University of California-San Diego Student Blocks Highway In Anti-Trump Protests and Sues School After She Is Hit By Car

View image on TwitterMariana Flores, a sophomore at the University of California-San Diego, has a curious concept of not just tort liability but personal responsibility.  She is suing UCSD for being hit by a car on the highway.  However, she was taking part in a protest illegally blocking the highway at the time.  She is suing the University of California Regents, the city and county of San Diego, the state of California, and the driver of the car.

The protest was over the presidential victory of Donald Trump and Flores was demonstrating on I-5 (an eight lane highway) when the car hit her and crushed her pelvis, fractured her leg, and caused other injuries.  She does not blame herself or the protesters.  She blames the university for not stopping her from doing such a reckless thing.

Flores is arguing that the university was aware of the protest for hours without adequate planning.  She argues that university officials encouraged the protest and did nothing to control her and other protesters.

 

Flores’ complaint maintains that anyone employed by the university who encouraged or supported the protest would be sufficient to established liability.

The effort is clearly to get a jury to find not that Flores was without fault but that there was comparative fault by UCSB.  The case is an argument against a “pure” comparative negligence standard like the one used in California.  In a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction, a plaintiff may recover damages even if he or she is more at fault than the defendant. The award is reduced by whatever the percentage of fault is assigned to the plaintiff.  Other states use a partial or modified comparative fault system where you are barred if you are 50 percent or more at fault in your own accident.  In the traditional contributory negligence states Flores would have been barred for even one percent of fault (absent a finding under “last clear chance” doctrines).

It is a good thing that UCSD is not simply caving into this lawsuit with a settlement. I fail to see the basis for liability based on the facts alleged by Flores.

What do you think?

56 thoughts on “University of California-San Diego Student Blocks Highway In Anti-Trump Protests and Sues School After She Is Hit By Car”

  1. The one that presents what could also be essentially the most extreme and most speculative version of the “mathematics as part of
    the physical world” situation is an astrophysicist
    colleague, Max Tegmark of MIT https://math-problem-solver.com/ .
    You need mathematics to be able to graduate from high school.

  2. In some respects this reminds of the professor at the medical school in Wisconsin who encouraged young residents to go into the streets and write fake sick notes to demonstrators who skipped work to oppose Gov. Walker. They, stupidly wrote the dishonest medical notes while being recorded for television and, naturally, ended up facing complaints before the medical board. Every one of them deserved punishment but the professor who encouraged this conduct in young doctors under his care deserved to lose his medical license and be fired. I am surprised that none of the residents thought to sue the university and the attending physician for leading them into legal peril. The universities in California have generally been encouraging or tolerating outrageous and sometimes perilous behavior to achieve political ends. I don’t mind seeing them sued when someone is injured–even if it is someone who is stupid. They should, after all, raise their admissions standards as well.

    1. Nobody allowed her to do anything! People must take responsibility for there own actions. Now that she’s injured, she wants someone to pay. HORSESHIT! 🐴 I’m flabbergasted by the stupidity that goes on in the world today. SHE MADE THE CHOICE TO PLAY IN TRAFFIC

  3. As simple as I can say it: What ever happened to personal responsibility?

    Giving recognition to the different standards for comparative negligence between states, I prefer the modified form as described in the post. As such, I think the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault, and should be barred from any recovery. Especially against the institutions listed. If anyone else could even be considered partly responsible, it would be the driver of the vehicle that hit her. But since the incident occurred on a highway, she was out of place standing there. Which again, would make her the more negligent individual.

    Maybe I’m just the plaintiff bar’s worst nightmare: A person who hates cases that just clog the court system when the plaintiff is guilty.

  4. As a retired adjuster I have seen worse liability theories result in compromise settlements. This is true even in states with negligence based upon Modified Comparative Fault. The dollar expense of getting through Interrogatories (Paper Discovery) along with Discovery depositions with possibly hundreds of potential witnesses would greatly exceed the costs associated with settling the lawsuit. Sadly, these matters have little to do with achieving “Justice.” The reality is that business decisions are made in many of these matters with ironclad confidentiality and mutual release language included in the Release of All Claims Agreement. Especially if the medical lien can be negotiated to a reduced figure by an astute Plaintiff Attorney. In my experience with Civil Litigation, “Justice” is neither blind nor is it free.

      1. From an “Old Adjuster:” (In other words, Not “The Law”)

        I am sure that you have heard the old axiom, “If the Law is not on your side, argue the Damages.”

        California is a “Pure Comparative Fault” state. In such a jurisdiction almost any reasoned legal theory would require Discovery before any Judge would contemplate such a decision. In (my experience) most Judges defer to the Jury to decide the proportion of liability, if any, applied to all participating parties in the suit. This is problematical in that many of those serving on such Juries look beyond the Jury Instructions because, regardless of the merits of the legal Defense, as they would like to see the Plaintiff recover their medical bills. Juries are not supposed to hear about whether or not “Insurance” would indemnify a Defendant for any amount of Damages awarded by a Jury. See (Ventura v Kyle, http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/16/06/143876P.pdf ) Juries are pretty smart and the presence of available liability insurance is not far from their minds.

        The Defense in many cases would argue the Court for a bifurcated trial on the issues of Liability separate from Damages. If the Court is backlogged I have seen Judges, being human, push both sides towards settlement regardless of the merits of the case. I once had a Federal Judge tell our Defense Team that she needed to resolve our Civil Liability matter before her Court so that she could proceed to “important” cases involving Environmental Lawsuits. You can argue with a lot of people in this world but, in my experience, you should avoid getting on the wrong side of a Federal Judge.

        Enough blabbering from the Real World….

        1. I agree with many that the various state legislatures and Congress need to expand the judiciary due to backlog issues resulting in large time delays for litigants or defendants, especially prison inmates who can wait years for credible appeals to be decided–a form of denied justice in my opinion.

          However I am curious if another comparison can be made in the example of expanding roads and highways.

          Traffic studies add credibility to the theory that expanding throughput of highways and arterials in urban areas is a form of a zero sum gain. Because traffic congestion results from constrained roadways citizens tend to purchase their residences closer to work and areas of interest within the city or nearby suburbs. So the constraint is a form of limitation on the need to increase roadway capacity. But, if instead expensive freeway expansions are made more citizens move farther away from the city, leading to sprawl, but since more people are now on the roadway the congestion returns.

          Do you believe that the judicial capacity we have now could in fact encourage civil litigants to settle their cases or prosecutors/defendants to arrive at a settlement in greater numbers than a system with ample judges? Whereas otherwise, greater numbers of lawsuits will occur and there is less emphasis to enter into arbitration or settlements and we are back to square one on the delays?

          1. As I used to tell my clients, you do not get “Justice” when you go to Court. You get “the Law.”

            I can only speak from my experiences in the Pac NW. I believe that whatever system is in place that lawyers, being lawyers, will find a way to exploit it. Under the current system I do believe that scheduling cases for 18-36 months out does little to benefit either the Plaintiffs or Defendants in the pursuit of Justice in cases involving Civil Liability. In Criminal cases my observations are that there is no longer a “Right to a speedy trial.” Instead we are faced with the results of “legal expediency.” I am not certain that additional Judges on the Bench will change anything once lawyers find a way to manipulate the system in favor of their client’s position. Perhaps we need to look at Process. As it now stands in the Civil system, the Courts benefit two classes of people: Those with unlimited resources and those with no resources. Everyone else has to deal with a Legal System where, IMO, the participant in pursuit of Justice is comparable to a patient having to face a medical situation where the “cure” is worse than the disease. Criminal Justice is, in my opinion, a worse situation for the individual. Regardless of what side of the political aisle you are on, look at the situation faced by those individuals targeted by the Special Counsel. The costs of Defending your innocence is financial annihilation. Please note that in appearing to castigate lawyers I was not issuing a criticism of aggressive advocacy. Our legal system is based upon that concept. As a once active observer I just wonder if there isn’t a better way to get to fairer results for all parties.

            “Voluntary Mediation” is still a useful tool but it should not be mistaken for “Justice.” In many cases there is not penalty associated with parties who choose to abuse this system in order to drag the case out to wear down the other side (Bad Faith). Similarly, “Mandatory Arbitration” is a system that has, in my opinion, already been “gamed” by the legal profession. I have observed that Arbiters are selected by the Court from a pool of qualified trail attorneys. The arbiter pool has in my observation roughly 75% of the attorneys from the Plaintiffs’ side. While many attorney/arbiters approach Mandatory Arbitration out of a sense of Duty to the Profession one cannot help but observe what appear to be skewed results.

            When I say “change the process” I am thinking more of removing lawyers from certain classes of cases, much like you see in Small Claims Courts and adding more Judges to this process. Any system that is overwhelmed will likely be abused.

            1. Thank you for your reply and insights. One can only help some reforms will be made after a great amount of work serving to benefit individual citizens. Unfortunately much time needs to pass before we can hope to achieve these things in light of the money that can be made in preserving the status quo.

  5. There is a peculiar tendency for many to believe that the right to free speech necessarily means the right to be heard, or, worse, the right to be right–both of which, directly and/or indirectly, are on display here. This is not just a liberal thing or a conservative thing, but increasingly a trend for all sides, including those not easily classifiable as either. The third aspect, the presumed right to be right, is especially dangerous since it subverts the very idea of free speech.

    I suspect nothing much will be heard of this–no judge in the world, I should think, let this go to trial. Still, the idea that anybody thinks this can be grounds for lawsuit to begin with is amazing (and I’ve seen university admins back off even in face of ridiculous claims by students before.)

  6. Flores no doubt considers herself a feminist. Let’s have less of her virtue signaling, and more of this kind of behavior.

    1. The 5 is a major freeway, filled with traffic. Utter madness to block it, and a cruel thing to do to all the drivers fighting with CA traffic.

        1. You are right. These protestors milling about on the freeway are a poor reflection on the university’s ability to teach critical thinking and higher reasoning.

  7. I have to keep coming back to look at this. Where did it all go wrong? Were drugs a factor? I thought living beings were hard-wired with the goal to continue, and you got, you know, a kind of “I don’t think that is a good thing to do for my longevity” kind of feeling.

    Pardon me for not asking her for perspective on anything. Ever.

    Should be a government agency to stop such an action I guess. You know, lots of administrators. Like 10-14,000 or something. Top pay, of course.

    1. Social psychologists refer to infantilized adults like Flores as “moral dependents”–they cannot work things out for themselves and are always looking to authority figures to make things “right” when their feelz have been hurt. You know, like suffering “microaggressions” in the classroom and BS like that. So, of course, Flores is going to look to the court system to hold UCSD accountable because she wasn’t sufficiently “restrained” and couldn’t be expected to know any better than to follow the rest of the sheeple onto the I-5.

  8. Simple solurion.
    Just have the professor/indoctrinator that told her to block the highway for “the cause,” tell her to drop the suit and shut up for “the cause.”
    Like all kool-aid saturated millineals she will hear and obey.

  9. Ahhhh, red meat served up today. Bad suit on her part, but it’s not like she’s the only one that knows nothing of law either, check out Trump’s lawyer’s suit against Bannon. Or Manafort’s suit against the Justice Dept.

  10. “She is suing the University of California Regents, the city and county of San Diego, the state of California, and the driver of the car.“

    Abusing the legal system with empty lawsuits? How Trump of her.

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