Monday, October 20, 2014

Respect the lady in the wheelchair

One small claims trial I watched [presided over by my favorite judge, who is now, unfortunately for me but not for him, retired].  A lady in an electric wheelchair, with a cute 4-5 pound companion dog that sat in her lap in court, had sued a man because his dog, much larger, had attacked her dog while she had been out walking him.  She wanted compensation for her veterinarian bills, plus some money for pain and suffering.

The judge would obviously award her the compensation.  Defendant was arguing he shouldn't have to pay for pain and suffering, because, he said, her dog wasn't really that hurt.

Judge:  "What about this lady?  Having to watch her dog attacked by your huge monster?  How much did you say he weighed?"

Defendant:  "Ninety-five pounds.  But her dog wasn't hurt that bad."

Judge:  "You didn't listen to me.  What about HER?"

Defendant:  "Her dog just jumped into her lap and I had my dog under control by then, so she wasn't gonna get hurt."

Judge:  "You don't think she wasn't scared anyway?  At least for her dog, if not for herself until she saw you had control of your dog?  It's not like she could fight back, or grab her dog and run away."

Defendant:  "She wasn't in any danger."

Judge:  "Let me put it this way.  What if this lady was your MOTHER?  Or your GIRLFRIEND?  How much money would you want me to award in that case?"

Defendant:  *squirmed a bit, very muffled voice, looking at floor* "I don't know."

Judge:  "Do you think a thousand dollars would be sufficient?"

Defendant [obviously not wanting to have to pay that much]: "I don't know, but that seems kinda high."

Judge granted all of the compensatory damages plus one thousand dollars for pain and suffering.  Moral of this story:  Respect the lady in the wheelchair.

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