Judge: 4 year old sidewalk cyclist can be sued

In 2009, Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn — who were both four years old at the time — were racing their training wheel equipped bikes down a sidewalk when they ran into 87 year old Claire Menagh. Ms Menagh was seriously injured and died three weeks months later. [correction]

Ms Menagh’s estate sued the childrens’ parents and they named the four year old children in the suit!

The New York State Supreme Court recently ruled that the lawsuit can go forward and that small children can be found liable, though it did not judge on the case itself.

More at the NY Times: 4-Year-Old Can Be Sued, Judge Rules in Bike Case.

12 Comments

  • October 29, 2010 - 7:02 pm | Permalink

    This is just crazy!

  • davr
    October 29, 2010 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

    10 years in prison will teach those damn kids to respect their elders!

  • Go4ituk
    October 29, 2010 - 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Four year old’s should be supervised, especially on training wheels. Their parents should be held accountable for not being aware of such an elderly person in the pathway of their childrens bicycles!

  • Go4ituk
    October 29, 2010 - 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Four year old’s should be supervised, especially on training wheels. Their parents should be held accountable for not being aware of such an elderly person in the pathway of their childrens bicycles!

  • Nick/295bus
    October 29, 2010 - 8:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s my (paltry) understanding that loosing a lawsuit only obligates you to pay what money you have–so the kids should dumpy out their piggy banks and settle.

    I think the more serious point to make here is that sometimes sh*t, like getting hit by small children riding bikes on the sidewalk, just happens, and even if the results are bad, it’s not anyone’s fault. We’re not literally going to sue over banana peels next, are we?

  • October 30, 2010 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    This is an interesting case (and I’m not even a lawyer). At what age are kids responsible for their own actions? There must be some age where a child can be held negligent? Not sure if four is the right age, but what would be the right age? 10? 13? 16? By the way, there was a correction to the article that says the woman died three months later of unrelated causes (not three weeks as you mention in the blog post), which in my opinion makes the law suit more frivolous.

  • Jack
    October 31, 2010 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Wow. Insanity unleashed in this political season… or is it a long term trend? Season of the witch, now I’m spooked.

  • Jack
    October 31, 2010 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Wow. Insanity unleashed in this political season… or is it a long term trend? Season of the witch, now I’m spooked.

  • Siouxgeonz
    November 2, 2010 - 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Note the correction~! The lady did not die from the injuries three weeks later. She died of unrelated causes three *months* later. Kinda changes the flavor of it…

  • November 2, 2010 - 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Re: Kinda changes the flavor of it.

    Maybe.

    I watched a neighbor get hit by a train in Illinois. He tried to beat the train by driving around the crossarms, and he almost made it. He survived, sort of. He lasted about three months before succumbing to his injuries.

  • bomber
    November 5, 2010 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m betting the judge is anti-bicycles, had these kids been on foot and just ran into this poor woman, then there would have been no suit considered I’d bet. Many in the judiciary are anti-biking.

  • bomber
    November 5, 2010 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m betting the judge is anti-bicycles, had these kids been on foot and just ran into this poor woman, then there would have been no suit considered I’d bet. Many in the judiciary are anti-biking.

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