Fiat Justitia

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Bwog informant “please remove my name” forwarded us an email from one litigious young graduate who slipped and fell in front of the library a few years ago. Naturally, she’s suing Columbia and currently in the midst of trying to amass other slip victims to stregnthen her case. It is, after all, the American way.

However, she’s having trouble finding and getting in touch with fellow accident veterans, but she’s positive they exist — she’s even witnessed someone else slip in front of Butler as she was waiting for her own ambulance. “In our discovery claim against Columbia, they claimed there have been no previous reported complaints, falls, or injuries in that area, which I find very difficult to believe.”

Full letter (personal information redacted) after the jump. 

Dear fellow classmates,

I am a Columbia grad (class of ‘07) and in December of 2004 I slipped and fell on Columbia’s brick sidewalk right outside the Butler library, breaking my knee.  I am involved in a lawsuit with Columbia right now, but my case would be stronger if I had records or reports of other students who have experienced a fall or injury in that area.  I know for a fact that others have fallen in that area (someone else fell while I was waiting for my ambulance), and I have heard of, but been unable to locate, others who have injured themselves in that area and have had “sealed” settlements.

In our discovery claim against Columbia, they claimed there have been no previous reported complaints, falls, or injuries in that area, which I find very difficult to believe.  If you or someone you know has previously filed a complaint about the safety of the sidewalks outside of Butler, or if you know of anyone who has been involved in a similar suit (even if their case has been sealed as a condition of settlement), it would be extremely helpful to me to have any information you can provide.

I am to have a settlement offer conference soon, so this is time sensitive.  I am not looking to press a frivolous lawsuit, I will have ongoing pain and complications related to my knee injury, and I find it infuriating that Columbia refuses to even acknowledge that there is a problem, let alone take action to prevent future classmates from being injured.

If you know of anyone who may have helpful information, please contact me at [redacted]. My UNI was [redacted].  Even if you don’t contact me, if you ever should fall at the campus, please take the time to file a complaint so that there is a record of the incident.  As long as the problem goes unreported, the situation will not change.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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  1. Eh,

    not really related, but I suppose it was Bwog's idea of a little joke to put up a photo of some random library (because clearly pictures of Butler are very hard to come by), as to mess with readers' minds. I, for one, fell for this and kept thinking the girl slipped outside Low.

    But she's right. The area outside Butler can be hazardous, I've slipped before, my friends have slipped and I've seen people slip. Those large paving stones have been worn too smooth, and also they aren't laid evenly so catching one's foot on the edge of one is very easy...

  2. man

    people seem to have a lot of trouble staying upright.

    if you slip it's your own damn fault.

    • seriously  

      i agree. people bitch way too often. i've never slipped before, and i've walked over those stones just as much as everyone else.

      she slipped in december..you know, when there's snow and slush and, oh i don't know, EVERYWHERE WHERE THERE IS GROUND is slippery.


  3. NIPSLIP  


  4. hmmm

    didn't birk oxholm fall on campus at some point and successfully sue columbia? he wrote about it in The Current a few years back.

  5. C'08

    I dunno, if I broke my freakin' KNEE I might definitely be inclined to sue. Knee injuries never heal completely, you'll feel that for the rest of your life. And you can't deny that all paths leading to Butler are pretty treacherous. The brickwork on the central pathway is so uneven I almost fell quite a few times myself despite being careful, and have seen people take some spectacular facesplats. And trying to get up and down the Low steps when it's icy is just suicidal. I actually did fall a few times. I'm so happy I managed to graduate with all my limbs intact.

  6. well  

    I see a good case for finding a good way to fix the steps and lips the metal grating around campus, but just the floor itself? That's probably your own fault in a lot of ways. In particular: Shoes. Old shoes will be worn very flat (probably more than the granite around butler), fix that! Also: DON'T WEAR SANDALS WHEN IT'S WET!

    Related: if there's snow or slush on the ground, if you're wearing anything that's not meant for that and/or doesn't have a lot traction, then you're just asking for it.

  7. Anonymous

    I fell, but I ain't contacted this CB unless there's a class action suit or she's offering cash. Time is money, honey.

  8. stupid

    shit happens. people fall. holding up columbia for money is a stupid way to respond. ingrate.

  9. Columbia

    This problem could have easily been averted if the plaintiff simply had been born with inverted knees, like a dinosaur. This physiological adaptation is known to be far more stable and less susceptible to damage.

    • BWOG

      I do not understand why comment 12 has not yet been made a favorite!

      • alc

        Because dinosaurs do not, in fact, have "inverted knees". They, and their feathered relatives, have forward bending knees just like the rest of us. Birds and dinosaurs have longer foot and lower leg bones. What was referred to as the "inverted knee" is actually the ankle, hence, birds and dinos walked on their tippy toes all the time.

        • Columbia

          Our legal team's paleontological excavations have proven otherwise. We further object to the patronizing term "tippy toes" and ask that this be stricken from the record. Finally, your implication of an evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs, is at best based on circumstantial evidence; furthermore, you forswore your right to sight Darwinian theory when you placed your hand upon the Bible.

  10. personally

    this doesn't seem like a frivolous lawsuit to me. knee injuries suck, and let's be honest, the stones at columbia, when wet, are rather slippery. obviously she shouldn't win millions, but certainly at least get her medical bills paid for.

  11. cava vet

    She should have her lawyer request redacted copies in discovery of CAVA's run reports, perhaps limited by where the "call" took place (Butler steps, steps of buildings, etc). CAVA keeps records going back at least a couple years, and then Health Services takes those records for a few more years.

    CAVA also used to log each call into a computer DB, but I don't think that would be sortable according to the information she's looking for.

  12. yeah  

    Campus is verrry slippery when it rains/snows. The slightest bit of water on the area in front of butler/the steps makes it treacherous. Wear good shoes, people!

  13. name

    This is retarded. And why Columbia can't spend money on anything else.

  14. yeah

    well, if it does any justice, butler library is a cancer of the university. she should have known that, just don't go near it.

  15. John

    1. Birk Oxholm did sue Columbia successfully, and he wrote an article encouraging his fellow students to do the same for a living.

    2. My friend broke his knee on the bricks outside of Low, but he is not a pansy, and sucked it up, bill and all. He walked without a limp later that month.

    3. My friends had a field day watching distracted students slip and fall on a patch of ice under the Butler scaffold. They brought lawn chairs, hid behind the John Jay bushes, and stayed two hours.

    This is shameful AND retarded.

  16. it had to be said

    "My Heels Get Stuck In Between the Bricks That Are Everywhere On This Goddamn Campus"

  17. ...

    there are lots of good reasons to hate columbia. this, however, is not one of them.

    and the cost argument is silly. any good risk manager would happily cut a check for any coinsurance/deductible/copay bills associated with this, if only for the reason that it would be a very cheap way to make it go away.

    there are dollar signs in someone's eyes.

  18. fuck  

    this person. This is the reason Columbia's admin is so anal and unreasonable about the most trivial things. People like you, madam, are worsening students' quality of life. I hope you fall on your head next time.

  19. teddy bear effect

    the teddy bear effect

    fat/large guys w/beards remind us of soft, cuddly teddy bears so we have a good impression of them

    think about it

    Santa, Al Borland, Confucius, Saddam, Jesus, Father Abraham, Stalin, ZZ Top

    all adorable

  20. ...  

    because for a brief moment, you envisioned someone smarter than you, more attractive than you, wittier than you, serving one purpose and one purpose only, to remind you that you are failure.

    someone who will take your ideal mate, fuck them and laugh with them at you at the same time.

    then when you saw he was fat, you realized he was no longer a threat.

    it's kind of a girly thing to do, but in places like new york city, where the females outnumber the males, there tends to be a bit of gender role reversal.

  21. so bwog

    this is really useless....how am i supposed to contact her if i want to join in?

  22. Another CC07

    I slipped outside Butler and fell on my laptop, smashing the screen. Maybe I should have sued Columbia for the repair fees.

    Or not. Because sometimes people just fall over.

  23. also cc '07

    same. i want to contact her too, but this is pretty pointless without knowing how.

    • cep2103

      I appreciate the original poster not posting my contact information without permission, but for those who wanted to contact me, you can email me at [email protected]
      For the record, I am not litigious by nature, but I wasn't doing anything reckless (drinking, wearing high heels, running, etc.) and I sustained fairly serious permanent injury falling by Butler. I have had two surgeries so far. I've heard from several people that others have fallen and injured themselves there, and after having an expert examine it, we discovered it is in fact not up to code. If using material that is safe for the students is not a priority of the university, they will only rectify the problem when it becomes more expensive for them to bear the cost of the damage it does than the cost of their neglect being borne by innocent bystanders. I'm not looking to get rich, but if I have lifelong chronic knee problems as a result of Columbia choosing not to use safe materials, shouldn't Columbia help defray my medical costs (and hopefully decide, for the future, they should fix the problem)?

  24. corrections

    no comma after dinosaurs. "sight" = "cite." The paralegal responsible for these heinous grammatical errors has been fired and replaced.

    • monty python  

      The "no" at the beginning of the first sentence should be capitalized. The paralegal responsible for firing the paralegal responsible for the first grammatical error has been fired and replaced.

  25. slippery  

    You know where it's really slippery? On the stone slab right in front of Wein. That place is treacherous.

  26. Mike  

    Well, how many people have slipped inside of there?


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