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My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

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  • My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

    We had a tragic house fire Christmas Eve that killed several family members in Stamford, Ct. The house was undergoing construction upgrades and the contractor did not have smoke alarms in working order. The same contractor is also the boyfriend of the woman whose family members died in the fire which was started when he placed fireplace ashes too close to the outside of the home.

    My common sense figured the contractor was responsible for the lack of working smoke detectors, and for placing those hot ashes too close to the home. My common sense is wrong! The City of Stamford is being sued for not conducting agressive inspections of the work being done on the home.

    I'm sure lawyers representing the surviving father of the three sister who died, suggested there was much more money to be recovered from the city than from the contractor at fault. I am bothered by the who string of events that led to this tragedy, including this final insult to the justice system. City inspectors could not possibly be expected to be on site to catch the nonworking smoke alarms or the improper disposal of the fireplace ashes. I have no doubt that the laywers representing the family will have any problem swaying the jury to make the city seem to have been at fault. I wonder if that contractor will feel any sense of relief if the city is found at fault? I wonder if he will actually believe his actions did not directly cause that loss of life?

    We are living is strange times. I can pay for drinks at a bar and then decide to drive my car and cause a crash, then have the nerve to blame the bar employees for not refusing to serve me. If individuals continue to shift blame for their bad decisions and actions to others, where does it end? Frank

  • #2
    Re: My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

    If it's the father of the victims suing, I don't see it as an individual trying to shift the blame. Rather, as you said, his lawyers are probably suggesting he follow the money. Why not, when you consider that they are probably working on a contingency (a percentage of any funds rewarded by the court). I remember a few years ago when structural engineers were opting out of insuring their work product under the assumption that if you don't have deep pockets, you won't get sued.

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    • #3
      Re: My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

      Frank,

      You are "right on" in your appraisal of this situation. Time and time again, it is the legal profession that suffers the failure to focus NOT on the true cause and culprits, but on the nearest connection with the biggest "pocket book". The contractor in this case is, in both our views, the one who is at fault. At least he should be charged and possibly lose his license (if he even has one)... but in truth, his negligence should at minimum bring him under "manslaughter" charges for his negligence, and it is his insurance company that needs to accept the financial liability... but then again, he may not have insurance.

      This is not too terribly different than the liability case brought against Ryobi, for the unguided and misuse of their table saw that resulted in the loss of a guy's fingers. But instead of the contractor being blamed, the case was directed at Ryobi and the SawStop folks (Cass) was brought in to testify as an "expert" in the case. (Yet it was the contractor and the contractor alone, who purchased and owned the Ryobi saw, had removed the safety apparatus from it and had failed to train and oversee the operation of it by an inexperienced victim that he alone had hired.) The whole case smacked of commercial enterprise and focusing to damage a credable company, stickly because of their ability to "pay"!

      But even on a local level, with every day things... it is "money" that drives the charges, or in some cases makes the charges, unworthy... because there is no "value" to be had in pursueing some lawbreaker who does NOT have the money to pay.

      We are also living in a time when our "right-wing" political influence is screaming that we want even less government controls, less inspections, less regulation, less support, less police, less code restrictions. While we all might well get upset by this kind of "not my fault" mentality... where will all this "less government" kind of thinking take us? We can't have it both ways. We can't blame the government and sue a city for their lack of code enforcement, when at the same time we aren't paying our taxes, or are wanting less taxes, or failing to tax those who can afford to pay for such regulation and oversight.

      Given the wishes of too many in our society, we are all on the verge of risk, when there will be no regulation, no license required, no inspections, no codes of compliance and absolutely no need for inforcement to meet rules that we have so willingly voted away. Society is only such, because of "codes" of behaviour. Some of those are written and some are just parented into our maturity as we learn to become adults. The latter has been failing for some time as we can all witness, the minute we step out into public.

      The former, requires "inforcement", but because we can't afford to have those people on our public payrolls, they too are fading fast. And the crux of the latter is that those who can afford to pay for that are spinning the propaganda that we working class and poor are "infringed upon" in our constitutional rights to "freedom". "Freedom" to do anything we want, without responsibility or fear of being held responsible.

      Thus, we have this kind of a problem... it isn't the contractor's fault... he's free to do whatever he needs to make money. It is the City's fault, because they are the "government" and regardless of how underfunded we want to make them, they are the focus of blame for everything in today's failing society.

      I can't remember the source of this quote or even if it is word for word, but it is as true today as it was a couple of hundred years ago, "Government does not exist because of our wants, but because of our wickedness!"

      CWS
      Last edited by CWSmith; 05-06-2012, 11:04 AM.

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      • #4
        Re: My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

        CWS, I agree with most of your post, but I think there are other things that need to be done in order to improve our society. I get the impression that in some areas government has grown too big or should I say to inefficient. When there exisits the kind of red tape laden, inefficient, and sometimes disconnected atmosphere we hear of regarding government, it makes me think it might be too big for it's own good. There is also the question of crime and punishment which I often see as crime and the avoidance of punishment. Legislators like President Clinton, Blogoyavitch, Sptizer, Schwarzennegger, to name just a few who disgraced their office and in some cases broke the law, it's upseting to see the lack of prosecution. At least two of those mentioned used government funds to transport women including prostitutes. The application of our justice system has failed to provide true justice from those in office and white collar criminals down to violent career criminals and those seeking to benefit from abuse of the legal system by way of frivolous lawsuits. Maybe we could get by with smaller government is some areas if we had a better legal system? I'm suggesting better, swifter punishment for those found guilty after a fair trail and one appeal. A end to revolving crime by a two strikes rule for more crimes. A cap on monetary awards and more harsh punishment for the guilty party to prevent future offenses. Imagine how much safer the public would be, how much less crowded the courts and jails would be if we could reduce repeat offenders? That would go for white collar criminals, professionals who take shortcuts and put lives at risk or worse as well as the violent criminals. We can't expect a bigger government to replace a legal system that works for the people rather than against them in favor of the rich, powerful and pathological. Frank

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        • #5
          Re: My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

          They are also suing the town because the contractor/boyfriend had lied to his insurance company about the scope of the work and how many employees he had. he filed a claim after the fire and the insurance company found out about his lies and the fact he put hot ashes in a plastic bucket next to the front door and told him to pound sand.

          The father knows that the guy has no money and wont even be getting any insurance money for the house so he is going after whoever he can to get paid.

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          • #6
            Re: My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

            It's all about the money. Until we make the lawyers that file these lawsuits responsible for the legal fees for the defendents if they loose they will keep on doing this. Because they know the defendents will settle for less than they think they will spend on legal fees.

            I was once sued for killing a burglar who indangered my life while trying to rob my business, even though I was not criminally charged with any crime. I still spent $20,000.00 in legal fees without ever going to court. No I did not settle out of court. I was prepared to spend whatever it cost, but I was not going to give that *%#&^@ family any money.

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            • #7
              Re: My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

              Originally posted by MR.FUDD View Post
              It's all about the money. Until we make the lawyers that file these lawsuits responsible for the legal fees for the defendents if they loose they will keep on doing this. Because they know the defendents will settle for less than they think they will spend on legal fees.

              I was once sued for killing a burglar who indangered my life while trying to rob my business, even though I was not criminally charged with any crime. I still spent $20,000.00 in legal fees without ever going to court. No I did not settle out of court. I was prepared to spend whatever it cost, but I was not going to give that *%#&^@ family any money.
              My neighbor is a retired detective and he said even justifyable homicide would cost you years of your life and a lot of money because of the courts. I admire your determination and fortitude in the face of a broken legal system which has evolved to give the guilty less of a hard time than the innocent. Glad you are here to tell the story, but the process needs to change!

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              • #8
                Re: My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

                I feel for the loss but the Parasite Lawyers are what is ruining society just as fast as the " RECREATIONAL DRUGS" that we are all told about. The Contractor, was happy to start the job for the money but wasnt happy to follow through with his responsibility. When are we going to take a stand and make individuals responsible for their actions. Over here when the going gets tough, get a better lawyer and go bankrupt. What a lesson to be teaching to our kids, our future. I know it is a little off track but our Olypic committeee is busy justifying sending an athlete who is a cheat and a spoiled sport to England because he has a good chance of Gold. He was found guilty, he was ordered to pay compensation, he was directed by his ambulance chaser to go bankrupt. Again responsibility. Matthew Newton, another fine example. His piece of trash lawyer argued that he would be deprived of a future acting overseas if he was convicted of beating up his girlfriends, yes they are younbg women. So what is he doing now????????. Thye say build four walls as high as you can, water-proof the inside and put all of the judges and lawyers inside then fill with water. What a good idea. You guys too, like us here have overpaid public servants afraid to do their jobs for fear of public perception. This contractor SHOULD own up to his responsibility. It will never bring back the lives of that beautiful family but it would speak miles for his character and reputation. I couldnt begin to imagine the hurt but I hope I would be MAN enough to take responsibility for my actions regardless.

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                • #9
                  Re: My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

                  Sorry guys I get a bit emotional when it comes to responsibility. I was raised by honest parents, do the crime do the time.

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                  • #10
                    Re: My Mistake, Someone Else At Fault

                    Originally posted by Cleanmen2 View Post
                    Sorry guys I get a bit emotional when it comes to responsibility. I was raised by honest parents, do the crime do the time.
                    You have nothing to be sorry about in my opinion. I think there are two kinds of people, those who want to have good lives and work to do the same for others, and those who only think of themselves and leave a trail of hurt and loss in their path. Frank

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