by John Darer CLU ChFC CSSC RSP
The publication of shocking legal awards often singe our senses because they seem to obviate any idea of personal responsibility. The classic example everyone has probably heard was the McDonald's coffee spill case and the outrage it caused due to the idea that someone would actually put a cup of burning hot coffee between their legs while driving. Nevertheless fewer people know the background behind the case, or the final price paid, and if they did they might have different impression.
The New York Post carried the story of former college hoopster Dustin Dibble who had the misfortune to fall onto subway tracks while apparently alcohol impaired (.18 blood alcohol level according to news reports) and a train ran over him causing the loss of his leg. A jury awarded him $2.3 million. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) appealed and on June 22, 2010 the Appellate Division issued a decision that it had reversed the jury award. While his lawyer Andrew Smiley has said he will appeal, I have written a limerick to "sum up" the story to date:
Hey Dibble Dibble
The MTA Did A Quibble
The Former Hunk's $2 million damage award
The Appellate Decision
Was Met With Derision
By the former hoopster who was utterly floored
His lawyer named Smiley
Said "It Might Take a Whiley"
To Appeal Overstep of Judicial Authority
It Wasn't His Choice To Lose The Leg
"Bloomie*" Differed To Beg
After All Dibble Chose To Imbibe
Had it not been that "shot-a"
He might not teeter-tot-tah
And this limerick there'd be no need to scribe.
Like the McDonald's hot coffee
One Needs to "Sound-Off-ee"
On the Subject of Personal Responsibility
We live in an age
Where it is a total outrage
The lack of personal accountability.
We await news of the appeal.
* NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg