Surprise Litigation

The crazy litigation bug has migrated to this country from the US. From the Daily Telegraph:

A home owner is being threatened with legal action after a woman claimed she trapped her hand in his letterbox while delivering unwanted junk mail. Joy Goodman, a cake decorator, is seeking damages for personal injury and loss of earnings, claiming the top of her right index finger was severed when she delivered the mail. She claims she needs compensation because she is now unable to carry out her intricate job.

But the home owner vowed to fight the case. Paul O’Brien, 44, a self-employed engineer from Leeds, said: “When I received a solicitor’s letter I thought someone was having a laugh. I actually told them they had sent it early. April Fool’s Day is still six weeks away.

“I just cannot believe someone who came on to my property uninvited, to put junk mail through my door that I didn’t want, can now sue me because they hurt themselves.”

Mrs Goodman declined to comment, saying only: “It is in the hands of my solicitors.”

A law expert said that householders had limited duties of care to people who went on to their property such as delivery people or postmen.

These duties of care include not having such things as bare electricity cables sticking out, but were not likely to extend to a letterbox providing it was a standard model.

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2 Responses to “Surprise Litigation”

  1. John of Indiana Says:

    Can he counter-sue for malicious trespass or something like that?
    Sort of restores my faith in our own home-grown morons….

  2. sol Says:

    I don’t think he has grounds for a counter-claim. It is a common practice to deliver things through the door, whether mail, newspapers, political leaflets, or other unsolicited stuff. I think it is a duty of care issue. If he had created his own mail slot or boobytrapped the existing one, that would be one thing. There appears to be nothing different between his and any other, except that this woman injured herself in his.


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