one of my jobs this summer is as a research assistant. i am researching loss of enjoyment of life damages in tort cases that result in disability.
this is the first of probably a long line of amusing things i dig up over the course of my research.
i was reading Sabich v. Outboard Marine (131 Cal.Rptr. 703), a case about an ATV that overturned on top of a guy, causing severe lung problems and leg problems. a part of the case discussed the ability to recover damages for the embarrassment that the plaintiff felt for being disabled as a result of the accident.
way to go
i then keycited it. (for all you non-law-students reading this, keycite is a dandy little feature on westlaw that allows me to find, with one click of the mouse, any case that has cited the case that i am reading. i don't know how people did legal research without it.) a few cases came up, one of them being a case called Macias v. Raul A. (Unknown), Badge No. 153 (23 F.3d 94), a case from texas.
this case is not a personal injury case. this case is a search and seizure case. i bet you know where this is going.
that's right. the idiot defendant decided to cite sabich, the ATV crash case, to justify damages for feeling embarrassed about being searched by the cop:
When requested to describe his injuries, Macias stated:
Humiliation, Embarrassment, just because the lens was out. I, Moses Macias, Jr., was ordered around to stand in different positions, was also search[ed] outside the car without any probable cause. Search and seizure laws are very strict. An officer needs a warrant and the Warrant has to be specific on where to search and the officers needs probable cause, an affidavit made by oath, by a witness describing exactly where to search. [FN2]
FN2. Macias also cited a case, apparently as authority for his claim for damages. That case, Sabich v. Outboard Marine Corp., 60 Cal.App.3d 591, 131 Cal.Rptr. 703 (1976), is a products liability action concerning all-terrain vehicles.
a cookie for the judge, for the subtle smackdown.
i looked further, to confirm a little suspicion i had, and my suspicion was correct: this dingbat was representing himself. it's more proof of the old adage that he who represents himself has a fool for a client.
(p.s.--if you do have westlaw access, it would be well worth your while to look up the macias case, scroll down to the bottom, and look at the .pdf file of the appellant's brief. it's a beautiful example of awful legal writing.)