Free Markets, Free People

Be An Irresponsible Idiot And Make Millions

I‘m always a little amazed at stories like this.  I’m not sure why, given they happen quite often.  

A Manhattan jury awarded $2.33 million to a man who lost his leg after drunkenly stumbling onto the path of an oncoming subway train.

Now, you’d think, given that sentence, that there’s no way a jury could hold the subway folks liable because this drunk stumbled in front of their train right? Heck, he had a blood/alcohol level of .18. That’s smoked folks. That’s twice the legal limit if you’re on a highway. But check out the reasoning his attorney used and, obviously, the jury bought:

According to Dibble’s lawyer, Andrew Smiley, NYC Transit rather than Dibble bore primary responsibility for the accident because the subway driver had time to stop the train but did not.

Smiley added that Dibble’s drunkenness did not excuse the driver, who said in a court deposition that he mistook Dibble for an inert object.

“They don’t get a free pass as to why the person was on the tracks. They are trained to be able to look out for people on the tracks … and people are known to be intoxicated by night,” the lawyer said.

“Trained to be able to look out for people on the tracks”?  Uh, even if that’s true, how does that excuse Dibble of responsibilityfor being on the track?

That comes in the second line – “people are known to be intoxicated by night”?

No kidding? So tell me Mr. Smiley, had your client been on the road in the same condition, do you supposed a state trooper would have just said,  “aw forget it, sir. People get drunk at night. Take it easy?”

And you can bet your house (or the bailout you’re getting for it) that the state trooper would have only held one person responsible for the state Mr. Dibble was in at the time he stopped him.

In this case, my guess is two things happened. One – Mr. Smiley made sure that Mr. Dibble appeared in court looking as pathetic as one could look and used that to play on the sympathy of the jury. Emotional theater. And, two, the MTA was represented by lawyers (not victims) and was thus easy to ignore emotionally. And besides, I’m sure the New Yorkers felt the MTA had deep pockets or insurance or something with which to pay this pathetic creature, right? Of course if their fares go up because of this, they’ll be the first to bitch as well.

But back to the trial. This was my favorite part:

The jury ruled Tuesday that Dibble was 35 percent responsible for the accident, so his monetary compensation was also reduced by 35 percent — from $3,594,943 to $2,336,713.

Really? Good thing I wasn’t on that jury because at worst, it would have been a hung jury. I, unlike this bunch, would have found Mr. Dibble 100% responsible for being where he was and in the condition he was in when the train hit him, and he wouldn’t have gotten a red cent.

If that makes me a cruel and heartless you know what, well so be it.


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7 Responses to Be An Irresponsible Idiot And Make Millions

  • I am sure that everyone riding the subway will happy when the trains all start slowing down to 3-5mph 100o yards before each station to ensure that they have the ability to stop when any drunk stumbles off the platform and onto the tracks.

  • Breathalyzer tests for subway riders.  With an accompanying fare increase.

    Why not?  It’s a monopoly, and if the passengers don’t like it, they can walk home.   I’d also put up posters explaining why we were forced to do it. 

  • I’ve been waiting to use this – it’s all the rage for excuses – “McQ, that’s because you’re rich and he’s poor (now) and rich people don’t care about poor people”.   Work your favorite variation in there.

  • Just finished reading “The Appeal” by Grisham.

    You Yanks need tort reform. Now.

    Being a pro-business kind of guy, I would hold companies liable if they knew their products were dangerous or defective and continued to sell with no modifications or changes.  An accident is and accident – very limited liability and only for medical costs at most.

    So, why not this approach?

  • I have an idea: how about we find where each one of these imbecile jurors are, and take them kicking and screaming down to the subway in NYC and throw them, headfirst, right in front of a train?

    Nothing will be lost, lots of oxygen and food for the rest of us will be saved, and we can be rid of 12 morons from the planet.

    Now THAT is a plan.

  • So for starters let me say I agree – what’s even better is the perpetrator’s job is as an investigator for an insurance company – think about that he’s the guy who ensures other people’s claims aren’t paid or are reduced. 

    Here’s the rub MCQ – you could have demanded he get nothing, but this wasn’t a criminal trial it was civil – at least here it only take 9 of 12 to agree to a decision…