Sherwood v. Walker
I think the term we’re looking for here is “mutual mistake of fact”
Thanks villa and whole bean.
2 years ago today I was sat in the ice hockey arena at Roanoake, wearing a suit and sneakers, trying to remember what the hell a Motion Craving Oyer was. I see from your location, Hello Again, you have that joy yet to come in your life…
eight years for me (obviously, the date was roughly the same)
Come on all you law-Dopers, don’t you remember everybody’s second favorite case to come out of Queens, Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad (exceeded in law student infamy only by that sad tale of Queens fox hunting, Pierson v. Post).
Not only is Palsgraf one of those loveley Cardozo/Andrews bickerfests so beloved of sadistic law professors, it remains the law of proximate causation in New York. In fact , I have cited Palsgraf in a brief last year that turned on the contours of proximate and legal causation.
The short summary of Palsgraf and its progeny is that for a person to be entitled to damages, that person must be within the “zone of risk” created by the allegedly negligent behavior. Although New York has abrogated the rule that there must be actual physical impact to obtain damages for emotional distress, one must still be within the Palsgraf zone of risk to recover.
Unless this woman was quite near the steam pipe explosion when it happened, it is unlikely her case has any viability.
But she might have been, right? We don’t know where she was, do we?
Oh bite me, ya fucknuts.
Devise me a system where intentional malfeasance (to say nothing of negligence) can be discovered without invoking knicker-knotting claims of frivolity. It better cover fact-finding in cases where the cause of harm is unknown. It better cover fact-finding in cases where the cause of harm is arguable. IBCF-FICWTCOH is subject to being hidden. IBCF-FICWTCOH could have been avoided, but some statistician figured the cost of avoidance would cut too deeply into profits. It better proactively cover all possible situations, now and a hundred years from now, ‘cause blow me with a left-handed monkey if someone dares bring a case that might be dismissed. Yeah, throw on Rawl’s veil and devise away…
…whew… wow, do I need decaf. Sorry ‘bout that but I turned a corner, found myself in the pit, and got a little carried away. I don’t usually lack coherence (I think), but it always struck me as a bit odd that the SDMB, home to so many bright minds, somehow brings out the Limbaugh in so many folks when it comes to tort reform. Not all, of course, I don’t want to paint with a too-broad brush, but enough to give the impression. Please folks, go take a civics course, sit on a jury, and make me a pot of decaf.
Much better rant than the OP. I particularly liked the blithe reference to the Rawlsian notion of procedural justice, like more than 3 people out of 100 will have any clue what you’re talking about.
But that said, there’s nothing wrong with pitting people who file stupid, frivolous lawsuits.
I remembered the rule sixteen posts ago without going to Palsgraf, which isn’t exactly on point since the facts in this case involve emo distress damages only, whereas, if I recall correctly, the Plainitff is Palsgraf (Mrs. Palsgraf?) was physically injured.
I just walked past that house not two days ago!!! Who can I sue? I’m feeling emotionally torted.
Yes. AFAICT, there are no minimum qualifications for filing a lawsuit. I can sue you because you sneezed in my general direction.
However, the court would almost surely dismiss my suit out of hand. Getting a court to allow the suit to proceed, that’s the key hurdle.
It’s a lot more than just “out of hand.” There seems to be a broad misunderstanding here that judges (or their staff) sit around reviewing every complaint filed, as soon as It’s filed, to determine whether it has merit to proceed (I’m not saying you’re sugesting this, but others have at least hinted at it). This is not true. Court’s don’t generally have occassion to review a complaint before there has been some sort of responsive pleading. In order to have a frivilous claim dismissed, a defendant generally has to file a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (also known as a 12(b)(6) in federal court) or it’s state law counterpart (assuming there is one). Unless you do it yourself, this will cost money. If you do it yourself, it will cost time. You can also seek sanctions under Rule 11 or its state counterpart (assuming there is one), but this also requires time/money/an understanding of the rules. The system has it flaws but it’s the best we’ve come up with, to date.
It’s true that if you’re a stranger to the legal system, you will have to go through the hassle of finding a reputable attorney to file the motion, and paying him to file the motion. (If there really is no remotely actionable claim, it should be a relatively inexpensive bit of legal work.)
In the case brought up by the OP, I believe the party being sued is the city of New York, which keeps attorneys on staff to deal with this sort of stuff. Someone will write such a motion before their coffee break without breaking a sweat. They’ve got the boilerplate on their computer, and just need to fill in the particular details.