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Too young to be sued?

Although the age at which a child becomes capable of negligence was brought into question, a N.Y. judge has ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against a 4-year-old.

According to The New York Times, 4-year-old Juliet was racing her bicycle against another child, when the pair struck an elderly woman. The 87-year-old suffered a broken hip that required surgery. She died three weeks later.

The woman’s estate sued the two children and their mothers, who were present at the time of the incident, for negligence. Juliet’s lawyer argued that she was too young to be held liable, and sought to have the case against her dismissed.

Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan rejected the motion. Citing a case from 1928, he wrote, “infants under the age of 4 are conclusively presumed incapable of negligence. Juliet, however, was over the age of 4 at the time of the subject incident. For infants above the age of 4, there is no bright-line rule.”


  1. ridiculous ruling. while the parents may have some responsibility (but I really don’t see how), the child should have none.

    This is nuts

  2. The 87 y/o lady fell and broke her hip and she died as a direct result of this 3 weeks later. The case was brought by her estate against BOTH mothers as well as their two children.
    This has nothing to do with the children being punishable in a court of law and really was an attempt to squash the case against the mothers who were responsible for the actions of their kids. The lawyer for her estate was probably not all that astute in including the kids in their case against the mothers – that is all. The judge recognized their mistake and found a loophole to prevent the defense from having the case dropped on an irrelevant technicality and is to be applauded for seeing through a smokescreen and finding a way of ignoring it.
    Don’t believe everything you read – you never know what info may have been left out that changes the whole story.

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