Politician Trespasses Into House Under Construction, Breaks Leg... Sues Owners

from the crazy-lawsuit-of-the-day dept

Chris J. contributes the latest in our series of absolutely ridiculous lawsuits. Apparently NY State Senator Jim Alesi is suing a couple and their homebuilder over a broken leg he suffered. But the real story is in how he broke the leg. The couple -- who it should be mentioned are constituents of Alesi -- were having a home built. While it was under construction, but no one was there, Alesi suddenly decided to just go into the house and have a look (he says he was checking it out "for a friend.") The door was locked, but he walked around back and found a basement door that was unlocked. Once inside, he tried to climb a ladder to get to the first floor, since no stairs had been built yet... and suffered serious leg injuries, requiring surgery. And now, he's suing the homeowners and the builder.

Yes, let's repeat that. This guy trespassed, broke into someone's home (that was under construction at the time), and then broke his leg while trying to climb a ladder, and then decides to sue about it. And he's a State Senator. This was not a house that was for sale. It was not open to the public in any way. Alesi was apparently cited for trespassing at the time, and everyone involved is apparently baffled that he's suddenly suing now, for something that happened a few years ago, and on something in which it appears that he was massively at fault.

Update: Via the comments we have the full complaint and the news that he's dropped the lawsuit and issued a typical politician's apology, after members of his own party started ridiculing the lawsuit and asking him to drop it.

Filed Under: jim alesi, lawsuits, trespassing

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    Dave W (profile), 27 Jan 2011 @ 8:38am

    I can't comment on US law but i can give you a UK perspective - and I think some of the US readers may have their eyes pop out when you read this... Trespass is a tort law and relates to both property and the person. However, it is overidden by parliamentary Acts in some cases and goes so far as to influence those acts. If this was in the UK - two statutes would have priority before trespass kicked in. Strict (unavoidable) liability is applicable to all property owners and makes them liable from the outset for any injury or damage caused to a person or their property whilst on your property or neighbouring land - with or without the landowners permission. Therefore - and this has happened, if a burglar (who is trespassing with intention to hurt) injures themselves you as the landowner are primarily liable for their injuries. Contractors who operate a site are similarly responsible for securing any site being worked upon - within reason, but they become completely liable for third party injury if the site is not secure and someone can walk on. This case would be considered a walk on. OK - so in our fictional UK setting the landowner and contractor are now jointly responsible (though how jointly is not set down so that would be a seperate lawsuit as to whom is the most responsible - another win for the lawyers). When it comes to those that are trespassing in this case this then works under the banner of contributory negligence. The owner/contractor becomes less liable the more negligent the trespasser is. Got all that? Tie that in with the fact that you cannot be trespassing in the UK if someone has not correctly fenced their property (i.e. your front yard) nor can you excessively defend against intruders (yes that would mean a gun) and it makes this case frankly run-of-the-mill over here.....

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