The controversy: A pair of four-year-olds who knocked over an 87-year-old woman during a training wheel-assisted bicycle race are fair game to be sued for negligence, ruled a New York a judge last week. The woman suffered a broken hip in the 2009 incident and died of unrelated causes three months later. The judge has ruled that a "reasonably prudent" child of four could have "reasonably appreciated the danger of riding a bicycle into an elderly woman."
The reaction: This ruling "defies belief," says an editorial in the New York Daily News. Do we really want a judicial system which gives "credence to the most ludicrous claims imaginable"? This judge "needs a set of training wheels on his brain." As the mother of a five-year-old who "still believes in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy," says Paula Bernstein at Babble, I'm not sure that even an intelligent pre-schooler understands the ramifications of her actions. Nor should the deceased woman's estate be suing little kids for what was clearly a "freak accident." Even so, kids: "Consider yourself on notice," says John Del Signore at Gothamist. Might be time to put some of that birthday money into a "legal defense fund."