Every day life can be a struggle, but you never really expect to be burglarlized or robbed, even on a bad day. What you really do not expect, however, is to be robbed or burglarized and then sued once you do something about it that you thought was perfectly reasonable given the circumstances. However, in the United States, there are numerous examples of such things actually happening, from homeowners who shot the perpetrators to burglars who fell through some structure and got hurt and decided to later sue. Yeah, this stuff actually happens and you can’t make it up. There are five examples here that show just how ugly a situation can get. In these stories the following remains true each time:
- Homeowners are victims of burglary
- Perpetrators are injured in their attempt to burglarize or commit crimes
- Homeowners are sued by the burglars
Alleged burglar shot by homeowner sues
According to this report, a burglar who broke into a man’s garage filed a lawsuit after the homeowner shot him. Inestigators said David A. Bailey, of Albany, Indiana, broke into David McLaughlin’s garage in 2014. McLaughlin fired shots at the intruder he seen fleeing the property. Bailey was hit in the left arm while fleeing down the alleyway, according to the report. A Jay County Superior Court jury found McLaughlin guilty of criminal recklessness for shooting the burglar. He received a couple months jail time. Bailey’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against McLaughlin. The burglar maintained he never entered the property or intended to steal anything from there. A security system may have been helpful.
Burglar injured and sues after falling
In another tale of burglary then lawsuit, a 19-year-old was attempting to steal a skylight from a local high school gymnasium and he ended up falling though a skylight and getting severely injured in the process. The alleged burglar sued the school for damages, claiming they were responsible for the injuries sustained after the accident. The 19-year-old was awarded damages, setting off a wave of criticism around laws that allow for such lawsuits to proceeed.
A burglar fell through a skylight, and sued the owner of the skylight for his injuries. Bodine sued for $8 million (in 1984 dollars, about $16 million today) and settled for the nuisance sum of $260,000 plus $1200/month for life, about the equivalent of a million dollars in conservatively-estimated 2006 present value.
In other words, a burglar fell through a skylight, and blamed the skylight’s owners for his injuries; because the law permits such suits, and because the law does not compensate defendants for successful defenses, Bodine had the ability to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from taxpayers for injuries suffered in the course of his own criminal behavior.
-Ted Frank, Overlawyered
Burglar sues homeowner who returned gunfire
Another story consists of a 90-year-old homeowner who returned gunfire with a burglar, who then sued the homeowner afterward. The homeowner survived being shot in the jaw by the burglar, too. The burglar was even charged with two counts of attempted murder after the burglary, according to the report. The homeowner said he would countersue.
In another report, a man sued his boss after stealing from the company and getting fired. The boss found out and forced him to wear a humiliating sign that read that the man was a thief. He sued his boss for this.
If that story isn’t bizarre enough, a man who held several people hostage sued his captive for calling the cops even though they promised they wouldn’t.
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