I write in response to the ill-informed and belittling editorial, “Communities Can’t Warn of Every Hazard,” which appeared in the Observer-Reporter March 21 and criticizes claims filed by a state constable severely injured during the course of apprehending an individual.
While, as the attorney of plaintiff G. Scott Lucy, I am constrained by the Rules of Professional Conduct to fully comment here, may I suggest that when or if you editorialize on matters of tort law and pass judgment on the merits of civil litigation, you should, at the very least, 1) learn all the facts 2) consult a dictionary, preferably a legal dictionary, to define terms like accident (an unforeseen, unexpected event) and 3) study the safeguards provided to all citizens by the U.S. legal system. Then hopefully you will show a modicum of respect for the Seventh Amendment rights of Lucy and others like him who are seriously harmed through no fault of their own and then choose to exercise their constitutionally-protected right to seek redress in our courts against wrongdoers.
Instead of reporting the facts, you have effectively usurped the function of the judge and jury in our civil justice system. Had you bothered to inquire, you would have found that the culvert in Lucy’s case was not a natural part of the landscape. The Borough of Centerville constructed the culvert, but for reasons we presently don’t know, but will learn soon in discovery, a grate was not placed over the man-made drain, at least not as of the day Lucy was injured. Is that “no one’s fault” as you suggest? Would it be “no one’s fault” if you fell into the drain or sewer system near the Observer-Reporter because the grate or manhole cover had been removed or never installed?
Some might say that your editorial amounts to jury tampering. I would argue that irresponsible and inaccurate statements have prejudiced Lucy’s ability to receive a fair trial in this county. And for that – to quote your editorial – you should be “sent packing.”
Stephen P. Moschetta