It Was the Curb’s Fault [Updated]

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From a Courthouse News summary of a case recently filed in San Francisco, including a sentence presumably taken from the complaint:

Paulina H. v. Flyers Energy LLC et al., CGC-12-525132 (S.F. Superior Ct. filed Oct. 15, 2012)

Trip and fall. The unmarked raised curb on the sidewalk disrupted the motion of plaintiff's foot.

Sure, you could write "plaintiff tripped on the curb," but that almost makes it sound like it might have been plaintiff's fault. Writing instead that "the curb disrupted the motion of plaintiff's foot" makes it clear that the curb was the bad actor here.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, on the day in question my client was simply moving one of her feet—which it's undisputed she was fully entitled to do— when the curb, which had been lurking in a suitable position for some time waiting for just such an opportunity, suddenly and maliciously disrupted the motion of my client's foot, much to her detriment."

The curb's co-defendant, Gravity, settled before trial.

Update: A reader sent in a great example of this in another profession: According to this New York Times report, things like sponges and clamps that end up still inside a patient's body after an operation are "known in the medical world" as "retained surgical items."

Sounds like you patients should be ashamed of yourselves for just walking off with the hospital's stuff. No wonder we have such trouble controlling health-care costs.