Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Judge Judy - Custom bicycle

This Judge Judy clip is only tangentially related to Illinois Bicycle Law in that the case involves two NYC bike messengers. However, the legal principles at issue are analagous to Illinois laws and for some reason I found the case about a stolen bike very entertaining and wanted to share the clip.

Judge Judy gets it right: it doesn't matter if the bike taker wasn't negligent in the bike getting stolen. The bottom line is the bike was taken without permission and the bike taker is responsible. The bike taker makes the best case he could by arguing he wasn't negligent in the handling of the bike. But he did take the bike without permission and based on that the trier of fact (Judge Judy) found the bike taker liable.

The bike taker should have spent more time arguing that the bike was not worth $3,500.00. This is the idea of legal "damages," what you have lost as a result of someone else's action. As the plaintiff you have the burden of proving your damages. In personal injury cases you can have damages for your medical bills (past, present and future), disfigurement, disability, pain and suffering and loss of a normal life. In a real case the submission of your damages as evidence is often much more complicated that forwarding a handwritten estimate to the judge.