California, Lawsuit of the Day, Weirdness

Jokes / Torts 101: A California Woman, A Banana Peel, And…?

Legendary humorist Charlie Chaplin was once asked to describe “funny.” He famously responded: “You take a woman walking down the sidewalk. Show the audience a banana peel in front of her. Everyone knows that she is going to step on the banana peel and do a pratfall. At the last instant, she sees the banana peel, steps over it and falls into an open manhole that neither she nor the audience knew was there.”

Alright Charlie. Well here we have the set-up almost right. Reuters has a story about a banana peel and a 58-year-old California woman who busted her ass slipping on one.

Alone that’s not very funny, so we need something more. We need an open manhole…

What if I told you that the woman slipped and fell on a banana peel in a 99 Cent store? What if I told you she was suing the 99 Cent store for more than 99 cents? What if I told you that she is being represented by something called the Quirk Law Firm of Ventura California? Wacka wacka wacka?

Come on, that’s humorous. Who falls on a banana peel and then sues a 99 Cent store? If you saw that on Jackass you’d laugh. It might not be as side-splitting as watching a lady fall down a manhole, but getting sucked into the American tort system has its own charms. From the Reuters report:

Ida Valentine, 58, is suing the 99 Cents Only store where she slipped on one last April.

She said that she suffered a herniated disk and tissue damage, spent $9,000 on medical bills and is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

“She fell and landed on her backside,” said Courtney Mikolaj of the Quirk Law Firm in Ventura, California, which is representing her.

Mikolaj said the 99 Cents Only store in Fontana, California, refused a proposed settlement of $44,000.

Of course they refused the $44K settlement. That’s 4,400,000 cents! Where are they supposed to come up with that kind of change?

Not that anybody is asking me for my legal advice, but if I were counsel for 99 Cents Only, I wouldn’t cede the “she slipped on a banana peel” part of the argument. We’ll call this defense exhibit A:

That’s right, I just cited Mythbusters. What, you think the real 99 cent lawyers are going to come up with a much better defense?

Luckily, I’m only charging two cents for that unsolicited legal advice. With those cost savings, everybody wins!

California woman sues after slipping on banana peel [Reuters Legal]

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