GateHouse — (Transcript: Opening arguments for the defense.)
Thank you, your honor.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you are going to hear a lot of things today. You are going to hear persistent, and I believe unreasonable, excuses why you and your jurisprudence shouldn’t even be here. You’re going to hear piffling, tissue-thin arguments like, “But this is a common sidewalk accident,” and “But this happened nearly two years ago,” and “But the defendant is 4 years old, and her friend, who is also being sued, is equally 4 years old, and what kind of amoral overcontentious nut job sues 4-year-olds?” and “But the defendant is only answering questions in dialogue from ‘How To Train Your Dragon.'”
You’re going to hear these excuses a lot, and they’ll probably be followed by contemptuous snickering, mostly by everyone you meet, for the rest of your life. But I want you to remain focused on the task at hand: Administering a piping hot, 24-oz. prime cut of American Justice, in this case to a defendant who cannot yet properly operate a fork.
Ladies and gentlemen, the case at hand, Huggable Besties vs. the estate of Litigious Crankwald IV, is about one thing: children, and bicycles. And sidewalks. And old people. Ladies and gentlemen, the case at hand is about four things. And it is about how those four things should not ever come into contact, because children should not be riding bikes on sidewalks, because sidewalks should be used only for their intended dual purposes of walking and public urination. Children should ride bicycles where they’re supposed to ride bicycles: on the streets of Manhattan. Or in space, when E.T. is here.
And yet none of us would be here were it not for the stout-hearted, flame-broiled foresight of Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, who ruled that a lawsuit brought against a 4-year-old girl, her 4-year-old friend and her parents should be allowed to proceed, citing precedents from as far back as 1928, when bicycles were invented. The suit alleges that the children were racing bicycles on East 52nd and ran into an 87-year-old woman, who was “seriously and severely injured” and suffered a hip fracture. According to the New York Times, she died three months later “of unrelated causes.” You can see how her estate, given the circumstances, had little recourse but to sue toddlers.
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As such I want you to see the defendants not as people but beings with an early but established sense of ethics, beings who know the difference between right and wrong, even if they’re occasionally confused by the difference between right and left.
Now, many people will tell you that because the defendant is 4 that she deserves your mercy, your patience and, if she gets tired, your boxes of juice. But our Constitution demands you give none of these things, because people who are 4 are people, and as such they must be held liable for a large sum of money when accidents happen.
Because what this case is really about, ladies and gentlemen, is sidewalks, and who should use them. It’s certainly not children. It’s certainly not old people wait, she was 87 years old? What the hell was she doing on a sidewalk? She was 87 years old! That is outrageous. Your honor, I’d like to begin the process of suing all 87-year-old walkers, effective immediately.