Law Schools, Lawsuit of the Day, Tort Reform

Geotropic Law Student Sues Law School Over Broken Chair

A law student sat in a chair, reclined, and fell on her ass.

Now she’s suing the school for her injury.

Read that again; I’m not making it up. Sit, fall, butthurt, sue.

I’m sure anti-tort-reform forces are busy putting together the HBO documentary, “Reclining Dreams: The True Story Of How One Chair SIGNIFICANTLY INCONVENIENCED A Student.” But I can only hope that the litigious law student has the time to sue her school because she hasn’t yet found a real job….

The school with their chairs in the crosshairs in the University of New Mexico Law School. UNM was last seen getting its ass kicked by the HARVARD CRIMSON. Woohoo! But nobody’s school deserves this. From KOB4:

The lawsuit was filed last week in Santa Fe. Jennifer McCabe claims that the “Think Chair” she was assigned to collapsed when she leaned back in it while in class.

Those standard office chairs are called “Think Chairs”? What are their other chairs called? “Moron chairs”? “I need to sit down while I chew this gum chairs”? “I’m too stupid to recline properly iron maidens”?

I just can’t believe that we have a tort system where people can sue schools because their chairs break. Like, I can see suing the chair maker, but the school? Let me put it this way: I’m a big guy, I’ve had a chair or two “collapse” in my day. But at no point do I get up and think, “The school should pay for not providing chairs with the structural integrity of Caterpillar products.” Sitting in chairs that break is God’s way of saying, “Lose some weight you unmitigated fat ass.”

Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if McCabe isn’t “fat,” and this lawsuit is an elaborate way to prove that point. I can imagine it unfolding: pretty girl sits down, leans back, totally busts her ass, everybody is laughing, her fair skin turns bright red, and later she experiences “back pain.” The next thing you know, she’s pulling out her old torts hornbook.

But is she really thinking about how this suit might affect her fellow students?

UNM Junior Kristin Padilla is concerned how it might hurt the university and its students if the suit is successful.

“It would be a tragedy for the school if tuition went up because of a cases like this,” she said. “But I mean — it sounds like kind of a ridiculous reason to make a lawsuit.”

UNM has an abundance of Think Chairs; does it have enough Job Chairs?

UPDATE (3/23/2013, 8 a.m.): A UNM Law source tells us, “Jen McCabe is an awesome woman. Very smart as well (I know she was a Contracts tutor and I think she was Dean’s list). Also, not fat. I’d put her at 5’6″ and 120 lbs. She already had serious back problems (multiple surgeries) and when the chair broke under her it effectively rendered her crippled for life…. I doubt she would file a frivolous lawsuit. If she’s suing, I guarantee the school knew something was wrong with the chair.”

There’s additional discussion in the comments (from both defenders and critics of McCabe).

Chair at the center of lawsuit against UNM Law School [KOB4]

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