Judge Rules 4-year old Girl can be Sued in Court of Law

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A judge in NY ruled that a four year old girl can be personally sued in a court of law for negligence and held personally liable. The judge stated that courts have found that little girls under 4 years old cannot be expected to hire a lawyer, mount a defense, attend court, etc, but that over 4 years of age is perfectly reasonable.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/nyregion/29young.html?src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB

4-Year-Old Can Be Sued, Judge Rules in Bike Case
By ALAN FEUER
Citing cases dating back as far as 1928, a judge has ruled that a young girl accused of running down an elderly woman while racing a bicycle with training wheels on a Manhattan sidewalk two years ago can be sued for negligence.

The ruling by the judge, Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, did not find that the girl was liable, but merely permitted a lawsuit brought against her, another boy and their parents to move forward.

The suit that Justice Wooten allowed to proceed claims that in April 2009, Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, who were both 4, were racing their bicycles, under the supervision of their mothers, Dana Breitman and Rachel Kohn, on the sidewalk of a building on East 52nd Street. At some point in the race, they struck an 87-year-old woman named Claire Menagh, who was walking in front of the building and, according to the complaint, was “seriously and severely injured,” suffering a hip fracture that required surgery. She died three months later of unrelated causes.

Her estate sued the children and their mothers, claiming they had acted negligently during the accident. In a response, Juliet’s lawyer, James P. Tyrie, argued that the girl was not “engaged in an adult activity” at the time of the accident — “She was riding her bicycle with training wheels under the supervision of her mother” — and was too young to be held liable for negligence.

In legal papers, Mr. Tyrie added, “Courts have held that an infant under the age of 4 is conclusively presumed to be incapable of negligence.” (Rachel and Jacob Kohn did not seek to dismiss the case against them.)

But Justice Wooten declined to stretch that rule to children over 4. On Oct. 1, he rejected a motion to dismiss the case because of Juliet’s age, noting that she was three months shy of turning 5 when Ms. Menagh was struck, and thus old enough to be sued.
I'll tell you one thing, this little girl better start brushing up on the law fast before she just rides her bike wily-nilly down the street without concern for the consequences of her actions!!
 
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drgrant

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What a stain for this child to have to live with.
It isn't, it's a civil judgement, and the parents will have to pay it.

It's still despicable, though... it's clearly the work of some ambulance chasing douchebags to drive up the award value. My bet is, by some means or another, that the parents are loaded and geriatric/ambulance chaser wants the cash.

-Mike
 

cekim

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Judge should be arrested and convicted for child abuse...

Parent is responsible and liable for child's actions - this has long since been established. This is a fine example of progressive thinking that literally posses a danger to the community...
 
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Both kids and their parents were named in the suit. My guess is they involved the kids in the suit to encourage a timely settlement.
Sounds most likely.

My bet is, by some means or another, that the parents are loaded and geriatric/ambulance chaser wants the cash.
Don't care if they're loaded or not. What happened to watching your kid and keeping them in line? If everything happened as described the parents Should be paying the old ladies medical bill.
 

Rob Boudrie

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It isn't, it's a civil judgement, and the parents will have to pay it.
There is a distinct legal difference between holding the parent liable for the action of the child and holding the child liable. There would be nothing surprising about allowing the parent to be sued for inadequate supervision, but allowing the child to be sued is absurd.

It's not always the case that when a child who is sued and found liable, the judgement falls upon the parent. The concept is "parental liability" and varies by state. Some states include certain only certain types of liability (intentional acts vs. accidents vs. child support), etc. or limit the amount by which a parent may be held liable. In some cases, the parents of a minor may be even held liable for child support for the grandkid.

If everything happened as described the parents Should be paying the old ladies medical bill.
Quite possibly, but it's the parents who should be sued. This case is like suing a dog who bites you rather than the owner of the dog.
 

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Judge should be arrested and convicted for child abuse...

Parent is responsible and liable for child's actions - this has long since been established. This is a fine example of progressive thinking that literally posses a danger to the community...
+1
 
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It isn't, it's a civil judgement, and the parents will have to pay it.

It's still despicable, though... it's clearly the work of some ambulance chasing douchebags to drive up the award value. My bet is, by some means or another, that the parents are loaded and geriatric/ambulance chaser wants the cash.

-Mike
Yup. That's what I thought.
 
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