf and was signing to the person next to her when she fell into the hole? Or how about a young woman in an electric wheelchair that cannot easily see the ground in front of her? Would the article have been talking about how a girl fell into an open manhole while not paying attention? or rather about how a city failed to protect it's disabled citizen (or visitor)?

    The fact is that the city employees are supposed to erect barriers so that distracted, disabled, or even stupid people don't fall into open manholes and they did not do that. Therefore they are guilty of something.

    Personally I think that the girl's choice to distract herself and that she was not seriously injured should weigh significantly into any decision. Give her a couple hundred bucks and send her on her way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: What next...

    So, on most roads, there's a speed limit, not a minimum. I'm not sure what you're complaining about. In most States you can get a ticket for going too slow as well, if you don't have your hazards on. A police officer can actually pull you over in many states for going 10 under the speed limit and give you a warning. Why you ask? Because you are creating a road hazard! Just like its dangerous for someone to be going 15 miles faster than the speed limit, going too slow disrupts traffic and causes problems. The danger with a speeder is he may crash into you. If you are going 15 under, EVERYONE is effectively a speeder compared to you. So go the speed limit, give or take 5 miles per hour. I prefer to go fast myself but I'm not a jackass about it and I don't risk anyone's lives. Its like driving for conditions, if you are on a freeway you need to be going freeway speeds and maintain speed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    I have to agree with the others here. If there were no physical barriers around the whole, as the law requires, then the city IS liable, regardless of whether or not the girl was texting.

    It is EXTREMELY hard to see a hole in the ground like that, even when you are paying attention. That's why they put up the safety barricades in the first place.

     

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    ailuros, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: What next...

    going more than 10 mph lower than the limit is dangerous and, in most states, just as illegal as breaking that limit.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    There was no traffic cones around the manhole.
    Besides, plenty of people have sued cities for falling in an uncovered manhole. Texting or otherwise.

     

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    mylo, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:22am

    Re: Okay, seriously...

    LOL!

     

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  38.  
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    Jiminy Cricket (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: What next...

    Actually, most municpalities have maximum AND minimum speed restrictions. Drive 15 miles an hour on the freeway and see what the cops think if you don't believe me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    Sanity

    There was a similar case in the UK a few years ago when a Barrister (Lawyer) tried to sue the council for not gritting the icy pavement he fell on as it was their duty... The judge agreed but also pointed out that it was his job to exercise due care and dismissed the suit... Maybe the judge in this might take note.

     

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  40.  
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    Ryan, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    Re: Other Reasons

    This is one of the troubles I have with society today. Anybody that does anything, especially in government, must attempt to account for every possible individual and their individual distraction/disability/stupidity or be liable. It should be the individual's responsibility to protect themselves from a reasonably obvious hazard. What does a deaf person signing have to do with anything? Doesn't the same thing apply to a hearing person engaged in conversation while looking at their partner? Shouldn't a blind girl in a wheelchair maybe not be wheeling down the sidewalk alone if she can't see a large, gaping hole in the middle of it? How does this girl see the walk/don't walk sign at crosswalks, or does the city have to station attendants at every intersection?

    Should the employees have had a warning indicator around the manhole? Probably, and it sounds like the girl walked in during a brief window that they didn't. But she didn't fall in because a reasonable person aware of her surroundings missed a dangerous hazard, she fell in because she was not paying attention to something she should have been aware of, and because she was a retard it becomes everyone else's responsibility to protect her. Next time I see an open manhole cover, I'll be sure to go jump in; I can take it for a cool million. Even if there's caution tape, I can just say that it wasn't high enough for an individual of my height...

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    What ever happened to personal responsibity? If you fall in a large hole in the ground its your own fault. Who cares if there were cones, safety tape, signs, whatever. You should watch where you are stepping.

    Darwin will catch up with this girl yet.

     

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  42.  
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    romeosidvicious (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re:

    It's not "End of story" by any means. If she hadn't been texting and fallen into an open manhole cover it might be. If I were her parent, and I am a parent of seven children, there would be no lawsuit and she would be sans phone until she could learn to be aware of her surroundings. There may be grounds for a lawsuit but she is responsible for the fact she was not paying attention to where she was walking. What if the city had erected a light pole in her usual path? What if she had crossed against the light while texting? An open manhole cover without the proper safety equipment is a danger to be sure but as far as culpability goes she is responsible for walking into a freaking open manhole while paying attention to her phone. The city may be on the hook for some damages but I pray the state has laws to limit the city's liability since she was doing something damn stupid and fell in a damn hole while doing it.

     

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  43.  
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    Hal, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    How stupid can it get?

    I mean, this is ONE f'ing lawsuit. in a country of 300+ MILLION, in a world of 6+ BILLION, what conclusions can one draw from ONE f'ing lawsuit?

    Apparently, if you're a libertarian vunderkin, you deduce that the ENTIRE society now has no responsibility.

    Geebus, Masnick, get a grip

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:44am

     

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    Just Joe, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Normally I would agree

    I'm usually on the other side of the fence regarding these matters, but in this instance, I think she might actually have a case.

    First of all, the manhole cover was not in the street. It was in the middle of a side walk in a residential neighbourhood and spanned almost the entire width of the side walk.

    The city truck was parked in the street. The worker removed the manhole cover and left it open and unattended while he went back to the truck to get the safety cones.

    In the meantime, the girl came walking down the sidewalk and fell into the hole. When the worker returned with the cones, she was already in the hole.

     

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    Javarod, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: What next...

    So, on most roads, there's a speed limit, not a minimum. I'm not sure what you're complaining about.

    Actually in most places there actually is a minimum, typically anything greater than ten under is a violation, weather permitting, and i have heard of people getting tickets for being grossly (35 on a freeway) under the speed limit, though it is very rare, since IIRC the law is mentioned once in most driver's manuals and no where else, since its assumed that common sense means you don't drive that slow.

     

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    Pitabred, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Re: Okay, seriously...

    And on planet Pita, we would have taken your keyboard and fingers away ensuring that you wouldn't be able to misuse words in the future.

    Everybody does stupid things. Damning them because of it is a good way to just get rid of everyone.

     

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  48.  
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    Sean, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Derail much?

    Leave it to the readers of Techdirt to turn this into a debate about speeding/driving/passing...when it's an article about a girl walking and texting and falling into a manhole.

    This page has been incredibly representative of what happens in comments on websites - they derails and then everyone is arguing with everyone else, ignoring the article.

    You're all so much smarter than everyone Techdirt readers...or so you'd love to think.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What next...

    @anon coward, 8:47pm post

    Anyone going more 15 mph under the speed limit is required by law to have their hazard lights on.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And even then it's not vary clear. The article says that they had turned around to get cones, it didn't come out and say it was unmarked (but that's how I'm taking it). There could have been cones and they turned to get more.

    Going with it being unmarked, the city is liable and will probably get sued for 7 figures (the potential for injury was great). The outcome will probably be much less since she should have seen all those people in the bright orange (or yellow) vests and the truck with the yellow flashing light (which may qualify and warning markers in themselves).

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: What next...

    Ummm...let's see. In many states (mine included), unless you have an SMV (slow moving vehicle) sticker on your vehicle, and your vehicle is licensed to drive on the road, traveling at more than 10 mph below the speed limit is, in fact, considered impeding the flow of traffic and is a ticketable offense.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Re:

    lol...Right, right, right and right...

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re:

    The road was two lane, both ways. She may have been doing the right thing by not exceeding the speed limit, but she was doing the wrong thing by slowing down traffic, excessively, and by creating a hazard when she did not stay in her lane.

    Make excuses for her all you wish, the fact is she was texting and driving in a reckless manner.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Okay, seriously...

    "Everybody does stupid things. Damning them because of it is a good way to just get rid of everyone."

    ....Exactly

     

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    DCX2, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:18am

    All is well

    I think in the end, everything is as it ought to be.

    The city should have had barriers up before opening the manhole cover. The lawsuit seems like proper punishment for not ensuring the safety of pedestrians.

    The girl will be the laughingstock of the Internets for a few days. Seems like proper punishment for not paying attention.

    And maybe, just maybe, a few kids who are reading about this will learn how dangerous it is to walk around with your face all up in your cell phone.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What next...

    I think this issue has already been covered. Impeding the flow of traffic is ticketable in many states, mine included. Creating a hazard (driving 33% slower than the posted speed is definitely creating a hazard - especially when added to her "race track" maneuver of weaving in and out of her lane).

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Derail much?

    Leave it to the above commenter of Techdirt to turn this into a debate about the validity of the discussion going on in the comments section...when it's an article about a girl walking and texting and falling into a manhole.

    The above comment has been incredibly representative of what happens in comments on websites - they derails (er?) and then everyone is arguing with everyone else, ignoring the article.

    You're all so much smarter than everyone above commenter...or so you'd love to think.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, but that was not the issue, was it? What if you were driving 63 mph, and came upon someone driving 40 mph (which is illegal in nearly every state if on an interstate)? I'm guessing you would have been annoyed to realize this person was not only going slow, but going dangerously slow when you hit your brakes because you could not pass, and then the person behind you, who was also texting, ends up in your back seat. Good luck with that.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: What next...

    Got that question wrong on a California driving exam. I said you go the posted speed. At the time I took the test, that was the wrong answer. The correct answer for California is that you go the speed of traffic because impeding the flow of traffic in California is a more serious offense than speeding.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: What next...

    Cops will figure you are either drunk or should not be driving.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    Re: Derail much?

    Actually, the point was stupidity while texting. A reasonably relevant additional story was provided, and rather than debate the expanded scope of ignoring your surroundings while texting, the direction went to accusing the people put at risk of being stupid or unaware of their surrounding while the texter causing the hazard appeared to be absolved of blame. My guess is that those blaming the people around the texter text themselves...nothing like having someone else serve as a proxy for defending your personal lack of responsibility.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Okay, seriously...

    On the other hand, when someone does something stupid and ends up hurt, they should not be blaming others. When a person cuts off their fingers in a saw, it should be okay to sue the saw manufacturer?

    If you walk down a sidewalk, reach a curb but do not see it because you are texting, or the red light telling you not to cross, fall over the curb in front of a truck that has the right-of-way and get killed or seriously injured, I am guessing you want to sue the driver and the city, right?

    Let me say again clearly:

    PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    This is why we have the culture we now have. WHY is the city culpable for their mistake but the girl is not culpable for hers. How many other people fell into this hole? It seems obvious that it wasn't a problem for every other conscious human being on the sidewalk, but the girl who wasn't doing her own due diligence, can sue? Sure the city should have some punishment, but the girl certainly should not be rewarded. Perhaps when things like this happen, the money should be awarded to some type of charity or something like that. Both parties are obviously at fault here, neither should benefit in any way.

     

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  64.  
    icon
    TW Burger (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Re: Cones for Morons

    True, that's why I always set up a fence barrier at a job site in a public area - and people still walked through where we were using the crane. I had to threaten a couple of people with arrest because if they were hurt I would be fired and these idiots would get a big, fat settlement for being idiots.

    The society of rewarding lazy, moronic, and criminal behavior has to end. Good kids that are poor hang around or work all summer. Delinquents that do drugs and steal get sent to a first class wilderness camp for free (yes I understand that this is for behavior modification reasons but and is cheaper than future imprisonment but it still chafes). A person saves money and plans ahead for retirement and then is taxed on those savings so those that partied and blew every cent can have free money when they no longer work.

    Society should be designed so that the strong and rich share and provide for the weak and helpless, not the stupid and selfish.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Trails, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Reading the msnbc story

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31853449/

    "For its part, the Department of Environmental Protection said its workers had turned away briefly to grab some cones when the incident occurred."

    So, the hole was not demarcated or attended to. Some jackass city worker just left a gaping hole in sidewalk.

    Sounds pretty negligent and liable to me.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    Re: Reading the msnbc story

    But then some jackass just walked right into it and left a shoe in the city's shit.

    Sounds pretty negligent and liable to me.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Kyle, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    Cones would not be enough to be an OSHA approved safety. There should have been a saftey ring with chains to keep people from falling in. I hate it, but I believe they have themselves a case. And will compensated very well by the city.

     

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  68.  
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    Eponymous Coward, AKA Doug (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    So many angry people

    I laugh, then I weep, then I laugh some more, when I read these comments. I call it a Godwin's law effect; either DRM, the RIAA/Trent Reznor, or speed limits/red light cameras will be brought up in any given Techdirt topic, so long as the comment number is greater than 15.

    In this case, both parties at fault, one for being too stupid to look where she was going and the other for not following clearly established procedures designed to protect those too stupid to look where they arae going from themselves. Ruling: Double Fault, we shall proceed to a Sudden Death Elimination Final.

    Weapon of choice is rat traps and thumbtacks. Ready? Go!!!

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Janet, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    RE: Can see this 2 ways

    Well; the city was at fault for NOT putting the cones out before taking the cover off the manhole. But the girl should also have been paying attention to where she was going. And she would have been, if she hadn't have been texting.

    So I look at it like this. I think the city should pay for her medical bills & time loss at work. But I feel the parents are stupid for suing the city. That definitely isn't going to teach the girl any kind of lesson.

    Because if she is texting while walking down a sidewalk; it's highly likely that she texts while driving her vehicle. Then what??? Her parents would be getting sued from another family if she were to run over their teenager because of texting & driving.

    So if I were her parents; I think I'd think twice before suing anyone. JMHO.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    As I recall, the girl says she wasn't texting--she claims she was merely being handed a phone at the time she fell into the hole.

    And regardless of what she was doing, leaving a gaping hole in the road is a danger precisely because you can't predict that everyone is going to notice it. It could just as easily have been a tired jogger falling in, or a car's front tire, or what have you.

    If it is found that she was also being negligent in not paying attention, then her damages will be reduced accordingly.

    The legal system isn't screwing this one up.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: What next...

    if the speed limit is 45mph and you decide that everyone else behind you is going to drive 30mph then you should be taken out of your car at the next stop light and shot.

    1 less moron clogging up the road

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Re: Okay, seriously...

    I want to you know I regularly use your comments here as my away messages. You brighten my day every time you post.

    Please, prettyfuckingplease, continue and don't ever stop!! :D

     

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  73.  
    icon
    Neo-Leper (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    Wow

    When I first read this headline a few days ago, I couldn't stop laughing. We are really raising a generation of idiots.

    Granted they screwed up and did not put any cones up. But I still see this girl tripping over the cones and this time falling head first into a hole. So then the parents would be suing because the cones where not properly placed, or some idiotic thing.

    How can you be involved in something else so much that you are clueless where you are walking, unless you are drunk, lol. Animals have more sense then that, I am guessing single celled organisms have more sense then that as well.

    I would be embarrassed to have a child like that and I wouldn't even bother suing. I would try and get past it fast and quietly so no one knew how dumb my family was.

     

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  74.  
    icon
    Fiercedeity (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Well, obviously we need legislation outlawing texting and walking.

    It worked for driving. Makes perfect sense here.

     

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  75.  
    icon
    Fiercedeity (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What next...

    "Going slow is not against the rules of the road. They may be a hazard..."

    You can stop right there. Nothing else needs to be said.

     

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  76.  
    icon
    Fiercedeity (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Other Reasons

    You can play "what if" games all day. But the facts are that she was not deaf or in a wheelchair. Therefore, while the city may have been negligent, common sense tells you that the girl shoulders the majority of the blame.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    C. Darwin, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    Natural Selection?

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    orange cones => danger
    no orange cones does not imply no danger

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Another point of view, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    Hmm I disagree with everyone

    I have a family member who fell into an open manhole while walking across the street while on vacation. One leg plunged into the manhole, the other which was in front of him was forced straight up into the air... His face hit the ground and he broke his jaw and nose and messed up his back really bad. He was unable to work for a few months as a result. You really think this was his fault?

    He successfully sued the city due to the fact that workers had been on site earlier in the day, and did not replace the manhole cover after they were done working. No cones were there because the job was completed.

    How was it his fault for using a public walkway, and falling into a hole? It was the fault of whoever had been working there, and forgot to replace the cover. A judge agreed and awarded him damages.

    I don't agree with a lot of slip and fall type litigation or our out of control suits over medical malpractice, but it is also ridiculous to think that someone whose responsibility it was to service a roadway and didn't do their job shouldn't be held responsible. Yes in life we make mistakes, and we have to pay for them. I am glad that the city has an insurance policy to cover this because if you had to go after the workers directly for negligence chances are they would not have enough insurance to cover your medical bills.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Rob, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    What the Hell is wrong with all of you?

    I am a firm believer in personal responsibility -- it is convenient that you all fail to acknowledge that the DEP workers are REQUIRED to barricade a manhole before they open it, there is no such requirement for a girl to not text while walking down the sidewalk. This is a requirement because it would be extremely easy to miss an open manhole -- in you peripheral vision an open manhole would really not look very different than a closed one. This could happen to ANY of you if you were to be distracted for even a second. The DEP worker in this case were grossly negligent and could have killed someone and they most certainly deserve to be punished for this. Please try thinking before you point fingers.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Whisk33, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

    Title Change

    Manhole not Pothole.

    You forgot about the "Gross factor" the girl's shoe is still down there!

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: What next...

    It's not a "maximum speed limit", but a cruising speed limit, that goes both ways, above and under. You aren't to drive faster, but not much slower, either. Some roads actually do post separate maximum & minimum speed limits.

    If you are going slower than the speed limit, then you need to mark yourself a road hazard, usually through the use of emergency lights, and get as out of the way of regular traffic as possible (i.e. pulling over as right on the road as you can).

    If you are going too fast, you are can be charged with reckless driving ... too slow, and you are "impeding the flow of traffic" or "creating a road hazard". Either way, going too slow is illegal if they didn't properly mark themselves as being a road hazard.

     

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  83.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re:

    Hey Helmet, that completely sounds like something confucious would say. Pretty darn funny. Well done.

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

    Re: How stupid can it get?

    It's called Legal Precedent. Where one f'ing lawsuit can affect legal decisions for 300+ MILLION other people.

    It doesn't take a vunderkin ... just 5 seconds of thought.

     

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  85.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Re: What the Hell is wrong with all of you?

    I think what pisses everyone off here is how this will probably end up. The parents will sue for millions and probably get it even though the girl just got a scratch, the girl will learn that all one has to do to make money is fall down and cry a lot, the lawmakers are going to use this as an excuse to remove more of our rights, and anti-cellphone people will use it as their rallying call. This is the US, the home of Murphy's law.

    This girl douse have a case but that's where it needs to stop.

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Stuart, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 1:50pm

    Re:

    Sounds like a lawyer. Truth is so much more important than law will ever be. Proof? The law says the city can be sued and will most likely have to pay some damages. Truth is bitch should have died so as to remove her genes from infecting the pool further.

     

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  87.  
    icon
    Fiercedeity (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Hmm I disagree with everyone

    "How was it his fault for using a public walkway, and falling into a hole?"

    Uhhh... because he fell into the hole. Not like anyone pushed him in or something. Was that supposed to be a trick question.

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Wow

    If there had been a fence, she would have run into it. If the city had parked a truck there, she would have run into it...

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    Darwin awards...

     

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  90.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Hmm I disagree with everyone

    "I have a family member who fell into an open manhole while walking across the street while on vacation. One leg plunged into the manhole, the other which was in front of him was forced straight up into the air... His face hit the ground and he broke his jaw and nose and messed up his back really bad. He was unable to work for a few months as a result. You really think this was his fault?"

    Not knowing the facts of the case, I can't know whether it was his fault, but the picture you painted was hysterical! I don't mean to be rude, but if you're trying to convince people of your point, I wanted you to know the effect your written words were having, and that effect is to make me frighten several nearby coworkers with my barking laughter.

    "He successfully sued the city due to the fact that workers had been on site earlier in the day, and did not replace the manhole cover after they were done working. No cones were there because the job was completed."

    Wow. Sounds like those workers are morons and the city was indeed liable.

    "How was it his fault for using a public walkway, and falling into a hole? It was the fault of whoever had been working there, and forgot to replace the cover. A judge agreed and awarded him damages."

    I'd probably agree too in that the workers had left the scene w/o replacing the manhole cover. That's not the way the story I read described this incident. The story had it sound like the workers opened the manhole, then went back to the truck where the cones were, and the girl came text-stumbling down the sidewalk before the cones were put up.

    But a couple of points that need to be made. First, we all need to stop talking about The City as if it's some kind of entity that's walking around and doing shit. The City is essentially the taxpayers. But they don't say that she sued for taxpayer money, because that makes it sound less sympathetic.

    Secondly, I always come back to how this would be handled in the natural world. I mean, c'mon, whatever the city worker might have done wrong, rule #1 in the Book Of Ways Not To Die While Living is watch where the fuck you're stepping. Think of ALLLLLLL the sayings that encompass this.

    So no matter who gets sued and who wins, on some level you're still just a person who fell down a hole, and no amount of money is going to make your genetic material more valuable to society.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    Re: What the Hell is wrong with all of you?

    Being in a city involves hazards. Actually, living involves hazards. When I walk anywhere I try to be aware of my surroundings, whether a car is about to jump the curb or a slick spot on the sidewalk. True, I can miss things, but to wander around without being aware of your surroundings is a disaster waiting to happen. So, yes, I and many others point fingers because people who fail to use a little personal caution are prone to get themselves and others hurt.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Hmm I disagree with everyone

    This scenario seems more plausible. No city vehicles around, the person was paying attention (assuming you provided all the facts and the person involved was not playing a Nintendo DS or blabbing on a cell phone or reading a book, newspaper, or report) and still they fell into an open manhole.

    I would be empathetic to the young lady involved if she had been paying attention to the rest of the world rather than focused on "me," but she was not and she ended up in a dangerous situation because of it. Would it have been any better had a van pulled up while she was not paying attention and she was kidnapped? What if she passed an alley and three hoodlums pulled her into it because she neglected to see them poking their heads around the corner several times as she approached?

    I know, we are "blaming the victim" here, but the "victim" took the direct action that placed her in harms way. Who knows what might have happened if she was just a bit more aware of her surroundings?

     

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  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Hmm I disagree with everyone

    If she had been walking through the woods not paying attention because she was texting and a mountain lion, bear or snake had attacked her, who would she have sued? The owner of the land? The government entity that owned the park she was in? God?

     

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  94.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hmm I disagree with everyone

    "If she had been walking through the woods not paying attention because she was texting and a mountain lion, bear or snake had attacked her, who would she have sued? The owner of the land? The government entity that owned the park she was in? God?"

    Unfortunately, God doesn't have much money. Blessed are the poor and all that. Now the Catholic Church, which is NOT poor (so their not blessed?) has PLENTY of money. Plus, according to that guy with the big pointy hat, he actually speaks for God, so probably they shouls sue him. One of those rings on his finger that was bought with Nazi gold and money stolen from the Templars ought to put this little retard through college.

    Or, in your scenario, maybe sue the EPA! After all, they protect the mountain lion that attacked her! If the EPA would just let us kill all that pesky nature around us, there would be no more mountain lions to attack little texting/sexting girls. Of course, then there'd probably be way more manhole covers to swallow them up.

    Isn't it amazing the creative ways stupid people figure out how to get hurt and die?

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re:

    OK maybe the law supports her, and her idiot parents, but I really really dont care, if your that dumb, and im sorry she is dumb, to be walking and texting and MISS A BIG STINKING HOLE IN THE GROUND... your and idiot and why should we PAY you to be an idiot... if the law supports her, we really need to add a stupidity out...

    DOES KNOW ONE ELSE SEE WHATS WRONG HERE... She cant be responsible for her actions and the consequences, so LETS sue... FFS..

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hmm I disagree with everyone

    I'm not sure that texting significantly lowers your survival chances in a mountain lion ambush. Perhaps if you continued to text after the attack...

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 5:21pm

    "At least they're not suing the mobile carrier or mobile device maker as well..."

    ...yet

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:24pm

    I call it natural selection !

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Joe, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:01pm

    They are just suing so she doesn't feel like a dillweed.

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    RON, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 1:25am

    Re: Re:

    There were no traffic cones around the PersonHole thus ENSURING she had an accident. If her own cones had been large enough she wouldn't fit thru the PersonHole

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hmm I disagree with everyone

    Quite true...However, if you had kept your eyes open you might have avoided stepping on the sleeping mountain lion, or stumbled over a grizzly bear cub that subsequently squalled its head off.

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    lol

     

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  103.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: Okay, seriously...

    "And on planet Pita, we would have taken your keyboard and fingers away ensuring that you wouldn't be able to misuse words in the future."

    Oh, and by the way, based on the definition of the word as seen below from the Collins Essential English Dictionary (but hey, what do they know?), my usage was not only correct, but actually synonymous with yours. So Planet Spaceball is going to go ahead and need your uterus AND yoru keyboard and fingers as a trophy, if you please...

    insure
    Verb
    [-suring, -sured]
    1. to guarantee or protect (against risk or loss)
    2. (often foll. by against)to issue (a person) with an insurance policy or take out an insurance policy (on): the players were insured against accidents
    3. Chiefly US same as ensure

     

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  104.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:22am

    Open manholes should be secured (i.e. fenced), no matter what.

    Besides stupid teens there are blind people, bicyclers, men starring at women, joggers, etc.

    It doesn't take much to not notice a hole where a pavement should be.

    This is malpractice from city service, no question about it.

     

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  105.  
    identicon
    Kazi, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    I'd think a blind person would have his dog or a stick to feel the ground. Thus, a blind person is unlikely to fall into a manhole as he is paying attention to the road. A blind person won't be found texting while walking. We'd love to see blind people walking into cars, poles, and tripping over cones thus falling into a manhole head first.

    Then we'd see them suing the city because the cones abstructed their path.

     

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  106.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: What next...

    > on most roads, there's a speed limit, not a minimum.

    Actually, on most roads, there's both.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
    icon
    monkyyy (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    i agree that people completely lack responsibility

    but still the fact is there weren't cones meaning the "chance" she would have seen it got even smaller... witch means she "can" make a lawsuit

    how long ago was it when kids could make mistakes and learn form them?
    and also being correct was better then politically correct?

     

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  108.  
    icon
    Fiercedeity (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    "Besides stupid teens there are blind people, bicyclers, men starring at women, joggers, etc."

    Yeah well none of those people fell in this manhole, did they? Only a teen who was not watching where she was going. Sure, the city should have covered it up, no one is question that.

    But the blame still belongs squarely on the girl.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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