The Worst Aunt Ever

(L) Auntie Jenn in her "Loving Aunt" disguise, and (R), my best guess at what she looks like without it...

(L) Auntie Jenn in her “Loving Aunt” disguise, and (R), my best guess at what she looks like without it…

[ WARNING: This story may make your head explode. I’m not sure why mine didn’t; it may because there’s nothing left to blow.]

Jennifer Connell, a 54-year-old human resources manager in Manhattan, is suing her 12-year old nephew, Sean Tarala, in Connecticut for $127,000 in damages for an accident that occurred at his 8th birthday party.

On March 18, 2011, Connell arrived at the Tarala home  to attend Sean’s birthday party. She was greeted with the sight of the excited kid riding his major gift, a red bicycle, around the the yard.  When he spotted Aunt Jennifer, he jumped off his new bike and ran toward her, shouting, “Auntie Jen! Auntie Jen!”

Connell testified that “all of a sudden he was there in the air, I had to catch him and we tumbled onto the ground. I remember him shouting, ‘Auntie Jen I love you,’ and there he was flying at me.” Connell said she her wrist was hurt, but she didn’t mention it because “It was his birthday party and I didn’t want to upset him.” Now, however, though he has always been “very loving, sensitive,” toward her, Connell believes he should be held accountable for her injury.

She changed her mind, she says, because her life was “turned upside down as a result of the injury.” “I live in Manhattan in a third-floor walk-up so it has been very difficult,” she said. “And we all know how crowded it is in Manhattan.”

It certainly is hard to walk up three flights of stairs on one’s hands.

The horrific actions of the 8-year-old has turned her life into a living hell, she told the jury. “I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate,” she said. Believe me, I know what a social handicap that can be.

“The injuries, losses and harms to the plaintiff were caused by the negligence and carelessness of the minor defendant in that a reasonable eight years old under those circumstances would know or should have known that a forceful greeting such as the one delivered by the defendant to the plaintiff could cause the harms and losses suffered by the plaintiff,” says her lawyer, who must really need business.

The lawsuit proceeded even after the boy’s mother died, making the aunt’s love and support—as in, “this is no time to sue the child”—more important than ever.

[Notice of Correction: in the original post, I mistakenly wrote that the mother had died before the lawsuit. Thanks to Erics Turkewitz for the alert.]

Let’s begin coolly and rationally by asking the question that ought to begin most ethical analysis: What’s going on here?

The answer is quite simple, really. What’s going on is that Aunt Jennifer is pure hellspawn, a mysteriously animated pile of human excrement that embodies the worst of humanity.

Yes, I think that about covers it.

[NOTICE OF REGRET: It has been pointed out to me that this description, which I regard as obvious hyberbole, is still excessive. I agree.]

I don’t know if this astounding cruel, greedy, hateful, vile woman had a bad day at the track, has to feed an Ecstasy habit, is being shaken down by the Russian mob or had an aneurysm obliterate her conscience, but family members don’t do this to children. Children are learning to live, and sometimes their mistakes harm mothers, fathers, siblings and aunts. That is an assumed risk of interacting with a child. The remedy for injury is to explain to the child that he has to be more careful, and to have him apologize. Unless the kid is little Rhoda from “The Bad Seed” and intentionally caused the injury, that’s all that any family member should even consider doing.

This awful woman is using an accident arising from the over-enthusiastic affection of a happy child on his birthday to try to cash in, while starting the child out on life in a financial hole with reason to hate the world. Saying this is a violation of the Golden Rule doesn’t do her conduct justice. It’s a breach of love, kindness, compassion, fairness, proportion and responsibility. It’s an abuse of the civil justice system; it’s a rejection of basic family loyalty and mutual care. Given a choice between having this woman in my life or Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters, the evil queen from “Snow White” and Cruella Deville, I don’t think she’d even make the finals.

Aunt Anna and Mary, all is forgiven. I didn’t like either of you, in part because your sons used to harass me and in part because your terrible cooking spoiled many holidays, but now I know that it could have been so much worse.

I’ll never complain about my aunts again.

83 thoughts on “The Worst Aunt Ever

  1. I doubt there’s as much love now. Her next trick will be to sue a Yorkie. The cynic in me wonders if there was a trust or something that she didn’t get in the will. ‘Uggh’ doesn’t even begin to express my disgust.

  2. Hmmm . . . That reminds of an acquaintance who had his mother sue him for injuries she suffered when she fell at his house. That was interesting, to say the least. I wonder how his homeowner’s insurance felt about that claim.

    jvb

  3. I have read that she may have been forced to sue the family in order to get homeowners insurance to cover. An attorney in a different state mentioned that she has seen a number of cases where the owner asks insurance to pay, insurance declines, the only one with standing to sue is the injured party and due to laws being a mess the defendant party ends up being the one causing the original injury. The defendant is never actually responsible for legal costs or the actual payment since that is what insurance is for (except for maybe an increase in premium). I have not seen a decent article explaining exactly who sued whom for what, so I’m reserving judgment on this one.

      • Or she could just pay for her own bad luck rather than picking on a kid. How can any wrist injury cause those kinds of damages? If she didn’t seek immediate medical attention, she didn’t mitigate damages, and was liable for the harm to her wrist. The family is harmed, the kid is harmed, betrayed, confused. She is hideous with or without the insurance excuse.

    • She didn’t have to sue anyone. She chose to, and would rather traumatize a child than pay for her own misfortune. The amount of damages requested is unconscionable. I figured no jury would buy this, and they didn’t.

      • I’m pretty sure we don’t have the full story here.

        1. What is the relevant law? Can she directly sue the insurance company (assuming there is one)? Is she trying to protect the family’s assets by suing the one individual who does not have any assets to lose?
        2. Why are there no quotes from the family in the article? Wouldn’t it be juicy to highlight the catfight with her sister or sister-in-law? There isn’t even a “no comment” from them.
        3. All quotes are from her declaration, no direct requests for comment again. Shouldn’t a responsible journalist at least ask for a statement? As above, not even a “no comment”.

        I am awfully suspicious that this was written as clickbait and the real story is a lot more nuanced – and possibly as interesting for the legally inclined.

        • The Post is not known for click-bait. It is actually the closest full service paper to the courthouse in Bridgeport. Every other paper has been quoting from it, so far.

          Shouldn’t a responsible journalist at least ask for a statement?
          According the paper after the trial, she squirmed her way out of court with a bag over her head, as reporter yelled towards her asking for comment.

          Can she directly sue the insurance company (assuming there is one)?
          No apparently. Her lawyers gave a statement roughly outlining her case as you suggest, that she was suing indirectly to get the insurance company to pay. Nothing in the statement suggested that targeting the son had anything to do with protecting her brother in law’s assets, from what I recall at least.

          I would image if this story held water, her lawyers would be careful to explain this to the jury, which does not seem to be the case. The cocktail story seems to suggest she was pretty desperate for an argument during her testimony.

          • Legally, they can’t make such an argument. Bringing up insurance in any way (with few exceptions that don’t apply in this case) would be cause for a mistrial.

            Connecticut rules of evidence, Sec 4-10, Liability Insurance:
            (a)…Evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is inadmissible upon the issue of whether the person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully.

      • That is what I could not figure out, targeting the child himself. The most I could conscionably sue for would be medical bills not covered by my own health insurance, and even then, it would have to be a case of financial crisis, where my brother was in significantly better financial shape, and refused to help out.

        Suing my niece or nephew, though, for not being able to hold a cocktail plate??? That is the example you bring to court??? Not the inability to type at a computer for instance, at least true career impacting injury???

        Really, though, I was holding out hope that there were mitigating circumstances, until I learned just now that she delayed seeking medical treatment, specifically to avoid upsetting the boy, and is not suing the boy due to complications likely resulting from that delay. Ugh.

    • Sure, if he believes in good faith that she has a legit claim. The fact that’s she’s a creep to bring it isn’t his concern, onve he oints out that it might make her a pariah in the family and out of it.

      • And here, ladies and gentlemen, we have a perfect summary of that great oxymoron: ” legal ethics.” This is rationalization number one in legal ethics: “Oh no, I’m not an asshole pathetic excuse for a human being, I’m a noble asserter of important rights and an invaluable part of our justice system.” Yuck. Right up there with “I was just following orders.”

        If you’re going to give the plaid jacket wearing, ambulance chasing car wreck lawyer she met at a cocktail party before the statute of limitations ran a pass, you need to give her one as well.

        • That’s ridiculous, Bill, and short-sighted. She has a right to sue and to use the law as she sees fit. It’s not the lawyer’s role to be judge or jury. The lawyer might have been mistaken as to whether the case was winnable, but its the client’s decision whether to sue, and she has an absolute right to do it. In no way do we want to see citizens cut off from bringing unpopular lawsuits because THEY don’t care for the motives or agree with the client. The law is there for every citizen to use, and most don’t know how.

          • So then what’s your beef with her exactly? Maybe under the applicable law of agency in the state involved there’s not case law supporting the notion parents are responsible for the torts of their children so the kid was named. If that’s the law, what’s wrong with her availing herself of it and naming junior as the defendant? You lost me there.

            And this whole aspect of the legal biz is terribly, terribly unsavory to me. Always has been. I’ve always found it ironic and mysterious most lawyers think it’s something to be proud of and crow about. “Me? I’m not playing the legal system for millions in fees defending a crime boss. No, I’m protecting the integrity of our legal system for which you should be eternally greatful. Which vintages of the Petrus do you have? I forget.”

                • How “weird”? You want lawyers to block access to the legal system? Their job and duty is to facilitate that, not impose their own biases and opinions. Judges and juries make that call. The law firm that was supposed to defend DOMA,a law on the books, was chased off by activists pushing your argument.

                • Lawyering can be such a dehumanizing profession, by fiat and not by accident. And so many lawyers seem so ready, willing and able to check their humanity at the door. Disconcerting. Reminds me of the Dickens character on the law’s view of certain aspects of domestic relations.

                • I think the apparent sleaziness of the John Edwards’ of the world derives from 2 sources (neither of which are the cases they take, though one is related).

                  1) They are sleazy for OTHER reasons. Which is the fault of the lawyer.

                  2) The population is ignorant about the role of lawyers and make false associations related to the cases they take. Which isn’t the fault of the lawyer, but the populace.

  4. I have a confession. I Googled my name some years back.

    I found a scumbag in the US with the same name who was suing Subaru.

    Scumbag was in a WRX with three mates – er, buddies for y’all. They were driving down the road and scumbag was hanging out the window harassing his ex girlfriend (in another car obviously) when the driver of the WRX lost control and crashed. No one was hurt, except scumbag, who ended up a quadriplegic, as best I recall, since he was the only one not in a seatbelt, and hanging out the window.

    Scumbag claimed Subaru should have made the car safer!

    Question is, how come the judge didn’t call him a scumbag lowlife and throw him out of the court before the first lawyer got up to speak?

    Similarly the bloke who successfully sued Cessna because he had a crash whilst watching a single engine Cessna with engine trouble.

    I just couldn’t think of another way to get ‘scumbag’ into this comment.

  5. The law, through some weird set of circumstances, (I blame trial lawyers) may force her to sue the child to get compensation, but that doesn’t mean she has to do it. Where is the damage? She can’t hold her hors d’oeuvre plate? Seriously?

    Now THIS is a time when even supposedly Godly and spiritual people should show up and say, “Yes, I’m better than you.”

    • Of course she “had” to sue the kid to pursue a claim under the parent’s homeowners’ policy. Plain and simple. Which I’m sure was explained to the kid. It’s all a big charade. But to single out the plaintiff is disingenuous. She didn’t write the complaint or any of the pleadings or frame the case or decide what her damages were. She just followed the instructions of her sleazeball lawyer.

      • Or else the aunt’s medical insurer is suing on a subrogation claim, in which case the overly enthusiastic and unsupervised first year insurance defense associate has gotten carried away in handling the case he or she hopes will endear him to the plaintiffs’ partner.

        The whole thing is stupid, but the Aunt is just a pawn..

      • The lawyer is her agent, not the other way around. She is 100% accountable for and responsible for everything he submits, asserts or says in her behalf. She approved the absurd damages amount, She agreed to sue the child, not the family. She made the idiotic statement about how not being able to hold her appetizers plate was a life altering tragedy. That was the best she and the lawyer could come up with?

            • The Rule is Rule 11, and it involves abuse of process that is unequivocal and undeniable, a spurious suit that cannot win. This could have prevailed, or it would not have gotten to a jury. A mean suit, excessive suit or misguided suit is not necessarily sanctionable.

              • I remember hearing about a case a few years back where a 5 year old pulled the chair out from his aunt at a family gathering and she sued the family for damages and won. Not entirely the same situation because the child actually meant to do harm… But there are parallels. I’m glad this jury was sane.

    • I’m sure everyone explained to the kid it was “just business” and he would be getting out of school for some hearings and depositions.

    • I have avoided reading this post of Jack’s, and have read only the comments, after having heard about this case on the radio. Please, please, world, everyone: DO NOT tell me who this “aunt” votes for.

  6. I am always suspicious of a person who states something ‘made my life a living hell’ and claims vague and undiagnosed pain as the culprit. It doesn’t say he broke her hand, caused permanent nerve damage, anything. This makes my scam-meter go off. It is the same meter that goes off when I hear actors talk about the crippling injury they suffered on set that requires them to take large doses oxycontin on a daily basis.

    I do realize that chronic pain can be hard to diagnose, but that is for an exact diagnosis. She should have gone to a physician and there should be some evidence for the cause of her pain. I didn’t see any mention of going to a physician or getting a diagnosis. Did her sister have a big life insurance policy with her nephew as beneficiary by any chance?

    • For whatever it’s worth, a statement on her lawyer’s website says she’s had two surgeries on the hand so far. He also claims that this case was an attempt to get the homeowner’s insurance to pay her medical bills. The insurance company had offered her $1 in settlement, and her lawyer thought (incorrectly, as it turns out) that he could get more by suing the insurance company. For legal reasons, the named defendant has to be the child rather than the company, but it’s insurance company that would have had to pay if she had won.

      • And I’m sure that would be crystal clear to the 12 year old who is being dragged into court by his aunt. It’s an unethical law suit (not legally, but ethically). She just wasn’t covered, that’s all. No every accident is anyone’s fault—this one wasn’t. Homeowner’s insurance covers successful lawsuits, but that doesn’t mean it right to try to win a specious one. This is gaming insurance in addition to using a child for financial motives.

  7. This is an example of internet-hysteria. Before you point your pointy finger…use some common sense and do a little research.

    Because of Connecticut law…she cannot sue the insurance company (who refused to pay) per their home liability insurance. So she was advised to bring him to court so that her medical bills (over $100,000) could be paid. She has normal relations with her family and has spent a lot of time with her nephew during the trial and after.

    What is to blame is the lack of universal health care in the United States as well as the terrible laws of Conn which forces family members to technically sue one another instead of suing insurance companies for not paying out what they should pay out.

    When you e-shame someone…you are one of thousands of people who directly destroy people’s lives. Every time you re-tweet-shame someone…without knowing the full story…you are partly culpable for the horrific consequences the other person has to pay.

    • She did not HAVE to sue anyone. She was making a specious negligence claim against a child that looked to her as an ally. This violates all ethical systems, exploiting a child, the Golden Rule, “the ends justify the means.”

      The health care policy point is pure blame shifting. The aunt’s conduct was wrong, and she needs to be told it’s wrong. This was a form of child abuse. I wrote about the issue. We don’t sue the ones we love, and if someone insists that we do, we refuse. A child should not be made to suffer. Use the case to save the system.

      • I was very concerned that Davis’ comment would explode this discussion into another political debate about the slowly destructive nature of Leftwing economic policy, but I will commend you.

        That is by far the most succinct and cleverly worded rendition of the problem facing America right now.

  8. Jack: I think your piece is built on ignorance. Another story indicated that there was no bad blood here and the suit was just a legal formality to resolve the issue of the medical bills. I doubt an 8 year old boy is traumatized by being told “We have to go to the judge today because they need to figure out whose insurance company pays to fix Auntie’s wrist.”

    • Read the thread. We’ve gone over all this.
      This wasn’t just going to court. It was a full trial. He’s 12, and old enough to know what a lawsuit is, not old enough to know That his aunt HAS to sue him, which she doesn’t. Being sued is traumatic, and more likely to be so for a child than an adult.

    • By the way, a lawsuit assigning liability or not is not a “Formality” as might be flagged for you by the fact that the jury rejected the claim. Moreover, the child was the one being sued. I assume he had to testify. A lot more is involved for a defendant than just showing up.

      Nor did I say anything about “bad blood.”

      • I recall having to appear at a deposition back when I was a tractor/trailer driver. I had gotten into a “collision” with a guy at a truck stop parking lot during a storm so bad I couldn’t see 5 feet in front of me. He was in his sleeper when I hit him, doing about 3 miles per hour. It ripped the fiberglass body off of his tractor, but that was because I had about 45,000 lbs of granite on my flatbed. It took me and the attendant about 20 minutes to wake him up. About 3 months later, he’s suing me and my company for a million dollars, claiming the impact threw him out of his sleeper and screwed up his back. There was no bad blood between us, but he was lying. He knew it, and I knew it. It was extremely unpleasant. I liked the guy, but I’m not going to lie under oath. This wasn’t a trial, and I wasn’t 12, and I was very uncomfortable.

      • BTW: My health insurance policy, as well as most other insurance polices–health or otherwise, has a clause that allows the insurance company to “subrogate”–file suit on my behalf and force me to cooperate.

        Would you claim it is unethical to cooperate with in insurance company if it insisted that not cooperating in filing the suit would lead them to demand the insured repay any claims they paid out?

        • Huh? If making a claim required me to shoot my dog, I wouldn’t make a claim. If an insurance company told you to jump out a window, would you do it? I’d fight with the insurance company or drop the claim.

    • By the way, a lawsuit assigning liability or not is not a “Formality” as might be flagged for you by the fact that the jury rejected the claim. Moreover, the child was the one being sued. I assume he had to testify. A lot more is involved for a defendant than just showing up.

      Nor did I say anything about “bad blood.”

  9. Jack Marshall,

    With a view point like that, I’d LOVE to sit in your “Sexual Harassment and Workplace Ethics” course. That’s actual hyperbole by the way or an exaggerated statement not meant to be taken literally, not the I guess all the men & women that are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace are just asking for it and they dont HAVE to sue anyone but they chose to.

    You’re also making very large assumption that she didnt seek immediate medical treatment and/or that no wrist injury could possibly cause such extensive damage or cost so much or that the child being sued is in anyway traumatized. It’s clear to me you’ve never dealt with insurance, medical bills or suits under personal injury law and therefore have zero business commenting on it or portraying the aunt as some sort of monster… Talk about being ethical, you just publicly vilified a woman because you lacked understanding of the situation and while your piece is clearly an opinion and not a statement of fact you clearly have defamed/besmirched her reputation and character because you felt the need to express your opinion without looking at realities of the world we live in…

    So lets look at some facts:
    Yes she chose to sue and she sued her nephew. She incurred over 100k in medical expenses and is looking at possibly having another surgery and may still be pained by the injury for years to come. Her family/nephew had a homeowners insurance policy under which the family has no limited liability for injuries that occur on their property.

    Legally, they are responsible for the cost of injury when negligence is involved but they have an insurance policy to indemnify themselves against being financially accountable. It is one of the primary reasons for obtaining homeowners insurance (in addition to protecting against loss; which is also an indemnity). Unfortunately, indemnity insurance does not relieve the family of responsibility, just the financial repercussions, thus as much as she may want to, she cannot sue the insurance company directly, she has to sue the a “covered” party which in this case is her nephew and since only her nephew was involved in causing the injury, she cannot sue the entirety of the family. Yeah it sucks, but its the way it is.

    As for her not seeking immediate medical treatment, I assume you are basing this very “informed” judgement on her by the fact the suit is being heard now 4 years later. So let me enlighten you on the way personal injury suits generally work… New York has a 3 year statue of limitations so the plantiff (the Aunt) has 3 years to file a suit… Most people try to reach an amicable settlement because going to court is a pain, it costs money and its a gamble; no matter the evidence, at least one party loses and the costs of going to court often outweigh the cost of settling (especially if a jury finds against the insurance and grants an even larger settlement)…. So for 3 years she’s been negotiating with the insurance and they’ve been offering her $1 (which is in and of itself insulting; its one thing to say we owe you nothing its another to say we’ll give you a dollar) and when negotiation failed she availed herself of the court system and filed suit…

    But it doesnt end there… Just because the statue of limitations is 3 years doesnt mean the case has to be heard in 3 years just filed. Usually the suit gets filed, the court’s docket pushes it out at least another 6 months and then the attorneys get involved usually delaying the suit further in last ditch attempts to settle. So a case being heard in 4 years with a 3 year statute of limitations is actually surprisingly good.

    Next you are again assuming the nephew has been traumatized, betrayed, confused or otherwise hurt by these proceedings… Why? I mean really why do you assume the child has any understanding into the proceeding at all or that understanding the proceeding is traumatizing or damaging to the child? Sure now at 12 he might understand but most likely he was asked about what happened back when he was 8 and the people involved took great care to ensure he didnt think he was in trouble.. All stories I’ve read indicate he still has a good relationship with the aunt and has had one since the injury so I assume based on that he either a) has no understanding b) understands whats going on and someone took the time to sit him down and explain it doesnt mean his aunt doesnt love him (and between the lines is some vindictive b out for a payday) but that its the way things unfortunately work and that he shouldn’t pay it any mind.

    As for the harm to the family? Well again, the family is composed of what I hope are reasonably competent adults and while they may not understand immediately why the insurance cant be the named party and it has to be the kid who’s sued, I would hope an attorney sat them down and explained it before it caused any sort of harm/betrayal… In fact as with the kid, the stories I read indicate they still have a good relationship and see each other frequently; not the hallmarks of a wounded/harmed family.

    Lastly, your assumption that no wrist injury could possibly cost 130k is totally groundless. Are you a medical doctor? Have you seen significant wrist injuries? There are a lot of nerves and tendons that run through the wrist and a bad enough break can cause ongoing pain and loss of function. A buddy of mine broke his wrist in such a manner and the compression on the nerves was so great that they physically cut out part of the bone to relieve it (in fact this is similar to what they do for carpal tunnel syndrome).

    As for costs; hospitals, doctors, ERs and casts aren’t cheap (mostly because of insurance) and a single injury or surgery in an outpatient facility without insurance is easily 15-20k for a minor procedure like a septoplasty (fixing a deviated septum in the nose). I’ve had more than my fair share of injuries and surgeries and I have yet to have an injury that has been billed less than 10-15k (between initial ER visit, x-rays, followups, etc) and my lowest surgery was a 20k septoplasty (actually technically my lowest was lasik but even that was $3500+ for a half-hour with no anesthesia) at least before the insurance discounted it 9k, billed me my 1.5k deductible, paid their 8k coinsurance and pilled me another 1.5k for my coinsurance (which took a good bit of fight in and of itself because the anesthesiologist was out of network and wanted another $500 but the insurance, doctor and I were able to work it out). The wrist is much more intricate thus likely more expensive since it may require multiple specialties (nuero, osteo, etc)… so 130k is probably pretty resonable… Heck I’ve been sued for 150k for a car accident in which everyone walked away, there were no broken bones, just some bumps and bruises and no one went to the hospital; This aunt was clearly physically injured and suffers from it.

    I’d note that the finding by the jury was that the child could not be negligent as he was not old enough to understand the potential outcome of his actions (that’s debatable in and of itself; he was 8 not 3 and while he might not have wanted or expected the result he was certainly old enough to understand that falls hurt and launching yourself at someone could cause a fall) not that the requested dollar amount was too high.

    So if you want to rant and rail at someone; rant and rail at the insurance company that offered an insulting $1 settlement, rant and rail at the system that requires her to sue her nephew as the “insured party” in order to receive compensation and rant and rail at the insurance/healthcare system that has inordinately jacked up prices so that the hospitals can get pay actual value/cost when the insurance is through “discounting” services. Basically there are about a dozen other things you could have written and complained about in this case that all would have held more legitimacy than vilifying this women.

    Sure she lost but that’s not vindication for you; you are still more ethically bankrupt than she is and Im glad I know your name so that I can recommend to everyone and anyone I know against ever possibly hiring you to talk about an ethics question.

    • Chris, my sexual harassment classes have no possible connection to this issue, not are there any parallels between sexual harassment–which occurs in a business context, involves adults, and almost never involves families—and bad aunts. That was such a ridiculous opening—lawyers typically use their strongest arguments rather than absurd ones at the begining of their briefs…that I was tempted to stop reading and place this in the loony files.

      Are you a lawyer? If so, I’d check up on a basic term they teach in 1L—its statute of limitations, not “statue.” You use the latter TWICE. One could be a typo, two is pretty amazing for a lawyer. As to the non-batty—just wrongheaded— points you make—[ Did you really read my three posts on this topic to clear up the willful disregard of the context of the post here? I doubt it. It is societal ethics, not legal ethics. There is nothing, literally nothing, about legal ethics in the first post. I elaborated because Eric’s weird focus on legal ethics—when he wasn’t spewing rationalizations and insults—gave me a Eureka! regarding how lawyers get ethically confused.]—here:

      1. Her medical expenses, the family’s coverage and the insurance system are 100% irrelevant to the issue. The issue is this: close relatives don’t exploit and harm small children who they claim to love for money.

      2. To repeat: she didn’t HAVE to sue her nephew. She chose to.

      3. “Yeah it sucks, but its the way it is.” “That’s the way it is” is one of the most pervasive rationalizations for unethical conduct. If you can say that and not realize it is unethical, then you are over your head in this discussion.

      4.As for her not seeking immediate medical treatment, I assume you are basing this very “informed” judgement on her by the fact the suit is being heard now 4 years later.

      5. No, in fact. I’m basing it on her testimony that she chose not to reveal her injury so as not to upset the kid. I presume that if she sought medical attention, she would have screamed, shown obvious pain, or left the party to go to the ER, since all of these would have tipped off the boy that he had hurt his aunt. I am still looking for any evidence that she did hurt her wrist at the party, rather than later, and that this wasn’t a collusion to use the homeowner’s insurance to pay for an injury the child had nothing to do with at all.

      6. “Next you are again assuming the nephew has been traumatized, betrayed, confused or otherwise hurt by these proceedings… Why?” First, I am saying that an ethical aunt wouldn’t chance it. At this point, we can’t know, until the kid writes his memoirs. Second, this is an absurd argument. It’s obviously the most likely result. I am a parent and I think so; I have questioned many parents and have yet to meet any who say, “Sure, any child would be cool with it.” It’s dishonest claim you are making or an ignorant one.

      7. “As for the harm to the family? Well again, the family is composed of what I hope are reasonably competent adults and while they may not understand immediately why the insurance cant be the named party and it has to be the kid who’s sued, I would hope an attorney sat them down and explained it before it caused any sort of harm/betrayal… In fact as with the kid, the stories I read indicate they still have a good relationship and see each other frequently; not the hallmarks of a wounded/harmed family.”

      7. I would hope the lawyer did too, though his judgment is already suspect in that he thought this case wasn’t tyhe dog that it was.Gee, is it assuming too much for you, Chris, to suggest that family members suing each other isn’t a great way to maintain family bonds?

      8.“Lastly, your assumption that no wrist injury could possibly cost 130k is totally groundless.” I never said that. Someplace, at one point, in a parenthetical comment, I wrote something like “127 K for a wrist injury?” which suggests that it’s a lot, not that “no wrist injury could possibly cost 130k.” That comment was superfluous to the issue. In terms of suing the kid, it doesn’t matter if the amount was more or less. Did you think I was suggesting that suing would be OK if the damages were less?

      Thanks for the long, if unpersuasive, comment.

      • Chris’s comment is just another long diatribe that can summarized by the prevailing argument made so far:

        She has a right to sue, therefore she is right to sue.

        1) Accidents resulting in damage happen. The damages, to be mitigated, ultimately have to be paid for. Got it. We acknowledge that. To be paid for, someone has to do the paying.

        2) When an actor causes damage, the actor *ought* to be the one who does the paying. But the actor in this case, is determined to be, as a minor, incapable of having acted in maturity of “the law”. So, the one responsible for his maturation process then *ought* to be the one who does the paying for the damages.

        3) But here’s the problem. This is family. The family, claims to be in a “loving” relationship. Were that the case, we would presume the family has decided to help each other out with medical expenses, since the father *ought* acknowledge his responsibility in this, the aunt *ought* acknowledge that as family, there should be some forgiveness involved as well…forgiveness, which by the way, would compel *HER* to assume some of the finances as well. But a lawsuit to cover ALL the expenses would imply no familial forgiveness, making a lie out her claims of “love”.

        4) Apparently catastrophic insurance was insufficient to cover this, so the family has chosen the liability insurance route. More on this in #6.

        5) If the family has insufficient catastrophic medical insurance to cover this, then they are INDIVIDUALLY responsible (by their own choosing) to pay the medical expenses via arrangements *internal* to themselves (between the aunt and the father non-exclusive of appeals to charity). She made the individual decision to NOT pay for additional catastrophic insurance and chose to do what most everyone else does: assume the risks of life and nature (which can suck).

        6) So, apparently the aunt, lacking enough catastrophic insurance, and the father, apparently unwilling to assist the aunt outside of the law, have concocted a scheme to use liability insurance. To do so requires a formal declaration that the boy is legally at fault (when ethically, it should require a formal declaration that the father is at fault). The declaration, once it has occurred, BY DEFINITION stops anyone in this family from claiming officially that they “love each other” – otherwise this just boils down to collusion between parties to defraud the system.

        7) This collusion is ultimately to the detriment of the system and of the boy who IS being taught unethical behavior. So even if the boy is this paragon of maturity and understands that his aunt and father “mean him no harm”, he is still being taught how to scam. However, it’s hard to turn around and make the claim that the boy is a paragon of maturity when all involved in this discussion actively acknowledge that it was the boy’s own immaturity which led to the incident. Unless of course, the “pro-aunt” side of this discussion wants to lower the age of legal maturity and accountability dramatically and against evidence to the contrary.

        8) Everyone claiming “the boy consented” doesn’t understand what consent means.

        9) Sure, medical expenses being high IS related to this Ethics Trainwreck, but only so much as creating a VERY DIFFICULT to ignore non-ethical consideration. That yes, if Medical Expenses were vastly lower (as they would be in a Free Market system unlike what we’ve had since the FDR years) then sure, the aunt (in collusion with the father) would have much less unethical incentive to sue the boy.

  10. The leeches on society seem to be everywhere. Suing your 8 year old nephew because he loved you so much that he accidentally sprained your wrist while running to hug you?! A sane woman should be proud to have won the love of a child. Well, children can give love to the undeserving because they’re still innocent. His parents should have already spotted Aunt Jen for what she is. I keep wishing that the pillory were re-instituted!

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