If he ran into my daughter at 11 he would be suing me for assult and the bodily injury's sustained there of and forthwith, here after referred to as the ass kicking recd post collison with my little girl.Jeff
This is sure rediculous in part of the doctor`s recouping his injuries . Hey Chatbrat , when you come back to Jersey , just bring your gun and not your inline skates -- you could be next as a deserter from our fine state . I too hope to see the poor doctor lose this one .
You have a power boat and a sail boat. which one has the right of way? The slower boat the sail boat.
You have a jet and and prop plane which has the right of way? The prop plane because it is slower.
You have a roller blader and a bike. which one has the right of way? The roller blader because they do not have brakes like the bike does.
The doc needs to have his ass kicked but good. The reason he thinks he had to have the right of way was becasue he was a DOCTOR. I don't care if he is a doctor, he should have used common sence and avoided the girl and let it go there after.
I would be willing to bet that the Ol'Doc sued the kid so he would possibly keep from geting sued himself in a case such as this ... I will also say that age has nothing to do with negligence and an 11 year old can be as negligent or more so than most (not all adults) grown ups and that opens the door for litigation, like it or not ... The biggest problem with a lot of kids now days is their parents stand ready to start kicking ass even if the kid is in the wrong which makes the kid feel like they are bullet proof and can do no wrong ... I'm just glad I wasn't raised that way because I could of gotten into all kinds of crap if I knew I wasn't going to have to be responsible for my actions ... Be careful when your going to kick someones ass when your kid might be to blame, because you might just get your ass kicked in front of your little Darling and how would that make you feel, let alone make your kid feel about being secure from then on ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
03/3/07 - Posted from the Daily Record newsroom
Area cyclists: Expect the 'unexpected' on the road
Doctor did the right thing in Chester Twp. mishap, some say
DAILY RECORD STAFF REPORT
A doctor suing a girl for allegedly moving into his path as he tried to pass her on his bicycle might simply have given her a wide berth, some bicyclists said this week.
Others said the doctor did the right thing by warning the girl of his presence but added that bicyclists should be wary whenever they pass a pedestrian, especially a child.
"If you're overtaking someone, you need to be prepared that they might do something unexpected,"said Liz Jennison, of Morristown, a safety coordinator for the Morris Area Freewheelers bicycle club.
Dr. Alexander Dlugi, a Chester Township fertility doctor, is suing a girl who was 11 at the time of an accident that occurred in 2003. A Morris County civil jury is expected to hear closing arguments in the trial on Monday.
The jury already has heard that Dlugi passed the girl once on Sugar Maple Row in Chester Township and was coming up from behind again when he rang his bell and yelled out for her to "watch out." In attempting to get out of the way, the girl allegedly moved into the bicyclist's path and they collided. She suffered bruises and the doctor suffered a broken collarbone.
"We were all talking about it in the shop," said Marty Epstein, owner of Marty's Reliable bicycle shop in Morristown. "They have wide roads in that area, so if some kid's rollerblading, you ring your bell and go around. You need to be prudent and cautious. ... You don't scream and holler and make a big deal out of it because that confuses the issue."
Most bicyclists said that they say a single phrase when passing a pedestrian or skater on the road or a bike path: "Passing on your left."
"I give a little whistle 50 yards back so they know I'm coming," said Brad Nelson, president of the Morris Area Freewheelers. "You really have to ride defensively."
Brendan Poh, general manager of Cycle Craft in Parsippany, said bicyclists passing pedestrians should be careful not to surprise them.
"You don't want to come up too fast and startle them," he said. "If they panic, they'll generally dive right in front of you. ... It's generally not a good idea to pass someone until you know the person heard you."
Epstein said state law requires bicycles to have some sort of device to make noise, such as a horn or a bell. He also said that he doesn't use the familiar "passing on your left"because he said that sometimes confuses pedestrians, causing them to move to the left instead of the right on narrow bike paths.
"You ring your bell, wait to see what happens, and slow to a crawl," Epstein said.
Jury clears girl in suit over bike-skate crash
Verdict reached after 15 minutes of deliberations
BY PEGGY WRIGHT
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
A Morris County civil jury deliberated just 15 minutes Monday before clearing a Chester Township teenager of negligence when she and a wealthy physician neighbor collided in 2003 while she was inline skating and he was bicycling.
Fertility specialist and township resident Dr. Alexander Dlugi, now 54, sued Lauren Ellis for pain, suffering and loss of income after they collided on Sugar Maple Row in Chester Township on Oct. 19, 2003, while out exercising. Ellis was 11 years old at the time. Today she is a 15-year-old freshman at West Morris-Mendham High School.
The jury of four men and three women announced a quick, unanimous verdict after listening to two hours of closing arguments and 1 1/2 hours of legal instructions from Superior Court Judge W. Hunt Dumont in Morristown. Dlugi was not present for the verdict and his attorney, Thomas Jardim, said he had medical procedures to perform.
Leo Redmond of Rockaway, a juror, said he found the girl's testimony more believable than the doctor's. He said he was surprised when called for jury duty last week to find that an adult doctor was suing a young girl.
"We thought at first it was the other way around," Redmond said.
Film producer's call
Ellis, who was accompanied to court by parents Jon and Janet Ellis, said her knowledge of courtrooms was exclusively from television shows like "Law and Order," but she wasn't daunted by the trial, which she called "interesting." She said she does limit skating these days to her own driveway. She said a few teachers and friends have asked her about the case, and one unusual call even came to her house from a German movie producer.
"It's made her more wary," her mother said. "We grew up in a different time," she started to say, when her husband interjected: "When accidents were accidents." The parents also were sued, but were dismissed from the case, and they chose not to counter-sue Dlugi, a married father of two.
The doctor's case
Dlugi, who currently serves as the medical director for the Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Bedminister, blamed the girl for causing the accident that left him with a fractured collarbone and injured right shoulder. His clavicle did not heal properly, so he underwent surgery months after the collision. He contends the mobility in his shoulder is limited, and that he cannot enjoy skiing, swimming and bike-riding as he once did, and cannot sleep comfortably on his right side.
The physician -- who earned $800,000 in 2004 and got $750,000 for half the sale of his former fertility practice -- also maintained that he deserved about $160,000 to cover income he lost recuperating from his injuries.
According to testimony, the doctor saw the girl skating ahead of him on Sugar Maple Row and paced her for about 400 feet before deciding to pass her. He said he rang his bell several times as he approached from behind and yelled "watch out" when she did not appear to hear him. The doctor contends the girl was negligent by drifting further into the center of the road as she skated, and that when she finally turned in response to his noises, she moved further into his path, causing the collision.
Ellis, meanwhile, said she heard the bell and the yell and turned to see Dlugi nearly atop her. Her lawyer, Joseph Accardi, told jurors that the girl was startled and naturally moved to get out of the bicycle's way but didn't succeed.
"She didn't do anything wrong. She's 11 years old -- 11 years old. She was rollerblading the way you're supposed to do it," Accardi told jurors.
Adult vs. child 'oddity'
Jardim, the doctor's lawyer, conceded it appeared to be "an oddity" that an adult was suing a child, but he said children under the law bear responsibility for their actions. He also wanted jurors to disregard Dlugi's prosperity, saying his wealth could not be taken into account when determining damages, if the girl was found to be at fault.
"It makes a great headline, doesn't it?" Jardim asked jurors. "Rich doctor sues little girl." He asked jurors to set aside the age difference and the doctor's wealth, and said he believed they would reach "the inescapable conclusion"-- which they didn't -- that the girl behaved unreasonably on the road.
Dlugi at the time of the accident was an owner of the Bedminster-based Center for Reproductive Endocrinology. He could not be reached after the verdict at home nor at the Sher Institute.
03/6/07 - Posted from the Daily Record newsroom Related Articles:
Jury clears girl in suit over bike-skate crash
Doctor's suit against girl an easy case for the jury
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
MORRISTOWN --The jury had been out all of 15 minutes when a court officer walked out to the hall outside the courtroom where a teenage girl was being sued by a prominent fertility doctor.
"We have a verdict,"he said, before anyone even had a chance to take a seat to wait for the verdict.
The deliberations late Monday afternoon, following closing arguments by attorneys, could have been timed with a stop watch. Jurors were asked to consider as many as six questions but were told to stop deliberating if they answered "no" to the first question.
The first question and only question they answered was whether Lauren Ellis, when she was 11 years old in 2003, was negligent when she collided with a bicycle being ridden by Alexander Dlugi, a fertility doctor and her neighbor in Chester Township. Ellis testified that she was rollerblading when she heard the doctor calling for her to get out of the way, and turned to see him waving his hands.
Startled, she moved the wrong way.
The doctor, who suffered a broken collar bone, called her afterward to make sure she didn't blame herself for the accident, according to testimony. That was a nice gesture. After all, the Ellises said they had been to his house on Easter. The doctor has two daughters and the Ellises said Lauren had, at times, played with them.
"He (Dlugi) said, 'Don't worry, Lauren, it wasn't your fault," Joe Accardi, Ellis' attorney, said during closing arguments. "He doesn't want her to have any psychological trauma. So he sues her instead."
That was one of the mysteries of this trial pitting a wealthy doctor against a now-15-year-old West Morris-Mendham High School student. Another mystery was how the case got this far. Lawyers used charts and photos to depict the positions of Dlugi on a bike and Ellis on rollerblades. They cited traffic statutes. They each spent close to an hour on closing statements.
"Folks," Superior Court Judge W. Hunt Dumont said at one point. "It's not that complicated a case."
Jurors, when they first walked into the courtroom, thought the teenager was suing the doctor. That's what Leo Redmond, of Rockaway one of the jurors, said after the case was over. The jurors were surprised when they were told it was the other way around, he said. He said jurors ultimately believed Lauren Ellis when she said she was rollerblading on the right side of the road when Dlugi came up from behind. They believed her when she said she was startled and not sure what to do as the doctor waved his hands.
"For an 11-year-old person, she did what any of us would have done when we were 11,"Redmond said.
'It was an accident'
Dlugi's attorney, Thomas Jardim, argued it wasn't that simple. He said Ellis had drifted to the middle of the road, so it wasn't easy for Dlugi to get around her. He rang his bell, rang it again and again, and finally called for her to "watch out."
Most bicyclists who ride where people are walking or rollerblading know to make sure pedestrians acknowledge them before trying to pass. Dlugi was less than 10 feet behind the girl when he realized the girl probably didn't know he was there, according to testimony.
"I just think it was an accident," Redmond said.
The doctor sued for pain and suffering, saying he suffered diminished enjoyment of bicycling and other athletic activities. He also sued for lost income. In 2004, when he had surgeries related to the accident, he made $800,000, according to testimony. He could have made a little more, he claimed in his lawsuit. As a result of his injuries, he claimed his business was worth less when he sold part of it a couple of years ago for $1.5 million.
"God bless him that he made this kind of money," Accardi said during closing arguments. "This is America."
Jardim argued that his client was wealthy enough to live in the same neighborhood as the Ellis family, and that a rich doctor suing a little girl made for splashy headlines.
"Except it doesn't tell the whole story, does it?" he said to the jury.
600 feet of sight
He asked the jury to try the case on the facts. He had, at one point out of earshot of the jury, said this was a classic case of someone darting out in front of a vehicle to cause an accident. The judge disagreed.
"She didn't dart out,"Dumont said from the bench. "She was in his line of sight for 600 feet, on a 22-foot wide road."
Jardim said his client tried to stop but that Ellis hit him on the side of the front tire and he went over the handlebars. He said the doctor didn't let go of the bike to break his fall because he didn't want his bicycle falling on the girl. That was another nice gesture.
But why was he so close to the girl before she acknowledged him, going fast enough to go over the handlebars?
Janet Ellis said her daughter had become "wary"because of the lawsuit, ever since she was served a summons shortly after celebrating her 12th birthday. Lauren said she no longer rollerblades in the street, only in her driveway. She said her classmates have been supportive. Maybe the trial was even a little educational. She said she has no desire for a career in law.
"I want to be a vet," she said.
She and the doctor had both become mini-celebrities this week, with a German TV producer calling the Ellises for an interview, the story getting some international play. Lauren had become a sympathetic figure. The doctor was not so fortunate.
"It's been difficult to go through," Janet Ellis said. "We grew up in a different time, when neighbors would help each other and not take 11-year-olds to court."
The doctor should have known this was a no-win case. Had he won, he might have received a little bit of money but he would still be the subject of jokes today. Maybe he believed he was fighting for a principle not many others could see. Redmond said it was quickly evident once deliberations began that jurors all were thinking the same thing. He said the doctor might have avoided the accident, but that neither party was negligent.
It was just an accident that never should have gone to court.
Come on folks, you're letting the print media pull you around by your short hairs. This has nothing to do with the doctor bringing suit. It's all about the insurance company trying to recoup $$$$s spent. If you dig into the case it appears that the Dr.'s insurer has a right of subrogation in his policy which gives them the ability to seek reimbursement from the girl's parents' homeowners insurer. So it is actually two insurance companies going at it. Interestingly, it has been pointed out to me that insurers evidently also insist on being allowed to bring these suits in the name of the insured, so like it or not, the good Dr. ends up as the public name and face on the suit, which at least somewhat reasonably, seeks to recoup some of the monies paid out to the Doc by his insurance company.
The fact is the doc didn't need to add his pain, suffering and loss of income to the suit.
IF, in fact, this is a subro case the doctor could have just let it go. Also, many policies, not sure about health ins, include a waiver of subro which is controlled by the insured, not the carrier. Different policy types have differing language as to when an insured may invoke the waiver.
Tom, THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE DOCTOR. What part of "If you dig into the case it appears that the Dr.'s insurer has a right of subrogation in his policy which gives them the ability to seek reimbursement from the girl's parents' homeowners insurer. So it is actually two insurance companies going at it. Interestingly, it has been pointed out to me that insurers evidently also insist on being allowed to bring these suits in the name of the insured, so like it or not, the good Dr. ends up as the public name and face on the suit, which at least somewhat reasonably, seeks to recoup some of the monies paid out to the Doc by his insurance company." didn't sink in?
Interesting concepts but all of your points are inaccurate, if not totally wrong. Although I’m betting that your primary point is correct and the Doc was in the wrong and will lose.
Boats, boats are always governed by US Coastguard navigation rules. Yes power boats must yield to sailboats but it has nothing to do with speed. All powerboats must yield to their port side. Overtaking is established by 1 or 2 blast of the horn, depending on which side you want to pass on.
Aircraft, I believe you’ll find that without a controlled airspace it’s based on type of craft not speed.
National park trails have signs to indicate who yields to whom, like this. Hikers yield to bikes and horses, bikers yield to horses. Your theory loses steam a little on this one because hikers are the slowest, yet are required to yield to all others. Again speed is not the issue.
I think where you’ll find a better argument to support, what I think is a correct conclusion is Ski area rules and educate and skating rink rules and educate both apply the same rule for “overtaking” it’s the person being overtaken that has the right of way and the person doing the overtaking is responsible to make the pass in a safe manner. I have skied for years and yes announcing “on your right” or “on your left” is a good idea, but if you hit the snowboarder when you’re passing, it’s your fault.
utah, I understand your point perfectly clear. Apparently you missed my point that a health insurer won't sue for pain, suffering and loss of income. This part is coming from the doctor. So in essence, IT IS ABOUT THE DOCTOR.
All the insurance company can subrogate is the expense involved in their claim.
Sorry, I started a post and got a phone call, then restarted not knowing that when I was changing windows I must have sent my first attempt a half hour prior. You don’t suppose that someone can bring a suit against me for this error, do you?
As for your assumption that the Doctor was the driving force behind the law suit because insurance companies “don’t sue for pain and suffering”, I’ve seen cases that would disprove your theory. Many times I’ve seen attorneys create a case of their own when plaintiffs simply want reimbursement for the expenses. In fact med pay on General Liability policies was created solely for the purpose of reducing that possibility. A close friend of mine was in an accident some years ago, as a passenger. His medical insurance paid their part but the drivers auto insurance refused to pay any of the out of pocket expenses approximately $6,000.00 worth. The medical insurance company made no attempt to subrogate and my pal was forced to go to an attorney about 2 weeks before the deadline to file. Once in the lawyers hands it was no longer about reimbursement and the settlement some 8 months later was in the area of $50,000.00. You can get a lawyer to argue your case, but you won’t get them to do so for nothing and none that I know will take a case if you’re asking them to leave money on the table.
I don’t know everything about this case. But my bet is that when the litigation was initiated by the Medical Insurance company, the Doctor (as a prudent person with that type of income should do) sought his own legal counsel and it was the decision of the attorney that decided on what the case was worth to him. But that’s only a guess. I really don’t think we can draw conclusions from what’s been posted on this site, especially in regard to the Doctors motivations, based on your theory.
During an ice storm here, a power line went down and onto a car. The power company was on the scene. A doctor (a surgeon, actually) came along and said he could extricate the woman in the car by winching her out with his brand new 4x4. The power company crew tried to talk him out of it, but he insisted he was going to do it anyway. He went down, and while hooking up to the car with the winch cable, burned one of his hands off.<br>
He sued the power company for negligence and won. A lot.<br>
I guess the doctor suing the little girl didn't have the right shyster.