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.