Saturday, October 17, 2009
Legal Blog Watch has an excellent posting about the Legal Issues Involving Balloon Boy as well as a link to a CNN Video. If it were all a gag, and I do not know if it was, there may indeed be some legal exposure. The incident is so strange that it is difficult to predict what legal liability exists, if any.
If state law outlaws making a false 911 call or police report, which it probably does, then there may be some exposure. I suspect that the defendants would be liable to repay the investigatory costs and may face a criminal charge. However, a mere false media interview would not be actionable.
I doubt that there is any type of child abuse here as the child did not actually get inside the balloon. If his parents made him hide, that certainly is poor parenting, but I doubt that would be cause for his parents to loose custody.
This will be an interesting case to watch.
For those who may not have seen the video, you can watch it from the above link.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein