June 17th, 2010

Empire State Bldg Jumper Loses Suit Over “Emotional Distress”

Do you remember Jeb Corliss? He’s the clown that tried to BASE jump off the Empire State Building in 2006, got busted by security, and then sued the building claiming emotional distress. I know, I know, that sounds even dumber than the claim of being fired for being too sexy, but it’s true, he actually did make such claims as I wrote about a year ago: Empire State Building v. Jeb Corliss.

Well, first he was convicted of reckless endangerment, and sentenced to three years probation and 100 hours of community service. Then his lawsuit for defamation — he claimed it was defamatory to claim his conduct was illegal, a concept that fell by the wayside upon his conviction — and his claim for emotional distress, were  tossed out.

Justice Jane Solomon wrote that “Preventing an individual from jumping off of the 86th floor of the Empire State Building is neither extreme nor outrageous,” (h/t Overlawyered).

And just to make sure he got the point, the judge also banned him from ever setting foot in the building again. Why do that? Presumably so that if he tries again, and again endangers the lives of the pedestrians on the street below, a future judge can add contempt of court to the charges that he will face.

He was also fired from his job as host of the show Stunt Junkies.  And the Empire State Building’s lawsuit against him for disrupting its business will be allowed to go forward, meaning that he might stand to lose a pretty penny in cold, hard cash when this is all over. Unlike the overwhelming majority of injury cases, it’s  rather unlikely that there is an insurance company standing there beside Corliss for  his intentional act.

Was all the publicity worth it?

Maybe he can commiserate with ‘too sexy’ banker Debrahlee Lorenzana who is now the laughing stock of New York (because with two wars, a crappy economy and a massive oil spill, we need something to laugh about). They’d make a great couple in the never-ending pursuit of celebrity. They could even make babies together: Imagine the offspring of a dipsy banker and a brainless stunt junkie. I know there’s a joke in here waiting to get out, but I can’t really top what the two of them have already accomplished, and besides, their abuse of our court system saddens me too much.

You see, when people go into the courthouse for “regular” lawsuits over real wrongs and real injuries, it is the high-profile nonsense that jurors will have have read about. It’s the nonsense lawsuits — the outliers — that get all the attention, and they get it for just that reason, they are outliers. And that taints the jurors’ perceptions of the justice system, and makes everyone more cynical about how our judicial system operates.

Jeb Corliss and Debrahlee Lorenzana may have made fools of themselves,but they have hurt others who actually need access to the courts.


February 6th, 2008

Empire State Building v. Jeb Corliss

If the name Jeb Corliss doesn’t ring a bell, he is the guy who got busted trying to parachute off the Empire State Building in July 2006. He was caught right away and arrested. The reckless endangerment charge was dismissed (currently on appeal), and he now brings an action for intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation. For background, see Marc Randazza’s two posts on the subject:
Jeb Corliss Sues Empire State Building and Jeb Corliss Lawsuit Update (with video).

Jeb Corliss, it seems, is a moron of the first degree. Either that or he is such a publicity hound that he knows bringing a stupid lawsuit will simply bring him more publicity, and any publicity is good publicity.

The essence of his argument seems to be that he is an experienced BASE jumper and knows what he is doing and therefore won’t get killed doing it and won’t land in traffic. Well jolly good for all that.

But he isn’t the only one in the City of New York, and there just might be a few people walking down below near this spectacular landmark building that are stunned at the sight of a man parachuting down into one of the busiest places in Manhattan, and that they just might take their eyes off the taxis, busses and other vehicles flying by as they cross the street. Worse yet, he could be seen by someone actually driving one of those vehicles who would be, and this isn’t exactly a surprise, severely distracted.

Now I once saw a guy parachute unexpectedly into a high profile event, so I have a perspective on ground reactions to such a thing: In Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at Shea Stadium, Michael Sergio floated down out of the sky onto the field. And the crowd, myself included, was pointing and roaring while he was still hundreds of feet off the ground. Let’s just say he had everyone’s absolute and undivided attention.

Great stunt. Now picture that with moving vehicles on the street below. All of a sudden, not such a great stunt. Dumb stunt. Dangerous stunt. The kind of stunt where pedestrians can get inadvertently run down by large moving vehicles.

This clown doesn’t want me on the jury regarding his lawsuit. In my view, the police and security were well within their rights to do most anything humanly possible to stop him from creating a dangerous condition on the ground. The idea that they demonstrated “extreme and outrageous conduct,” as required under New York law to bring a suit for intentional infliction of emotional distress, will most surely fail. (And the idea that a BASE jumper actually suffered emotional distress from the experience is too stupid to be believed.)

He’s suing for the intentional infliction of emotional distress after planning this stunt, he says, for two years. Frankly, I think the guards that stopped him have a better claim against him.