Anthony Anderson appeared in court in England to plead guilty to a shocking attack on a dying woman. While shouting, “This is YouTube material!,” he urinated on 50-year-old Christine Lakinski, who died on the street of pancreatic failure. Johnson also doused her with a bucket of water and covered her with shaving cream. He pleaded guilty to “outraing public decency,” a surprisingly low-grade offense for the conduct. The horrific scene was recorded on a phone video system. Notably, there is no mention of charges against his friends. He has stated that he was smoking pot and drinking with his friends at the time. For the full story, click here
In the United States, various criminal charges would have been brought including aggravated battery with much longer sentencing options. As for torts, the Lakinski case shows the limitations on liability. Under the intentional infliction of emotional distress, only close family members are allowed to sue if there is no physical injury to the third parties and even then they must be in close proximity. Other bystanders who witness the horrific scene or family members who learn of it later are generally barred. Yet, it is hard to imagine a more credible injury than to learn that your loved one has been subject to this type of abuse before she died. The limitation of infliction of emotional distress (both in intentional tort and negligence) have long been controversial for precisely this reason.