Gut Rumbles

April 27, 2004

we don't need no stinking tort reform

Naw. tort law in the United States is just fine, especially when it allows cases such as this one to proceed.

The family of a man killed when he crashed his motorcycle during a high-speed police chase is suing the city of Portland and two police officers.

The lawsuit claims the officers caused Brandon S. Hilbert's death by violating Portland city policy on police pursuits.

Well, that seems pretty cut-and-dried, doesn't it? Here we have an innocent young man, minding his own law-abiding business, when two rogue cops run him off the road and kill him. Of course, that's not exactly what happened.

In the chase, the officers tried to pull over Hilbert, but he did not stop and a chase ensued at speeds of up to 130 mph along Indiana 26.

Hilbert, whose drivers license was suspended and who did not have a motorcycle endorsement, crashed when he failed to make it around a curve, police said. He was dead at the scene about 40 miles northeast of Muncie.

It sounds to me as if young Mr. Hilbert bears a great deal of responsibility (in fact I would say ALL OF THE RESPONSIBILITY) for his own stupid death. He didn't have to be riding that motorcycle with no license. He didn't have to run from the cops at speeds up to 130 miles per hour. He didn't have to kill his damn fool self.

But he did. Yes, HE DID! Any blame for this accident belongs squarely in the lap of Brandon Hilbert. Brandon made series of poor choices and paid dearly for his mistakes. But they were HIS choices and HIS mistakes.

I feel sorry for his parents because I know that losing a child is a heartbreaking experience. But they won't bring Brandon back by suing the police department and attempting to profit from the young man's self-inflicted death is obscene to me.

Wouldn't this one be a good case for "loser pays?"

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