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149/150: When animals can sue (part 1)
Name: Chris Downs #107 @13453
Date: Fri Mar 06 15:18:21 1992
From: The Radical's Retreat [314-352-7619]

                          COYOTE v. ACME
In the United States District Court, Southwestern District, Tempe, Arizona
           Case No. B191294, Judge Joan Kujava, Presiding

                   Wiley E. Coyote, Plaintiff
                     Acme Company, Defendant

Opening Statement of Harold Schoff, attorney for Mr. Coyote:  My client,
Mr. Wiley E. Coyote, a resident of Arizona and contiguous states, does
hereby bring suit for damages against the Acme Company, manufacturer and
retail distributor of assorted merchandise, incorporated in Delaware and
doing business in every state, district and territory.  Mr. Coyote seeks
compensation for personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental
suffering caused as a direct result the actions and/or gross negligence
of said company, under Title 15 of the United States Code, Chapter 47,
section 2072, subsection (a), relating to product liability.

Mr. Coyote states that on eighty-five separate occasions he has purchased
of the Acme Company (hereinafter, "Defendant"), through that company's
mail-order department, certain products which did cause him bodily injury
due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labelling. Sales slips
made out to Mr. Coyote as proof of purchase are at present in the posses-
sion of the Court, marked Exhibit A. Such injuries sustained by Mr. Coyote
have temporarily restricted his ability to make a living in his profession
of predator. Mr. Coyote is self-employed and thus not eligible for Work-
men's Compensation.

Mr. Coyote states that on December 13th he received of Defendant via parcel
post one Acme Rocket Sled. The intention of Mr. Coyote was to use the
Rocket Sled to aid him in pursuit of his prey. Upon receipt of the Rocket
Sled Mr. Coyote removed it from its wooden shipping crate and, sighting his
prey in the distance, activated the ignition. As Mr. Coyote gripped the
handlebars, the Rocket Sled accelerated with such sudden and precipitate
force as to stretch Mr. Coyote's forelimbs to a length of fifty feet.
Subsequently, the rest of Mr. Coyote's body shot forward with a violent
jolt, causing severe strain to his back and neck and placing him unex-
pectedly astride the Rocket Sled. Disappearing over the horizon at such
speed as to leave a diminishing jet trail along his path, the Rocket Sled
soon brought Mr. Coyote abreast of his prey. At that moment the animal he
was pursuing veered sharply to the right. Mr. Coyote vigorously attempted
to follow this maneuver but was unable to do so, due to poorly designed
steering and a faulty or nonexistent braking system. Shortly thereafter,
the unchecked progress of the Rocket Sled brought it and Mr. Coyote into
collision with the side of a mesa.

Paragraph One of the Report of Attending Physician (Exhibit B), prepared by
Dr. Ernest Grosscup, M.D., D.O., details the multiple fractures, contusions
and tissue damage suffered by Mr. Coyote as a result of this collision.
Repair of the injuries required a full bandage around the head (excluding
the ears), a neck brace, and full or partial casts on all four legs.

Hampered by these injuries, Mr. Coyote was nevertheless obliged to support
himself. With this in mind, he purchased of Defendant as an aid to mobility
one pair of rocket skates. When he attempted to use this product, however,
he became involved in an accident remarkably similar to that which occurred
with the Rocket Sled. Again, Defendant sold over the counter, without
caveat, a product which attached powerful jet engines (in this case, two)
to inadequate vehicles, with little or no provision for passenger safety.
Encumbered by his heavy casts, Mr. Coyote lost control of the Rocket
Skates soon after strapping them on, and collided with a roadside billboard
so violently as to leave a hole in the shape of his full silhouette.

Mr. Coyote states that on occasions too numerous to list in this document
he has suffered mishaps with explosives purchased of the Defendant: the
Acme "Little Giant" Firecracker, the Acme Self-Guided Aerial Bomb, etc.
(For a full listing see the Acme Mail Order Explosives Catalogue and
attached deposition, entered into evidence as Exhibit C.) Indeed, it is
safe to say that not once has an explosive purchased of Defendant by Mr.
Coyote performed in an expected manner. To cite just one example: At the
expense of much time and personal effort, Mr. Coyote constructed around the
outer rim of a butte a wooden trough beginning at the top of the butte and
spiralling downward around it to some few feet above a black X painted on
the desert floor. The trough was designed in such a way that a spherical
explosive of the type sold by Defendant would roll easily and swiftly down
to the point of detonation indicated by the X. Mr. Coyote placed a generous
pile of birdseed directly on the X, and then, carrying the spherical Acme
Bomb (Catalogue #78-832), climbed to the top of the butte. Mr. Coyote's
prey, seeing the bird seed, approached, and Mr. Coyote proceeded to light
the fuse. In an instant, the fuse burned down to the stem, causing the
bomb to detonate.

In addition to reducing all Mr. Coyote's careful preparation to naught, the
premature detonation of Defendant's product resulted in the following dis-
figurements to Mr. Coyote:
 1. Severe singeing of the hair on the head, neck and muzzle.
 2. Sooty discoloration.
 3. Fracture of the left ear at the stem, causing the ear to dangle in the
    aftershock with a creaking noise.
 4. Full or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking, frazzling,
    and ashy disintegration.
 5. Radical widening of the eyes, due to brow and lid charring.

Sub Animal Safety & Protection

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150/150: when animals can sue (part 2)
Name: Chris Downs #107 @13453
Date: Fri Mar 06 15:20:32 1992
From: The Radical's Retreat [314-352-7619]

part 2

We come now to the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes. The remains of a pair of
these purchased by Mr. Coyote on June 23rd are Plaintiff's Exhibit D.
Selected fragments have been shipped to the metallurgical laboratories of
the University of California at Santa Barbara for analysis, but to date no
explanation has been found for this product's sudden and extreme malfunc-
tion. As advertised by Defendant, this product is simplicity itself: two
wood-and-metal sandals, each attached to milled-steel springs of high
tensile strength and compressed into a tightly coiled position by a cocking
device with a lanyard release. Mr. Coyote believed that this product would
enable him to pounce upon his prey in the initial moments of the chase,
when swift reflexes are at a premium.

To increase the shoes' thrusting power still further, Mr. Coyote affixed
them by their bottoms to the side of a large boulder. Adjacent to the
boulder was a path which Mr. Coyote's prey was known to frequent. Mr.
Coyote put his hind feet in the wood-and-metal sandals and crouched in
readiness, his right forepaw holding firmly to the lanyard release. Within
a short time Mr. Coyote's prey did indeed appear on the path coming toward
him. Unsuspecting, the prey stopped near Mr. Coyote, well within range of
the springs at full extension. Mr. Coyote gauged the distance with care and
proceeded to pull the lanyard release.

At this point, Defendant's product should have thrust Mr. Coyote forward
and away from the boulder. Instead, for reasons yet unknown, the Acme
Spring-Powered Shoes thrust the boulder away from Mr. Coyote. As the
intended prey looked on unharmed, Mr. Coyote hung suspended in air. Then
the twin springs recoiled, bringing Mr. Coyote to a violent feet-first
collision with the boulder, the full weight of his head and forequarters
falling upon his lower extremities.

The force of this impact then caused the springs to rebound, whereupon Mr.
Coyote was thrust skyward. A second recoil and collision followed. The
boulder, meanwhile, which was roughly ovoid in shape, had begun to bounce
down a hillside, the coiling and recoiling of the springs adding to its
velocity. At each bounce, Mr. Coyote came into contact with the boulder,
or the boulder came into contact with Mr. Coyote, or both came into contact
with the ground. As the grade was a long one, this process continued for
some time.

A sequence of collisions resulted in systemic physical damage to Mr.
Coyote, viz., flattening of the cranium, sideways replacement of the
tongue, reduction of length of legs and upper body, and compression of
vertebrae from base of tail to head. Repetition of blows along a vertical
axis produced a series of regular horizontal folds in Mr. Coyote's body
tissues -- a rare and painful condition which caused Mr. Coyote to expand
upward and contract downward alternately as he walked, and to emit off-key,
accordionlike wheezing with every step. The distracting and embarrassing
nature of this symptom has been a major impediment to Mr. Coyote's pursuit
of a normal social life.

As the Court is no doubt aware, Defendant has a virtual monopoly of manu-
facture and sale of goods required by Mr. Coyote's work. It is our con-
tention that Defendant has used its market advantage to the detriment of
the consumer of such specialized products as itching powder, giant kites,
Burmese tiger traps, anvils, and two-hundred-foot-long rubber bands. Much
as he has come to distrust Defendant's products, Mr. Coyote has no other
domestic source of supply to which to turn. One can only wonder what our
trading partners in Western Europe and Japan would make of such a
situation, where a giant company is allowed to victimize the consumer in
the most reckless and wrongful manner over and over again.

Mr. Coyote respectfully requests that the Court regard these larger
economic implications and assess punitive damages in the amount of seven-
teen million dollars. In addition, Mr. Coyote seeks actual damages (missed
meals, medical expenses, days lost from professional occupation) of one
million dollars; general damages (mental suffering, injury to reputation)
of twenty million dollars; and attorney's fees of seven hundred and fifty
thousand dollars. Total damages: thirty-eight million seven hundred and
fifty thousand dollars. By awarding Mr. Coyote the full amount, this Court
will censure Defendant, its directors, officers, shareholders, successors,
and assigns, in the only language they understand, and reaffirm the right
of the individual predator to equal protection under the law.

--The New Yorker Magazine, Feb. 26, 1990 (author not credited)


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