Stella Awards. . .
Scott Anthony Gomez Jr, 22, was an inmate at the Pueblo County, Colo., jail. He escaped from his cell, made it to the roof ...and fell 40 feet while trying to climb down the outside wall. It was his second escape, but this one cost the county $64,000 to treat the injuries Gomez caused himself. When the county asked him to pay for the medical treatment, Gomez replied by suing in federal court in Denver. The basis? "Defendants ... did next to nothing to ensure that the jail was secure and the plaintiff could not escape," the suit says, and he says he had warned jailers that "there were many ways to get out of the facility." That's right: it was the jail's fault he escaped, because it was too easy. And therefore any injuries he sustained should be paid for by the county. Surely a bit of "pain and suffering" would be welcome too -- the suit doesn't specified the monetary damages he wants. Gomez's attorney had no comment, but Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor did: he says the suit "doesn't pass the straight-face test." The county has spent $1.2 million for security improvements, and there have been no more escapes -- by Gomez or anyone else. STATUS: Apparently still pending. SOURCE: "Prisoner's Lawsuit Says it Was Too Easy to Escape", Los Angeles Times, 13 January 2008 http://StellaAwards.com/cgi-bin/redirect2.pl?101
JUMP SUITS ARE ALL THE FASHION
Jeb Corliss, 31, was grabbed just as he tried to jump off New York's Empire State Building in 2006. He wasn't suicidal: he had a parachute. In addition to being charged with reckless endangerment with "depraved indifference to life" (which made it a felony), the Empire State Building Company sued him for $12 million for endangering bystanders and, I would assume, for exposing them to liability (the Company said it wanted to discourage others from trying a similar stunt). They also accused Corliss of having financial motivations. That's not Stella Awards-worthy, though; this is: in January Corliss counter-sued the Empire State Building Company in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, charging that restraining him from jumping was "unlawful imprisonment," which caused him "emotional distress" as well as "adrenal fatigue" ("very similar to battle fatigue syndrome," he said), which led to loss of income. For all of that, he demands $30 million. Meanwhile, his felony charge was thrown out by a judge, but an appeals court reinstated the reckless endangerment charge as a misdemeanor, ruling the "depraved indifference to life" bit was overdone, but certainly jumping off a building could endanger others. "No one was in any danger of being injured except me," Corliss complains. STATUS: Apparently still pending.
SOURCES: 1) "Would-Be Jumper Sues Empire State Building", New York Times, 15 January 2008 http://StellaAwards.com/cgi-bin/redirect2.pl?102 2) "Bid to Jump Off 86th Floor Was Illegal, Court Rules", New York Times, 5 March 2008. (This one's particularly interesting, even amusing.) http://StellaAwards.com/cgi-bin/redirect2.pl?103