Shitty shrapnel shreds New Yorker to the tune of thirty stitches

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Porcelain has been handling the storing and serving needs of humanity for almost 2,000 years. We eat off of it. We store food in it. We cook in it. We drink out of it. We poop and pee in it. In order for porcelain to be so darned snappy at keeping some stuff in and other stuff out, it has to be practically nonporous. And when something is nonporous, it is usually also dangerously sharp and brittle when pushed to the breaking point.

New Yorker Michele Pierre found out just how sharp and brittle his porcelain toilet was at the beginning of this month when he flushed it after some plumbing work had been completed: It exploded, leaving him with head, arm, and leg-related lacerations that required 30 stitches to repair.

Earlier in the day, the water main had been shut off for the plumbing repairs in question, and a dangerous build up in pressure resulted. Four toilets in total exploded in Pierre’s building when he flushed. In response to the explosions, legal counsel Theresa Racht and Century Property Management president Mitchell Barry stated that there was “no negligence” on their part.

What, you say? You sleezes, right? Well, maybe not. Let us delve further into the sewers of humanity. Let us discuss ... law.

While Racht and Barry might come across as douchebags in their denial of responsibility, the devil is in the details regarding their ability to remain blameless. In Employment Law 101, one will encounter three types of relationships between an employer and an employee: the principal/agent, the employer/ordinary employee, and the contracting employer/independent contractor. In the contracting employer/independent contractor relationship, the employer has a limited oversight of the contractor because the contractor is usually hired to perform a specialized job, one to which he brings his own tools and performs a job that the employer does not have the technical ability to judge. Independent contractors remain in demand because it is more financially prudent to temporarily hire specialized employees than to keep them on a permanent retainer; rather, you hire a plumber because you do not know how to freaking plumb.

Why is this important? Because of the three types of employer/employee relationships, the contractor relationship is the only one where the doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply. Latin for “let the master answer,” respondeat superior states that employers are held responsible for their employees’ negligent or tortuous actions within the scope of employed duties while on the clock. Being specialists in their fields, contractors are the only ones capable of being responsible for their own actions within the employer/employee relationship, and because of this distinction, they stand on their own when they create a shitstorm.

Despite this salient point, Pierre’s attorney Sanford Rubenstein is choosing to hold the building management responsible instead of the plumbing contractors. Aside from the deep pockets theory, I have no idea why this is so. Then again, I am not a lawyer.

Legal issues are so full of crap.

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1 Comments on "Shitty shrapnel shreds New Yorker to the tune of thirty stitches"

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
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The main moral I am getting from this story is that if you rent a room from Racht and Barry you might be safer just hanging your ass out the window when nature calls. Of course that might open the pathway for litigation against you from any unlucky recipient of your ass dumpling bombardment. Looks like a loose loose situation.

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