No Good Deed Goes Unpunishedposted by Mike at 2/07/2005 11:23:00 AM
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Two teenage girls who surprised their neighbors with homemade cookies late one night were ordered to pay nearly $900 in medical bills for a woman who says she was so startled that she had to go to the hospital.
The teenagers' families offered to pay Young's medical bills, but she declined and sued, saying their apologies were not sincere and were not offered in person.
[The neighbor] said, "[...] I just hope the girls learned a lesson."
Evidently that's not enough for her husband, though, according to the Durango Times:
Richard Ostergaard [the father of one of the teens] obtained a temporary restraining order against Young's husband, Herb, on Friday to stop what he said were harassing telephone calls.
About WHAT? "Dude, those cookies sucked." Five minutes later. "They couldn't have put some frosting on them?" Twenty minutes later. "Man, dem girls of yours *crunch* better not *crunch crunch* bother my wife no more."
What I really fail to understand, though, is what the f—k the La Plata County, Colorado government was doing here.
Three La Plata County sheriff's deputies who arrived about 11 p.m. in response to Young's call discovered the cookies and note. The deputies suggested she spend the night away from the house.
For the record, the note can be described as follows:
They made packages with a half-dozen cookies each and added large red or pink construction-paper hearts that carried the message, "Have a great night." The notes were signed with their first initials: "Love, The T and L Club."
[S]he vomited and felt pressure in her chest that to her suggested a heart attack. The next day, Young went to the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center, where doctors determined that she had suffered an anxiety attack. Medical bills ran her more than $1,400.
Not only does it sound as if the neighbor, Wanita Renea Young, has a verifiable mental condition (she even sought punitive damages, for Christ's sake), I have to wonder exactly how moronic La Plata County Small Claims Court judge Doug Walker had to be in order to hand down any sort of ruling against the girls.
He should have said, "Lady, I'm sorry you have an anxiety disorder. But that is not the fault of these girls, who did a kind gesture for you with absolutely no malice aforethought. Your reaction to it is not their fault and in no way could be predicted by them or any right-thinking individual. If you want, the court can assist you in finding free counseling for your condition."
Let's be clear about something: I have sympathy for anyone who is so mentally screwed up that someone knocking on a door and dropping off a plate of cookies comes across to them as a malicious act, and I hope that Young gets the help she needs.
What I can't get over is how the county bureaucracy there endorsed, sanctioned, and sided with her paranoia.