Crazy as a . . . : Woman Takes Repair Man Hostage Over Failure to Fix Washing Machine

180px-washer600pixYou have to love this false imprisonment case. Tracey Fox, 42, snapped when a repair man told her that he could not fix her washing machine, which had broken down twice this year. Fox then took matters into her own hands and locked the man in the house and would not let him leave until the machine was working.

Fox admits that she had had enough: “I told him he might as well dial 999 because he wasn’t going anywhere until my washer was sorted.” The police came to sort out Fox who lives in Durham, England. She had been forced to do the wash for her husband, daughter, and grandson at friends’ homes over Christmas.

Technically, in the U.S., insanity is not a defense to intentional torts. This would make for a classic false imprisonment case with a twist . . . or perhaps a spin. It does not appear that criminal or civil charges will follow. If someone went medieval on the Maytag man in the states, it would have washed out so easily I expect.

For the full story, click here.

11 thoughts on “Crazy as a . . . : Woman Takes Repair Man Hostage Over Failure to Fix Washing Machine”

  1. Haha Buddha.

    Was this man, perhaps her husband?

    As a stay at home mom, I can relate to such frustrations!!

    This is a hilarious story.

  2. “Whose lonely now, Mr. Maytag Repairman! Huh? Without your SPIN cycle and your RINSE cycle, who is the BIG MAN! You WILL make my clothes clean!!! I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!!!”

    – from “Fatal Appliance”, draft one, by Joe Esterhaus.

  3. Was that a Republican washing machine or a Democratic machine? If it was a Democratic machine it would never have broken! I am thinking that this lady might have been at her “wits end”, but I don’t think that the judge will care about that. Are you sure this didn’t happen in Texas??

  4. I’m not certain where to put this but thought people might enjoy listening. This is supposed to be the worst day of the year and the optimist club in England is taking matters into their own hands, much as this woman did! They feature a bona fide grumpy old man v. optimist–you judge who wins! I’ll put the link in the next box, but here’s the starting premise. This interview is hilarioius! It’s from the BBC:

    “The Optimists’ Society say they want to reclaim the “most depressing day of the year” as International Optimism Day.

    This year “Blue Monday” – a date in January regarded as the most depressing day of the year – falls on 19 January.”

  5. Patty –

    You’re right that I had missed that item from May. I think there is a new update to the case from Jan 15, however, because I saw several news outlets covering the story this weekend. The ruing is linked in this article entitled “Judge grants qualified immunity to principal in First Amendment ‘douchebag’ case”:

    U.S. District Court Judge Mark Kravitz decided Niehoff and Superintendent Paula Schwartz were entitled to qualified immunity, which protects “public officials from lawsuits for damages, unless their actions violate clearly established rights,” he said in the ruling. Kravitz cited both Bethel School District v. Fraser…

  6. Thanks for giving this story some permanent press. I suspect Tracey may have some other dirty laundry we don’t know about yet.

    JT, how about a suggestion box or thread for items your readers think may be of interest? I thought the follow up to a story you did in March 2008 regarding a school free speech case in Connecticut might be a candidate. Google (with quotes) “Discipline upheld for Conn. student on Internet post”, or “Internet Free Speech Ruling Favors Burlington School Administrators”

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