In the US, you are never to blame

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by madoka, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. madoka macrumors 6502

    madoka

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #1
    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/homepage/abox/article_2094056.php

    HUNTINGTON BEACH – Two students are taking legal action against Huntington Beach school districts saying they cut their fingers on wood cutting saws because the districts were negligent. Officials are saying the two cases are not related and are coincidental.

    Student Patricia McCormack filed a lawsuit against the Huntington Beach Union High School District on May 30 saying she "sustained a grievous injury to her left thumb" while she was using a table saw in a technical theater class.

    Huntington Beach High School teacher Joseph Batte had injured himself earlier during the class and had left to find medical aid, leaving the class unattended, according to the suit.

    A conference is set for Dec. 12 to discuss the case. District lawyers and the student's attorney did not return phone calls to the Register.

    A claim – a precursor to a lawsuit – was also filed against the Huntington Beach City School District April 21 saying an unnamed student severely injured his finger while using a band saw at Sowers Middle School.

    The claim alleges that the teacher Charles Kelly and the district negligently allowed a minor to use the "dangerous" saw without proper instruction or supervision. The family is asking for more than $500,000 in damages.

    "It was just an accident," said Assistant Superintendent Michael Curran. "Nothing was wrong with the equipment."

    The student's lawyer, Edward Morris, did not comment on the case.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    In the past 10 years, my parents have been sued by a tenant who tripped and fell inside her own apartment and another woman who while rushing to catch a closing door, hit her head on the door. In the U.S., we reward the stupid and clumsy.
     
  2. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
  3. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816

    DeaconGraves

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #3
    While the two cases you bring up after the article are silly, the others seem pretty negligent to me.

    Case 1- Having taken theatre design in College, we were given pretty intensive safety instruction by not just the Technical Director of the theatre, but the University maintenance department as well. Also, use of the tools was forbidden without proper supervision. While I don't know all of the facts of this case just yet, there's a good possibility this is a valid claim.

    Case 2- Honestly. Allowing a middle schooler to operate power tools is just asking for it.
     
  4. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

    poopyhead

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    #4
    sounds like the school was negligent

    they left untrained kids alone with dangerous machinery

    if a parent had done the same thing as the teachers (especially with the middle school student) chances are that the state would be investigating the incident

    strangely enough we live in a society where we do not expect kids to be as smart or as educated as adults
    and where parents expect to get back complete and functional children at the end of the school day after their kids are released from state custody
     
  5. maestro55 macrumors 68030

    maestro55

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    Goat Farm in Meridian, TX
    #5
    I would like to find more about this "grievous injury to her left thumb". Is it serious enough to demand $500,000?
     
  6. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816

    DeaconGraves

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #6
    It's not a bad idea to high-ball what your asking for damages, as a jury will likely not award you with more than you ask for and a judge always has the discretion to reduce the damages awarded if its absolutely absurd.
     
  7. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

    poopyhead

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    #7
    its probably mostly punitive damages
    to teach the school a lesson about middle schoolers and power tools and to help insure that this never happens again
     
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #8
    I always wince at the way they use the bandsaws and table saws in the home improvement and motorcycle/vehicle shows.

    Sort of silly to be cutting a piece of metal, and have the guard left up high enough to cut your head off. :rolleyes:

    Hey, Paul Jr. does it that way ... why can't I.
     
  9. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #9
    Just wait till we get universal healthcare next year after the election. It will be a feeding frenzy.
     
  10. mac 2005 macrumors 6502a

    mac 2005

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #10
    Every country in the world with a publicly accessible judicial system is going to suffer from frivolous lawsuits. That they happen speaks to a weakness in the human condition, not a defect in the American character or the American system of government.
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #11
    I'd consider it more of a weakness in the American condition, not human. Finger pointing and dumb patent lawsuits are far too common in America. I'd like to see the US overhaul their patent system, but I really dont know what the government can do to stop people for getting into accidents.


    Oh, I had to use saws when I was 12-13 years old. There was 1 instructor in the class in a class of 25 students. He was in the class, but not watching over you attentively. If you call that "supervision", or truly believe that an instructor being in the class would have made some sort of difference or prevented this accident, then you haven't been through the education system. It wouldn't have prevented me from hurting myself. There can't be someone holding your hand through every task, because that would require 1-on-1 sessions on the saw, and we all know that we can't get 1 teacher per student, or per 2 or 3 students.
     
  12. spork183 macrumors 6502a

    spork183

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    #12
    What's wrong with all you skeptics? That is a primary texting appendage. She could suffer immeasurably from an inability to speed text her friends.

    I'm willing to bet there was a class policy about not using tools without a teacher present. We must reward stupidity at all costs...
     
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #13
    When I went to school, there was a master shutoff switch for all the power tools. It was turned off whenever there wasn't active instruction going on.

    The point is -- children are NOT expected to behave responsibly at all times. They haven't developed the skills yet. So yeah -- left alone with powertools -- if that is the case -- is negligent, policy or not, rules or not, stupidity of the child or not.
     
  14. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #14
    OMG, that could immeasurably limit the future profits of AT&T, or whomever.

    The carnage, and rack and ruin. Let us pray.
     
  15. spork183 macrumors 6502a

    spork183

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    #15
    True, however, it sounds like the teacher was injured and left suddenly. Are we ridiculous in expecting that kids in a class where an adult was just injured might have a modicum of caution? I'm no proponent of the "good old days", because for the most part, they weren't. However, my parents would have smacked me upside the head for using a saw unsupervised. Accidents happen and not every accident has to make someone (usually a lawyer) wealthy.
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
  17. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    #17
    Me and my friend were just talking about this since we taken the class for two year in Fresno, California. We both can't understand how stupid these people are. If you can't use a saw, give it some one that can use a saw and you go do something else. These *uckers should of painted the set instead of building it.
     
  18. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #18
    Like the above poster, in my school we were all using band saws, drilling machines, hot glue guns etc in class when we were 12-13 years old.

    There was also a bench rotary saw, but the teacher used that and wasn't keen to let us use it.

    I mean, you gotta let children experience dangerous things and learn how to use them safely. If you wrap kids up in cotton wool, then first opportunity they get, they'll go straight for something dangerous, and then majorly **** up.

    Same goes for learning to drink alcohol responsibly - best to start early, at meal times with parents, then it doesn't have the lure of the forbidden.

    I was watching a program 'Tribes' with Bruce Parry. He visited an african tribe and interviewed the chief. The chief was sitting whittling a stick with a machette. Then his son who was about 3 or 4 comes up and sits by him, looks at him a while, then picks up a stick and starts hacking at it with a bloody great knife that just happened to be lying there.

    I was shocked to see a 3 or 4 year old kid swinging about a huge knife, but the chief didn't bat an eye, just carried on talking and whittling his stick, with his infant son copying him.

    I learned a thing or two about the power of mimicry there and just how responsible young children can be, given the right environment. I still wouldn't let my own daughter (she's the same age) swing a knife about though :eek:
     
  19. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    A geographical oddity
    #19
    I remember, months removed from middle school, working on jig/band/table saws and other power tools. Before we were permitted to use them, we were taught how they operated, were given an exam, and had to show we knew proper use. With one teacher to supervise 30 kids, direct supervision was impossible.

    Point being, you can allow them to use the tools without asking for it. If the teachers had provided proper instruction and basic supervision, then they have met their duty. I see nothing to indicate that Case 2 was lacking either.

    In Case 1, I expect that the instructor had outlined that use was prohibited in his absense - and that fact will come out soon enough.
     
  20. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    I'm where I need to be
    #20
    One would expect high school students should have more common sense. There seems to be NO sense of personal responsibility here. Parents are probably hoping to cash in as well. :mad:

    This story hits a little close to home for me. I actually cut off part of my thumb on a table saw at work. Admittedly I never had much training on proper and safe use, other than don't go near the blade and watch your fingers. Which is basically the gist of it, although there's a bit more to it. It was brought to my attention that I could perhaps sue the company, but I never took any serious thought to it. It should have been the job of the company carpenter, but it was always kinda made a part of my job. Though after my incident, it was then the duty solely of the carpenter :p. When it came down to it though, if I thought it was so dangerous in the first place, I could have refused to use the saw at all.
     
  21. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Location:
    having a drink at Milliways
    #21
    i don't think there are enough infos to judge either way.

    it could have some merit if the teachers directed the kids to use the machinery without proper training, it would be a total toss-out if, for example, the theater teacher specifically directed the kids not to use the tool in her absence.

    in any case, a rotary table saw is a very dangerous machine, and you could easily get serious injuries.
    it's actually probably easier to get a 'grievous' injury than a light one, and the thumb is a pretty important appendix.

    in general, however, i would think they were just accidents, and if there are no long-term effect of the i juries, there should be no significant compensation (certainly not half a million)
     
  22. madoka thread starter macrumors 6502

    madoka

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #22
    On the front page of Yahoo videos right now is a guy who found a knife in his Subway sandwich. Although he did not cut himself, apparently the presence of the knife gave him "slight food poisoning" so he is suing for $1,000,000.

    Under this "slight food poisoning" doctrine, I could be a billionaire from all the fast food places I've been to!

    Here is the Reuters link:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN1644936620080716

    A New York man claimed in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday that he found a knife with a 7-inch (18-cm) blade baked into the bread of his foot-long "Cold Cut Trio" Subway sandwich.

    John Agnesini, 26, a magazine designer, said he had already taken a few bites from the sandwich in late June when he spotted the knife jutting out from the bread's crust. The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan state court, seeks $1 million.

    "If I didn't look at it, I don't know what would have happened," said Agnesini. "That's the last thing you think about a sandwich you eat all the time."

    A colleague telephoned the chain to complain, but Subway never apologized, he said.

    Subway spokesman Kevin Kane said in a statement the company was investigating.

    "At Subway restaurants, we take food safety and customer comments very seriously. We are aware of the complaint made and are investigating the facts alleged. As a pending legal matter, we cannot discuss this matter further," said Kane.

    The case was filed on public health grounds, but Agnesini's lawyer, Yetta Kurland, also said she was looking into whether the June incident may have been intentional or malicious.
     
  23. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
  24. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #24
    When I was in middle school (less than 20yrs ago) I learned how to use various saws to make small wooden race car, I learned how to use metal working tools to make my own screw driver (this even included pouring molten steel into a mold to form the screw driver blade), and I took apart and rebuilt a law mower engine. In high school I took a class where we built a small house (everything from mixing concrete for the foundation to electrical wiring to nailing the shingles on the roof) on school grounds. I guess kids have gotten dumber and less reliable over the years.:p

    W/o knowing more about the situation I can't really make a judgement on the case, but I will agree that many people don't understand the term "accident" anymore.

    So, going extreme example here, if a student shoves a paper clip into a power socket and gets shocked the school should be at fault for not child-proofing the wall plugs?


    Lethal
     
  25. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #25
    I think in claims for damages it doesn't make much difference whether you are morally guilty or not, but only whether you are factually guilty. If there was a well-trained teacher supervising the kids, and he left quickly because of an injury, then there is no moral fault with the teacher or the school, but factually it could be their fault because the second accident happened when no supervisor was present.
     

Share This Page