Check this out if you want your blood to boil. A teacher is shot and killed in a Florida school by a kid who stole a handgun from a family friend. How does the jury assess liability for the murder in the civil suit?
Gun owner: 50% responsible ($12 million)
School board: 45% responsible ($10.8 million)
Gun distributorship: 5% responsible ($1.2 million)
Kid that pulled the trigger: not responsible
This was the same lawyer at work that sued the tobacco companies. Not all the news is bad, though, if you pick the threads out of the media coverage:
1) The school board and gun owner aren't expected to pay because they weren't named as defendants in the suit -- the lawyer was suing the gun distributorship alone.
2) The original claim in the suit was for $76 million.
Both sides in the case are appealing. Why? Because the lawyer only got something like 1.5 percent of what he was after ($1.2M vs $76M). In terms of assessing liability, the jury issued a 95 percent rejection of his claim that the distributorship was responsible, and in terms of money it was a 98.5 percent rejection.
Of course, the bad news is that if a teenager breaks into your home, steals a gun, and shoots somebody, it's your fault.
[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2002-11-15 09:11 ]