East Texas Ninjas

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Also known as Alamo v. Howard, this case was reported in East Texas Trial Reports in October.  The report is definitely worth a read but here’s a quick summary.

The underlying facts involved some ninja training that Joshua Christian Alamo (a suspiciously Texan name) and Daniel Howard were conducting at the home of Howard’s grandmother, Betty French.  (Grandma’s house is the best place to train your ninjas, since it’s the last place the enemy would think you’d be training them).  Alamo and Howard, both in their early 20s, "claimed to be serious ninjas and experts in the field of marshall [sic] arts and had plans some day to open a school for ninja training. One of their exercises involved throwing a tire up on the roof of the house and catching the tire when it rolled down," a crucial ninja skill if your enemy is known to strike by rolling tires down on you after warning you they’re coming.  The training tire got stuck and Alamo went up to get it.  Then, he claimed, "Defendant got into some kind of a rage" and started shooting at him with a dart gun.

Plaintiff claimed he was injured when he fell or jumped from the roof to avoid the darting and broke his ankle.  He initially claimed the roof was defective (evidently it should have been designed to support ninja training) but later dropped that claim.

Defendant disputed that he had any role in the injury and said he did not have a dart gun at all, but was rather "role playing" with a BB gun that was broken anyway.  His theory at trial, according to the report, was that both Plaintiff and Defendant were "a couple of knuckleheads out playing around and essentially got what they deserved."

Ultimately, the jury "placed 80% negligence on the Plaintiff ninja and 20% on the Defendant ninja," but awarded $0 damages.  The verdict was unanimous but the jury did have to deliberate for about an hour, which I assume means they were eating lunch.  Plaintiff thus did not recover his $53,000 in medical expenses or the $17,000 in wages lost from his job as a security guard at a topless bar.  The report mentioned photographs used at trial but unfortunately not reproduced in the report, which showed the parties "dressed in the ninja garb"; one picture allegedly showed Plaintiff leaping from the roof the day before the incident.

Claims against Defendant ninja’s grandmother were dismissed prior to trial.

Link: Alamo v. Howard, No. 366-01036-05 (Collin County, TX, Oct. 2, 2006)
Link: East Texas Trial Reports