Friday, December 18, 2015
Judge Mablean: It's Reasonable to Mace Somebody Without Provocation
Today's episode was an old episode from 2014 called "Gym Woes/A Grave Situation." I have to admit that I was completely unimpressed by her ruling in the first case. (I turned the channel once the second case began!)
Here is the summary: The plaintiff and the defendant both live in the same building in some large city. There is a gym in the building. The lighting within the gym is on a timer. You set the lights for a certain amount of time and once your time runs out, the room goes dark.
The plaintiff (a male) was exercising for a half-hour at 6:00 AM. The lights went off after thirty minutes. He wanted to continue exercising for another 10-15 minutes so he went to turn the lights back on.
As he approached the lights, the defendant (a woman) entered the room for her morning work-out. She saw the plaintiff approaching to turn on the light and immediately maced him. He ended up having an asthma attack. She ran to the building manager's office and called 911. He went to the hospital for treatment and ended up missing two days of work (it was an out-of-town job and he missed his flight) because of her mace-attack and because of the subsequent medical treatment.
He didn't sue her for any of his medical treatment, nor did he sue her for pain or suffering. He sued her for $600 for the missed work.
She claimed that she is from a suburb of Des Moines and that she was new to the big city and her father told her to watch out for rapists. She claimed that she was fearful of the man in the darkened room and immediately and preemptively defended herself from a hypothetical attack.
She won the case. Judge Mablean said that her response was reasonable. She implied that the plaintiff deserved to get maced because of the woman's fear. She said that she could not order the defendant to pay for any of the plaintiff's losses, but she could gently encourage her to help him out. Of course, Ms. Des Moines said that she had no intention of giving the maced man one penny.
Judge Mablean gave anyone permission to mace or otherwise attack anyone else in that building's gym. No questions asked. It doesn't matter if you are walking towards a light-switch and doing nothing else, you can be maced without recourse.
If I were the plaintiff, I might consult with an attorney and see if I have a case against the building management. Whose bright idea was it to install a timer-based lighting system in the public gym. Especially if others are now free to assault you without provocation if you happen to mistime your workout with the light-timer?