Pennsylvania: The wolf is at the door
by Albert Paschall
(Fairy Tale, PA., August 1999) Attorneys
have filed suit against a hunter who shot and killed a wolf outside of Fairy
Tale. Police refused to file
charges against the hunter after interviewing a young girl the hunter allegedly
saved when the wolf threatened her.
According to police reports the wolf had allegedly stalked the girl, who
always wore a red-hooded jacket, through the woods on several occasions when the
child went to visit her elderly grandmother’s remote cabin. On the day the incident occurred the wolf allegedly preceded
her to the cabin, bound and gagged the elderly woman and put on the
grandmother’s clothes. When the
girl arrived she began to question the wolf’s disguise, especially noting his
big eyes, sharp teeth and tail. When
questioned by the little girl the wolf allegedly became enraged and threatened
to eat the child. A passing hunter
heard the girl screaming “wolf!” then broke into the cabin and shot and
killed the animal.
According to the lawsuit filed on behalf of the wolf’s estate the
hunter is liable for wrongful death. The suit states that the child’s
stereotyping of the wolf enraged the animal and that in fact she had enticed the
wolf by intruding into its natural habitat, wearing her red jacket and hood
while carrying baskets of goodies. The
suit alleges that both the color red and goodies attract wolves.
(Harrisburg, PA, August 1999) In
his inaugural address the new president of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers
Association said “the fact of the matter is that there is no liability crisis
in Pennsylvania. The fact of the
matter is that business is crying wolf.”
He continued: “It is our duty as trial lawyers to prove to our elected
representatives the distortions and misstatements which are being perpetuated
under the anecdotal guise of tort reform.”
(Montgomery County, PA, August 1999)
An HIV infected man has named a suburban developer in a lawsuit filed
against an adult bookstore. According
to the suit the plaintiff alleges that he was assaulted by two other men in a
private video booth at the store in 1993 and has contracted HIV as a result of
the attack. The plaintiff never
reported the incident to anyone. The
developer is only the landlord to the bookstore and has nothing to do with day
to day operations.
(Philadelphia, PA, August 1999) A
Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against a Delaware County hospital in a
“wrongful life” action filed by the family of a physician who had attempted
suicide. The doctor was found in
his office at the medical center the morning after he attempted to kill himself
with an overdose of several drugs. He
was unconscious but alive surrounded by suicide notes to friends and family.
Emergency room personnel resuscitated him, as they are required to under
the law. However the suicide victim
had signed a living will that calls for no extraordinary measures to preserve
his life. His family filed the
“wrongful life” lawsuit to secure funds for his care in his now disabled
(Bucks County, PA, August 1999) The father of a student of the William
Tennent High School has filed suit against the district for refusing to allow
his daughter to enter the 12th grade. The
girl had contracted Lyme disease during the last semester of the school year and
failed to meet attendance requirements. The
suit petitions the court to order the district to allow the child to enter the
Little Red Riding Hood and her parents should probably have known better
than to let the girl walk through the woods carrying enticing goodies while
wearing provocative red. After all
wolves live in the woods and they smell those things.
In Pennsylvania it could be her fault.
On the other hand we don’t allow wolves to roam our streets.
If the do they are captured and returned to their natural habitat where
There are two fairy tales in this story.
The first is Ms. Hood’s encounter with the wolf and the suit against
the hunter. The second is the
notion that there is no liability crisis in Pennsylvania.
Every day every Pennsylvanian that owns a home, a car or a business,
every professional that practices in the state, or who serves as an elected
official in local government, every citizen in the state who ever pays an
insurance premium has the liability wolf lurking at their door.
Paschall is senior commentator for the Lincoln Institute, a non-profit
educational foundation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Ó
Calvin-Graham Enterprises 1999. www.lincolninstitute.org
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