Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Happy Birthday! Oh, and I'm Suing.

In the Thanksgiving's-gonna-be-awkward category comes this AP story of one Carriel Louah, who paid her parents a surprise visit for her mom's birthday back in 2005.  She slipped and fell in their (allegedly) icy driveway the next morning, injuring herself, and has now sued her mom and stepfather.

U.S. District Judge John Shabas denied summary judgment: Download ice.pdf.

(There's nothing particularly problematic with the suit itself, incidentally.  It seems to be a fairly run-of-the-mill premises case, made interesting only by the familial connection.)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2006/08/happy_birthday_.html

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Comments

Just thinking out loud: Could a suit like this be a way to avoid the gift tax? Damage awards are tax-exempt, right?

Posted by: KipEsquire | Aug 2, 2006 6:48:49 AM

A fun idea. The docket suggests that it's being genuinely fought -- with motions to exclude experts due to untimely disclosure, etc. Maybe I'll see if our friends at TaxProf want to weigh in.

Posted by: Bill Childs | Aug 2, 2006 6:56:03 AM

Paul Caron (of the TaxProf blog, which you should visit even if you do neither tax or prof things; find it via the link to the other law profs' blogs over on the right) reports:

Although damages for personal injuries are indeed exempt from the income tax, the IRS and courts would look through the litigation and determine if there were any donative intent implicating the gift tax.

Posted by: Bill Childs | Aug 2, 2006 5:07:10 PM

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