Have a Nice Trip! The Slip-and-Fall Judge


If there’s a surefire way to get people outraged, it’s a lawsuit that asks for loads of money in damages. If the person is seen as someone who already holds some form of wealth and influence, then that outrage becomes even more apparent. The Daily News harnesses this “can you believe it?” attitude with its front-page exclusive on Brooklyn judge Jack Battaglia. Battaglia, a Supreme Court Justice, plans to file a $1 million suit against the city for a slip-and-fall case. The jurist fractured his knee last November when he fell in the Brooklyn courthouse and now walks with a cane.

The $1 million is not the only reason for readers to give a quick “WTF?” response when cruising the headlines. No, the funniest (or saddest, depending on how you look at it) part is how Battaglia is going about suing the city. The News reports:

In his Jan. 31 notice of claim, Battaglia accuses the city of “negligently using a mop bucket and wringer” and “negligently using a mop and soapy water” to create a “dangerous and hazardous traplike condition.”

On top of that, the judge is suing the janitor responsible for the puddle he slipped on. This is what really irks people. It seems to be an abuse of power, a classic Goliath vs. David story.

Further complicating the issue is that Battaglia is a sitting judge. City lawyers have asked that he no longer hear any similar cases against the city while this matter plays out. The News also points out that he has several ties to city Democratic bosses and that this comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed last week by judges across the state demanding a pay raise.

This is a classic water-cooler story, one I can picture my grandfather getting all het up about after reading it. Add a few puntastic headlines (the front page’s “JUDGE NAMED SUE” and page 5’s “JUDGE’S 1M PLAN TO SOAK THE CITY”) and something tells me we’ll be hearing about Battaglia in the weeks to come.