Dateline Denver: An attorney named Geoffrey Fieger has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the parents of Isaiah Shoels, one of the Columbine High School murder victims, seeking $250 million from the parents of the two schoolboy gunmen who killed their classmates and then killed themselves.
The grounds: not knowing what their kids were up to.Thomas and Susan Klebold and Katherine and Wayne Harris should have known that their sons, Dylan and Eric, respectively, were amassing a cache of bombs, guns and explosive devices and were planning an assault on the high school, says Fieger.
It was their responsibility as parents to know what was going on and thus be in a position to stop it.
Uh, point of order: Has Geoffrey Fieger ever been a parent?
Sure. It's easy. Stand there in the courtroom in your $3,000 Armani suit, your Allen-Edmonds wingtips, your monogrammed pin-striped shirt, lightly starched, with the gold cuff links from the firm retreat -- and tell parents they should have known and since they didn't, pay up.
On paper it might even make sense.
In reality, however, we are talking about something that's harder than understanding opera.
Keeping track of teenagers.
It's hard enough to know what they're doing when they're telling you what they're doing.
Fieger's name may ring a bell. He's the activist attorney who assisted Dr. Jack Kevorkian in his suicide defense.
He's also the attorney who won a huge suit in the Jenny Jones trial, which was also about negligence.
Fieger is a victim attorney. In his business, you find a tragedy, then look for someone to blame.
I feel for the parents of Isaiah Shoels. I feel for the parents of all the kids who lost their lives because of those teenage wackos, Harris and Klebold.
I also feel for the parents of Harris and Klebold.
Money-back ironclad guarantee: If Mr. and Mrs. Harris and Mr. and Mrs. Klebold could have, they would have stopped the rampage at Columbine High.
Also guaranteed: They'd give every dime they have, and every possession, to turn back the calendar to April 19, 1999, and start over again.
Suing them for negligence can't hurt them any more than they've already been hurt.
What's next? Sue Hillary because she should have known what Bill was up to? Sue the Serbs because they should have known what Slobodan was planning?
It's an especially dangerous precedent, suing parents for negligence.
Because kids never tell you the bad stuff.
Not all the kids I've known. Not once has one come home and I've asked, "How was school?" and they've said, "I was a smartmouth today," or "I cheated on my math exam," or "I beat up that little Timmy, you know the kid who limps."
Parents everywhere will have to live in fear -- of the unknown.
There will be a whole new legal code measuring damages for things teenagers do that impact other kids.
Your kid whacks another kid at recess? Should've known. That'll be 10 grand.
Your son tells a girl he'll take her to the prom, finds out the girl he wanted to go with in the first place but didn't think he had a chance wants to go with him, so cancels the first date. That'll be 30 grand.
Your daughter has the flu and coughs on another kid who gets the flu. Twenty grand plus pharmacy expenses.
And the ultimate: Your son grows up, becomes an attorney and joins Geoffrey Fieger's firm.
That'll cost you $500 million, plus court fees. And the real bummer: It's your own son who sues you for negligence.
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