Four-year-old Juliet and her friend Jacob were “racing” their bicycles -with training wheels firmly in place – on a Manhattan sidewalk one day last year when Juliet bumped into an 87-year-old woman, knocking her to the ground. The injured woman filed suit againt Juliet, alleging that Juliet was negligent.
Juliet moved to dismiss the case on the ground that, as a four-year-old, she was non sui juris (incapable of negligence). The court denied her motion, ruling that Juliet’s status is a question of fact for the jury. Here then is the Manhattan parent’s nightmare. Is it not enough that Manhattan’s four-year-olds need to pass written entrance exams and sit through rigorous panel interviews just to get into pre-school — http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/nyregion/28private.html?_r=1. Now in a Kafka-esque twist of fate, the only way for Juliet’s parents to defeat this case and have Juliet declared non sui juris, is to present to the court “substantial evidence regarding [Juliet’s] lack of intellegence and maturity.”