Torts! With a Pole Dancer, a Wedding Tent & a Busted Bride

[Ed. Note: The following is again from Gianna Scatchell, the blogger behind LegallyNoted.com]

Listen up, single ladies in law-law land, wedding season is fast approaching, and here’s your wake-up call.  As the current recipient of five—count ‘um five—nuptial invitations between June and August, the pressure is on. 

As a result, I’ve been busting ass at the gym (thank God bikini and wedding season operate concurrently), practicing fake awe and scouring Gilt and HauteLook for discount designer fashions that are amped up enough to stand out, yet simple enough to not steal wedding-party thunder. 

Regardless, nothing can change the fact that I’ll soon be facing everything in life that’s most dreadful…

Do you get a “plus one?” Will you bring someone?  Will you hire someone majorly handsome to go with you?  Will you be labeled as “single” and seated on the chart accordingly?

Not to mention, there’s the pressure of remaining intuitive enough to hit the ladies’ room just before the bouquet toss and the chicken dance—all whilst being surrounded by my best coping device: Free top-shelf liquor.

But, as we all know too well, every wedding has “the single drunk girl” who ruins it—or makes it memorable, depending on your attitude.  And, at times, it’s easy to wallow in your pity-party-of-one enough to think, “Why not let it be me?  I deserve to just blow off some steam.”

Then you see the following video footage, and you’re haunted for years to come.  Reel yourself in.  NO BUENO!  This, ladies, is what happens when a single drunk girl attempts to use the wedding tent’s support beam as her personal stripper pole.  Behold…

Wedding.  Nightmare. 

Who needs a record screech to signal disaster when someone invited her?  There’s the bride’s busted lip and shattered fairytale.  Guests army-crawling to safety.  The dancer’s obnoxious asymmetrical hemline!  All reasons to avoid the dance floor for eternity.

But somewhere in here is a legal lesson. 

Let’s use this poor, scarlet-clad woman not only as a cautionary tale, but also as a learning opportunity.  The Good Lord gave her lemons, and dammit, I’m going to make some lemonade. 

The only way I’ll feel better and be able to assuredly prevent myself from ever indulging in such ruckus behavior—no matter how deathly single, hideously jealous, blissfully intoxicated or numbingly Alprazolam-ed I become—is to break this situation down into possible torts.  (You got to know the time to avoid the crime.) So let’s study this social injustice, shall we? 

• COULD THIS BE THE INTENTIONAL TORT OF TRESPASS TO CHATTELS?

Maybe there’s a tenuous argument that she trespassed on the pole because she didn’t have permission to use the pole as a dance prop.  Thoughts?

• COULD THIS BE AN ACTION FOR CONVERSION?

The guest’s actions must have:

1) Interfered with bride’s right of possession in the chattel that is serious enough in nature to warrant that the guest pay the full value of the chattel;

2) Intent to perform the act that would interfere with the bride’s right of possession of the tent.  (I think she intended to perform a stripper move on the pole, but I’m not sure if she meant to interfere with the possession or was just trying to snag a man);

3) Causation—AKA she did it!

• COULD THIS BE AN INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS?

1) Her conduct was extreme and outrageous.  (A stripper pole at a garden wedding—como?) There were flower girls and ringbearers present for Christ sake;

2) She intended to cause the bride to suffer severe emotional distress (toxic friends anyone?), OR her conduct was reckless (which, I think, goes without saying);

3) Causation: Because it was her!

4) Damages: Severe emotional distress.  How distraught was the bride?  Did she need psychological counseling following the event?  (This argument will probably fail because IIED is an extremely hard threshold to overcome.  So let’s look at negligent infliction of emotional distress!)

• COULD THIS BE A NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS?

Bride would have her best shot with this argument, since there’s no need to prove intent.

• COULD THIS BE NEGLIGENCE?

1) Did the guest have a duty to conform to a specific standard of conduct for the protection of the bride against unreasonable risk of injury?  (Perhaps.  She at least had a duty not to behave like trailer trash);

2) Breach of that duty.  (She clearly contravened normal wedding etiquette with that spectacle!);

3) Causation: But for her actions, assuming the tent never would’ve collapsed.  (Her inelegant dance moves were the proximate cause of the collapse because it was foreseeable that climbing on a support beam to spin like a bitch would cause it to collapse, no?)

4) Damages: Her actions ruined the wedding—plus economic damages?  Special damages?  General damages?  A top plastic surgeon for that bride’s face?

• COULD THIS BE DEFENSES TO NEGATE INTENT?

Can you argue intoxication?  Plead insanity?  Plead desperation?  (J/K—not really)

• THROW A BATTERY ARGUMENT IN HERE AS WELL… WHAT THE HELL!?

When you look at it this way, I hope you agree.  Just remain single and ready to mingle…responsibly.  Legally, that’s the only (well-flexed, clean-shaven, spray-tanned, expensively heeled) leg you have to stand on. 

Go in peace.  And serve the law Gods.

Read Gianna’s other posts, such as Dumped on Facebook; When Your Breakup Goes Law Firm Viral, Law School Exposé: How Leggings Made Me Fat, Ten Ways for Women NOT to Get Sex in Law School and Six Ways for Men NOT to Get Sex in Law School.

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[Ed. Note: The following is again from Gianna Scatchell, the blogger behind LegallyNoted.com]

Listen up, single ladies in law-law land, wedding season is fast approaching, and here’s your wake-up call.  As the current recipient of five—count ‘um five—nuptial invitations between June and August, the pressure is on. 

As a result, I’ve been busting ass at the gym (thank God bikini and wedding season operate concurrently), practicing fake awe and scouring Gilt and HauteLook for discount designer fashions that are amped up enough to stand out, yet simple enough to not steal wedding-party thunder. 

Read more from Gianna Scatchell.

12 Comments

  1. Guano Dubango

    April 29, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Although I have been told that weddings are the best place to find and maybe pick up single women who long for their own man, I have not yet been succesful in bringing home a woman from these weddings.  The concept of the pole and her dancing with it instead of a man will hopefully provide men like me with a valuable entree, as I am available to fill her void, but not just for that night.  I do not like just to bang a woman once, but more for a lasting relationship.  If there are NY women here worried about going alone to a wedding, I am available to be your date.  I can also provide stability to your lifes.

  2. M.N.

    April 29, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Great timing… my Tort’s exam is in 45 minutes, and this was a nice little refresher

  3. Bitter Overseas

    April 29, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Sheesh. There’s a lot of thinking that went into this.

  4. Craig

    April 29, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Excellent first half.  Very funny.  I could have done without the the legal analysis which I barely even skimmed, but still my favorite article of yours.

  5. BL1Y

    April 29, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Inviting an obnoxious friend + serving alcohol = Assumption of risk.  Not actionable.

  6. Cheryl

    April 29, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Hilar!

  7. Sarcasmus

    April 30, 2010 at 8:36 am

    So far I credit YouTube with every bit of the nearly non-existant value for this post, as well as the comments. 
    Legal analysis = C- at most.
    M.N. certainly failed the “Tort’s [sic] exam”
    Bitter Overseas apparently has done little thinking in life.
    BL1Y’s assumption of the risk analysis = C- too. 
    Ovarall?  Crap, crap and more crap. 
    Thanks everyone.  Let’s keep trying.

  8. Anonymous

    May 1, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Wow, did you see that beeotch sidling that pole?  She obviously was not there with a man, but any man that took her home would be guaranteed to be doing the horizontal polka sans clothes.  She wasn’t that good looking but after a few drinks, WTF?

  9. Bitter Overseas

    May 2, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Sarcasmus – I’ll admit little thinking when it came to this article. After watching the video (funny! but sad, too), I wasn’t in the mood to break it down any further. By the look of the rest of the comments posted, I wasn’t alone.
    But, nice of you to notice.

  10. nn

    May 3, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    She wasn’t even dancing to pop.  It was traditional music!

  11. Titus

    May 4, 2010 at 10:48 am

    The author has neglected the most obvious avenue for liability: the relevant state’s dram shop act.

  12. 1L and counting

    May 6, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I doubt there’s any VAR in this case. The D would have to prove that the P impliedly waived the D’s liability. It’s pushing it a bit to say that inviting your friends to your wedding and serving booze absolves them of liability for tearing down a tent.
    The bride would be better off suing whomever set up the tent, saying that they negligently designed/setup the tent to create a hazard to her and her guests. A drunk guest bumping into / leaning on / pulling on a tent pole at a wedding is clearly reasonably foreseeable. She could throw the guest in as jointly liable for good measure.
    You wouldn’t need to go for emotional distress either, since she was physically injured. She could claim straight negligence and sue for pain and suffering damages ontop. (of course, you might as well throw them in there for good measure.)

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