OMG SNERT HAS NU TXT TORT! Girl Walks Into Open Sewer Hole While Texting

200px-Texting300px-OrficeWe have a new texting tort. Alexa Longueira, 15, was walking and texting on Staten Island when she plunged into the ground. She fell into an open manhole and ended up in the pitch black sewer. Her family is preparing to sue the city, which itself is investigating the incident.

As our own poster “Clueless” noted, she immediately texted “hlp am trppd n swr pls rscu me.”

The high school sophomore has a case. While she was negligent in texting and walking, the courts have previously ruled that cities must anticipate inattentive people or people with disabilities who may not see an open manhole or ditch. In Fletcher v. City of Aberdeen (1959), the city workers failed to put back barriers around an open hole and the court found that the city had to anticipate such individuals who cannot see such a danger. Likewise, Robinson v. Pioche, Bayerque & Co. (1855), a court found that the inebriation of an individual was not a defense for a city. In a statement that may fit this teenager’s case, the court held that “a drunken man is as much entitled to a safe street as a sober one, and much more in need of it.”

Recently, in another case a 67-year-old blind man plunged 25 feet down an elevator shaft to his death in his Bronx apartment building when the stepped into the open doors of an elevator without realizing that there was no elevator door.

For the full story, click here.

36 thoughts on “OMG SNERT HAS NU TXT TORT! Girl Walks Into Open Sewer Hole While Texting

  1. AY,

    Well, others have answered the legal questions. I would have just said that the actual article didn’t seem to have any disclaimer in it from the city such as ‘people are always stealing our manhole covers, barriers etc.’ but it will all come out I’m sure.

    I actually found Jim’s comment to be interesting sans any legal argument. I’ve been victimized by my own “cached thought” on more than one occasion. It’s why large, obvious barriers are needed to override our expectations of solid sidewalks, normally unlocked doors being locked for repair, or the road going on forever instead of taking those pesky detours.

    I go to the same aisle in the local grocery for salsa that I’ve gone to for at least 5 years. Problem is they changed their layout about 6 weeks ago but it doesn’t matter, I turn right at aisle 7 and find myself surrounded by soup instead of junk food. I know it’s in aisle 10 now with ‘Mexican/Oriental’ but the auto-pilot just won’t stay reset. (Salsa is real food? Who knew? And is ‘Oriental’ even a designation that’s culturally appropriate anymore? Going to the store these days, for me, is becoming a trip to high anxiety and cultural dissonance.)

  2. lottakatz,

    There are four main food groups. They have an overlord. His name is Junk Food. That’s all you need to know. 🙂

  3. lottakatz said “Going to the store these days, for me, is becoming a trip to high anxiety and cultural dissonance.”

    Thanks for the bringing out a good chuckle. I can relate.

  4. Anonymously Yours
    “1, July 13, 2009 at 10:42 pm
    Jill 1, July 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm


    There are four main food groups. They have an overlord. His name is Junk Food. That’s all you need to know.

    While I agree and do not pay homage to the Dark Over Lords Offerings too often. Does Ice Cream get special dispensation? As it is a Dairy product with all sorts of inert goods. Even homemade has a certain amount of bad stuff in it. But it is still good. I have been on the Banana Split craze by Blue Bell. Still 1/2 gallon and can usually purchase it for 3 for 10. I am gaining an affection for the Triple Chocolate coated Almond Fudge. But one that had my attention was Grooms Cake,(Groom’s Cake Ice Cream is a luscious chocolate ice cream with chocolate cake pieces and chocolate coated strawberry hearts, surrounded by swirls of strawberry sauce and chocolate icing.) Sorry it was gone in about an hour. Yes, a half gallon.”

    Blue Bunny does a Raspberry Swirl for about 6 weeks a year that is coveted and hoarded in my house. Right now there is a little tub of Cherry Garcia that I just sneaked a spoonful of (it’s rationed between the better half and myself) and I can’t think of a better counterpoint to the salads and veges and generally good nutrition we have been practicing for the last year. I can enumerate every piece of pie, cake or candy I’ve had in the last 14 months and there just ain’t many.

    Srsly, last week I was thinking that I would kill for a brownie, literally. It was a monumentally bad week and a brownie was the only comfort I could focus on. Saturday I had to stop and get 3 of those too-small tubs of Cherry Garcia.

    AY, There is nothing quite so cruel that you could have written to me as that description of ‘Grooms Cake,(Groom’s Cake Ice Cream’. I have said Jill is the embodiment of evil but, sorry Jill, I was wrong. You have been surpassed with little more than the name of a commercially produced guilty pleasure posted by AY. I am craven, this I admit freely🙂

    I can recall that 3 of the 4 food groups are Tomato, Fried and Chocolate but the 4th escapes me. I’m thinking that it’s Butter; Ice Cream would fall under the Butter=Cream=frozen/whipped group would it not?

    Jim, glad I could be of service, I could come up with many, many examples based on your posting, it’s just the way we’re wired, I enjoyed your take on the issue.

  5. Lottakatz,

    Here’s my diet advice. Go with whatever diet recommends eating what you’re eating at the time! Atkins says it’s the carbs, not the ice cream that’s evil, so that would be a good choice concerning Grooms Cake. When bread looks good, remind yourself that you’re following the old govt. food pyramid and have had a momentary memory loss about the new recommendations. It’s a very post modern process towards eating.

    I will have to regain my crown from A.Y. This may take some time…

  6. Jill,

    This one is for you: Chocolate Moo-llennium Crunch – Rich chocolate ice cream (when they say rich it will make you wake up in night sweats) with a combination of dark chocolate chunks, creamy caramel chunks, roasted pecan halves, chopped almonds, walnut pieces and peanuts.

    It is good too. I refuse to read the cal or any other information which would take away my momentary pleasure.

  7. Ay What’s your favorite food other than ice cream? Remember we talked about the 13th and 14th.

  8. Swartmore Mom,

    Yes, I do. I hope that you are feeling better today and that you did not bring nuttin back from Boulder but a good time.

  9. By the way did you see the that a Southwest Airline Jet is giving rider a view of the sky? Apparently a section of the top of the plane came apart.

  10. Yes I saw that. We flew Southwest. I am feeling a little better. I have had a sore throat and laryngitis.

  11. I am a plaintiff’s lawyer with the attendant natural sympathy for most plaintiffs. But this case give ammunition to those who sqawk about “frivolous” lawsuits, and it is hard to muster up much sympathy for someone so responsible for her own injuries.

    Earlier commenters have made some great points, i.e., comparative negligence percentages would apply–a fact that may help defuse the outrage of those who think such a plaintiff will soon be collecting a giant windfall. But I am more taken with the comments of those who appreciate not only the young lady’s own part in her accident, but the potential damage that her inattention could have caused others.

    Maybe it’s time to move beyond the realm of tort law, and into criminal (or at least administrative). If NY’ers can no longer legally use their cell phones while driving, how about a law prohibiting texting while walking?

  12. Andrew Barovick said “If NY’ers can no longer legally use their cell phones while driving, how about a law prohibiting texting while walking?”

    In addition, we can add a law that prohibits; talking to others, window shopping, looking up, being a child, being blind…or a myriad of other ridiculous things.

    We have long recognized the hazards of opening a hole in a place that a hole normally does not exist. Hence, the reason safety boundaries are required to be put in place by workers who remove manhole covers.

    Are our sidewalks supposed to be a safe place for a visually impaired person to walk? Would a visually impaired person have suffered the same fate as the texter?

    –If the proper safety boundary had been in place, and the texter tripped over the boundary and fell into the sewer; the texter would have been fully at fault. (Barring any noted defects in the boundary.)

    Without such boundary; a person exercising a minimum amount of attentiveness could have suffered the same fate…even though they were not texting.

    —I think the city loses this one.

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