I don’t remember the moment I first learned how to wipe my ass without hurting myself. I don’t think I received a special present or accolade for that momentous life event. But perhaps my parents did take notice in this way:

MOM: Our little boy just successfully wiped himself without incident!
DAD: Good. Maybe you were right when you prevented me from taking him out back and shooting him.

The point is that successfully using toilet paper is a basic skill in civilized society. If you have an accident while administering toilet paper to yourself, it’s the kind of thing you really want to keep to yourself.

Unless, of course, you think you can get money out of the mishap. America baby, the only place where hurting yourself while performing basic hygienic practices can lead to a tort payday.

A Michigan woman broke her hand while trying to get toilet paper out of a dispenser in a restaurant bathroom. And now the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that her case can be presented to a jury….

The Associated Press lets Sheri Schooley explain her own harrowing battle with a restroom TP dispenser:

Schooley, 58, acknowledged it’s a “bizarre story.” She and her husband were out for dinner on New Year’s Eve 2007 when she visited the restroom.

“I reached and the cover of the toilet paper dispenser fell down on my hand,” the South Rockwood woman told The Associated Press on Monday. “It looked like the dispenser was up but it wasn’t latched. At first I thought I was all right. I thought it was just bruised.”

But the pain didn’t fade, she said, and her husband had to cut her steak. When Schooley returned to work, she couldn’t use a stapler. Diagnosis: broken bone.

Okay, okay. Accidents happen. Those old bones need to be handled with care. But does this really give rise to a lawsuit against the restaurant? Schooley continues:

Three years later, “I still cannot use the hand. I have no grip,” said Schooley, who had to quit her job as an administrative assistant because she couldn’t type…

Schooley said she still bowls but was forced to switch to her left hand.

“My average used to be 140. Now it’s 95 to 100,” she said. “Quite a drop.”

You can’t make copies but you can bowl? ARE YOU F*****G SERIOUS? And now you want to hold the restaurant accountable for not protecting you from toilet paper dispensers?

Sheri Schooley, without a hint of hyperbole, I can honestly say I hate you. I hate you and all the people like you who abuse our tort system and thereby make everybody else lose credibility when they try to hold companies accountable for the real harm and injury they cause. For every person who has to jump through five million hoops to recover from a company whose greed led to gross negligence on some basic safety issue, there’s some idiot like Sheri Schooley who is out to milk the system because her hand hurts after injuring it in some ludicrous and unforeseeable accident.

Not surprisingly, the decision broke 4-3, liberals on the “maybe toilet paper dispensers are dangerous” side, conservatives on the “you’ve got to be freaking kidding me” side:

There is no evidence that restaurant employees inspected “toilet paper dispensers to see if they were closed,” Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly wrote.

“It is not for this court but rather for a jury to decide if the dispenser that harmed her constituted a dangerous condition,” she said.

The court’s three conservative justices said the liberal majority was overreaching. In a biting dissent, Justice Stephen Markman noted that the restroom was checked for wet floors and other obvious problems every 15 to 30 minutes.

Texas Roadhouse “apparently also had a legal duty to inspect for hazards that could not reasonably have been anticipated, such as a toilet paper dispenser opening unexpectedly,” Markman wrote sarcastically.

Seriously, if an alien enters through an open window — not locked by the restaurateur — whose exotic form causes Schooley to sprain her eyes, rendering her unfit for work for three years, is that the restaurant’s fault too?

She broke her hand trying to get toilet paper. Does every injury now have to be litigated through the courts? Can we not have a rule that says if you have an accident while wiping your own ass, that’s on you? It’s not like there was a moat full of crocodiles guarding the toilet paper; it was a goddamn regular TP dispenser that (evidently) broke.

S**t happens.

Mich. woman can sue over toilet paper dispenser [Washington Post]


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