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Lawsuit Over Web Site Info

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I know that your opinions are not legal advise, but here goes.

 

I have a site that helps people fix their own tvs. An individual has (aparently) read one of my pages to adjust the focus on his set. He claims, in his words...

 

"I got severly electrocuted"

 

And now he is going to have his lawyer contact me. bla bla bla

I'm not overly concerned as I have never had any contact , financial or otherwise with this person. And my site never told him to stick any body part into a spot where there is dangerous voltage.

My question is ..

 

If he is in state "A" and I am in state "B", where does he file?

 

Thanks

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True, I'm not a lawyer. But...

I'd think he'd file in the state where the injury occurred. I can't see him filing in another state when he was hurt in his. Laws are funny animals and people win things all the time that I'd never think possible, but I would guess you are in the clear. Best wishes and if he does file, definitely get a lawyer.

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First do you have any disclaimers on your site...

I am not responsible for any damage you may cause by using this site...
Be very careful, electricity may be dangerous to your health...

and so on.

 

Next, if the only thing you have is a threat from and individual, ignore it. It needs to come from a lawyer or the courts.

 

And I believe it must be filed in the state where the company is registered (if you have a company or business) or the state where you reside if they sue you personally, if filed in another state it can only be inforced if you travel to that state. But I am not a lawyer and someone will jump in and correct me if I am wrong :)

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"I got severly electrocuted"
I seriously doubt this, how did he write if he's dead?

 

From h_tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_shock:

When (and only when) an electric shock is fatal, it is called electrocution.

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He got electrocuted by trying to adjust his set while looking at a page on your web site? :eek:

 

Last time I checked, most monitors (I'm assuming it's a monitor) have warning labels about high voltages present. Then I would ask the question "What is he doing in someplace where he has no experience?"

 

Sounds like a scam artist to me! :) Let us know what (if anything) happens...this should be interesting!

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well you see, as stupid as poking a screwdriver in a live TV is, peopel will do it.

 

there was allegedly a story about a mobile home (camper van) where the guy set cruise control and went in the back for a cup of tea/coffee, the truck crashed and he claimed, wnd won.. now the manuals state that the cruise control is not "auto pilot" i dont know if this story is an urban myth bt it shows that the law is an I AM A SPAMMER!

 

or in the uk, a one i KNOW is true is where a burglar was unlawfully in a property commiting a crime got injured by breaking glass, he sucsessfully sued the homeowner despite being unlawfully at the scene of the incident!

 

of course back on topic.. any site that has sugestions or tutorials should carry a disclaimer, as it always a good idea

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Kind of like the lady here in the US who went to McDonald's and ordered a coffee. She put the coffee cup IN HER LAP, left the restaurant, and got into an accident. Needless to say, the coffee spilled. She sued McDonald's saying the coffee was hot (duh!). The sad part is she won.

 

What some people will sue over make one's head spin.

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I'm fairly sure that McDonalds one was overturned in appeal. Many stupid ones are, we just don't get to hear about them.

 

Just keep a record of any contact you have from this guy, write down everything he says, times, etc. CYA is always the best policy.

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I found this. It is very specific and may not apply to electrocutions not resulting in death ;) but it may be similar in other cases:

For civil cases, venue is usually the district or county where a defendant resides, where a contract was executed or is to be performed, or where an accident took place. In Nebraska, if all of the defendants live outside the state, venue is appropriate in any county in Nebraska.
Also remember that in some cases, disclaimers don't exempt you from liability. Again, check with a lawyer.

 

As far as Mr. Grazinski suing Winnebago for unclear cruise control instructions, Snopes identifies it as an urban legend.

 

The McDonald's case was appealed but both parties settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Here's where the news burns me up (no pun intended)... we all heard about it but did we hear from the news people that

Liebeck was taken to the hospital, where it was determined that she had suffered third-degree burns on six percent of her skin (some sources say sixteen percent). She remained in the hospital for eight days while she underwent skin grafting. Two years of treatment followed.

 

Now, it sounds stupid that she'd win, but considering the temperature the coffee must have been changes the whole discussion. I hate when news conveniently leaves out facts to make it more sensational. I realize you folks didn't know this - I'm only blaming the news people for "selective reporting". By the way, the lady only wanted $20,000 to cover medical but McDonalds was only willing to go $800. Thus she sued.

 

Oh, and she wasn't driving either. :)

 

Read about the whole thing at this Wikipedia article.

 

Laws are confusing, complicated and at times flakey, that's why we need lawyers to protect us. (Now, isn't THAT a scary thought!) :huh:

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All I know is that I was a manager at a local McDonald's at the time and they came out and made us warn each customer who ordered coffee or hot chocolate that the ingredients were hot.

 

Maybe I should have warned each customer who ordered a coke that the ingredients were cold! :P

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... And my site never told him to stick any body part into a spot where there is dangerous voltage.

 

Having now spoken with this man, is there any particilar part of his body that you would have him place where there is dangerous voltage?

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All I know is that I was a manager at a local McDonald's at the time and they came out and made us warn each customer who ordered coffee or hot chocolate that the ingredients were hot.

Did you warn them that french fries were french or apple pies were apple? If it's part of the name it should be obvious! :) (I know they're not french!)

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Oui!

 

Seriously, I hope this scammer doesn't get a dime from anyone.

Edited by stevevan

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Not a lawyer -- but you're allowed to write whatever you want online. For example, people can write about banned supplements, pills, etc and stir up controversy about the FDA preventing sick people from getting the homeopathic medicine that will "cure" them... and be totally safe. But it's another thing entirely to sell the homeopathic pills and advertise them as a cure for XYZ.

 

Another example, if you live in Las Vegas and I instruct you to "drive to Los Angeles in one hour" and that means you would have to break the speed limit to do so, then I'm still not liable for your actions even though you followed my advice.

 

That said, you should have disclaimers all over your site.

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Surefire,

 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

 

There is a law on the books that is referred to as deliberate indifference. It basiclly says that if you cause injury or death to a person and you could have prevented such by not giving incorrect or false pretenses then you are guilty of a crime.

 

Does this law apply to the internet? Sure does....

 

There was a case in New Jersey where a web site disclosed specific instructions on a specfic crime. The web site indicated clearly on the site that the site was for informational use only. However, a teen followed the advice and was killed using the instructions posted on the site. The lawsuit was filled by the parents and the court settled in their favor and stated the "deliberate indifference" statues. The case is currently under appeal.

 

Bill

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Besides, if California can sue car manufacturers because of costs incurred by them being inefficient and environmentally unfriendly, they can sue the original poster. Whether they win or not is a different issue, but it costs money to find out ;)

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Looks like I'm running a risk of being sued for giving bad advice myself.

 

;)

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A close relative of mine was sued by "a good friend" because he was severely injured on my relative's property. The "friend" entered the premises when no one was home, admitted using the equipment improperly because he was not trained to use it. The "friend" had been warned against using it by my relative with other people around to hear the warning! The "friend" sued the company that built the equipment claiming that it did not have a warning on it saying severe injuries could result with improper use. :blush: After almost 2 years, deposition, legal fees and time off work that my relative had to endure, the case against my relative was dropped but the case against the company finally got a 5 figure settlement. My relative did not press charges for illegal entry to the property or buildings because the person involved was hurt badly.

 

Moral: Can't outlaw stupidity. Can't prevent stupid people from trying stupid things even when they have been warned not to do it. And when they get hurt, they blame others. Any instruction, any advice, any product should carry a "stupidity" clause to protect the company.

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That's why comedian Bill Engvall has all of his "Here's your sign" material!

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