Baseless Lawsuit #987,689,885,239.

OK-your sister was killed on 9/11. You’ve got my sympathy, there. But because the steam pipes exploded, you find basis to sue? The worst part of this is that 12 idiots will agree with her.
Justice is supposed to be blind, not unredeemably stupid.

Pipes not replaced since about the 1920’s! Sue the city, I say!! (jokingly)

Doubtful. I’d be amazed if it goes to trial.

Filing a lawsuit is not the same as hearing a lawsuit in open court, much less winning a lawsuit. From a procedural standpoint, how can one absolutely prevent the filing of frivolous lawsuits without also unfairly killing lawsuits that may have merit? A judge will examine the filing and determine whether it should get a date on the court docket. I don’t have a problem with that.

And that’s the thing. When the case gets dismissed, I bet it won’t make headlines. But every silly lawsuit that comes down the pike is the subject of a press release by insurance companies pushing for legal limits on their liability.

I’ll give them credit. They’ve done a good job of using lawsuits like this to sell the public on so-called “tort reform.”

I can think of reasons why the case might succeed. Back when I studied a bit about torts, I learned about Rylands v Fletcher and “inherently dangerous” things. High pressure steam under a city street would seem to me “inherently dangerous”, so that any escape causing injury would be an actionable tort. I would not be surprised if such a principle applied in New York State law.

While the steam pipe may have been “inherently dangerous” it’s difficult to see damages for this woman. From the article, she was not actually harmed by the steam, she merely feared that it was another terrorist attack and she would die, like her sister did.

There were a few people actually injured/killed by the steam blast, they deserve compensation. This woman deserves nothing.

You’re right – the remoteness of her injury may well be what stops her claim. Still, it might be foreseeable that steam escaping in an explosion might frighten as well as injure the bystanders.

So we can sue if we get frightened? What if someone is more than usually anxious and frightens easily? I don’t see that this woman has a case for damages. How much is “being scared” worth? The amount you pay to go on a roller coaster at 6 Flags? Or more in line with Disney World prices?

I’m sorry - I feel for this woman for losing her sister in such a traumatic way, but suing isn’t going to help her get over it.

In most jurisdictions, no. You can’t successfully sue because someone negligently does something that frightens you. (Intentional infliction of emotional distress may be another matter.)

In a negligence case (in most jurisdictions, anyway) there must be some physical touching and/or injury to support a claim for emotional distress.

I don’t know about New York law, but unless there’s more to this case than we’re hearing, I’d be very surprised if this case weren’t dismissed forthwith.

And of course, that dismissal won’t generate any headlines.

Damn you spoke- for those bar exam flashbacks that just ran through my head…

But it’s certainly true. “Court makes Sensible Decision” doesn’t grab the public attention as a headline. I’d be willing to bet the OP that no jury ever decides in favor of the plaintiff in this matter. Hell, I would probably be willing to bet that no jury is ever selected in this matter.

As an aside, does anyone know the size of a civil jury in New York State? I tried looking it up but failed dismally…

I don’t know. See Battalla v. New York, 176 N.E.2d 729, 730 (N.Y. 1961) (noting that the physically injurious impact rule “has been thoroughly repudiated by the English courts which initiated it, rejected by a majority of American jurisdictions, abandoned by many which originally adopted it, and diluted, through numerous exceptions, in the minority which retained it”).

Also, see New York Allows Claim for Injuries Resulting from Fright Negligently Induced and Repudiates Its “Impact” Rule

here’s a good primer on Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Jesus, lady. Howsabout not living in New York anymore? Just a thought.

That’s incorrect. The Impact Rule has been abandoned by the majority of Amercian jurisdcitions in favor of the Zone of Danger Rule which allows recovery wiothout actually requiring touching (i.e. “near misses”), though physical manifestation of an injury is generally required. See Id.

“Yeah, ummm, my brother was shot and killed a few years back, so now when I was walking down the street and the defendant’s car backfired, I thought I was gonna be shot too, so I was scared, so now I need 12 million, 'k your honor?”

Didn’t a Nyack, NY coup[le get out of a real estate contract, because the seller didn’t disclose that the place was haunted? I’ve always been puzzled by that one-a house doesn’t sell because it contains a non-existent person 9a ghost)!

It may be settled with a proviso that settlement has to be kept quiet. It is a quick and easy solution.

That’ll teach me to rely on my (apparently dated) memory.

if it helps you any, that’s what I “remebered” too. I was double checking the terms “impact rule” and “zone of injury” and I came accross those cites.

I’m not sure of the case exactly, but that’s a totally different issue, its contracts, not torts. Sounds like an imperfectly formed contract because the thing the buyers thought they were buying was materially different from the actual thing sold.

What’s that famous Michigan case with the barren pedigree cow? I can remember the damn cow’s name* but not the case. Basically, this guy paid meat price for a pedigree Jersey cow presumed barren by its owner. Before he could pick her up the owner discovered she was with calf. The contract was rescinded under the theory that the thing contracted for (a barren cow) was not the thing sold.

*Rose 2d of Aberlone