Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Random Just Wonderings...

I've been having a few random thoughts rattling around in my brain, and thought I'd see what your take is.

Since I take law classes, I pay a lot of attention to lawsuits and court cases that are in the news. One thing has frequently puzzled me.

In many lawsuits over the past few years regarding the death of a child (either a minor or adult child) brought by parents, they often claim among their damages "future earnings" of said child. And they're often asking millions of dollars.

I can understand their pain and suffering, and wanting to get punitive damages if their child was killed by someone else's negligence. Really, really I do.

What I want to know is---as far as REAL damages are concerned after hospital or funeral expenses, etc...

Number one---what makes them think that their child would have grown up to be a multi-million dollar earner? Were there certain expectations because the child was gifted in some way? In one lawsuit in the last year, the "child" was like 24 and worked at 7-11.

And number two---what kind of parent expects their child to support them once the child has the potential to earn money? It's one thing if a parent is old and infirm, has few assets and the child is doing well financially. Maybe they might have expected $100,000 tops in help. But seriously, who expects their 21-year-old to start supporting them as soon as they get a job?

How do they justify that to a court, and to themselves?

Just wondering.

When I first started going on the internet, I made an agreement with Hubby. I wouldn't post identifying information about us.

Especially when I started blogging.

I HAVE posted a few pics of our guys, but only after they turned 18, and only with their permission. I suppose if someone was totally intent on stalking us, they would have a bit of luck if they went back quite a few years to gather info.

What I DON'T get is people who post a bunch of pictures on their Facebook page or blog of OTHER people who aren't their personal family members and include identifying information without asking permission.

This has happened to us twice.

One was a BBQ we held for a certain function. One of our grills is on our front deck, and the person took a picture that happened to include our house number in the background and then proceeded to name everyone in the picture with a "this was taken at Mr. Attila's house in the beautiful blah blah development" on his blog.

More recently, another friend posted a bunch of candid pictures on his Facebook page which included us and named us by name.

I just happened to run across them, because neither Hubby or I really do the Facebook thing. I have an account simply because I get a lot of invites and I don't want to be an asshat and decline them. LOL

Yes, only invited people are allowed to view the friend's pictures. But I really don't appreciate being posted there without my permission, and neither does Hubby.

I wrote a nice email asking our friend to take them down. He got quite pissy about it.

So what's the netiquette (sp) about this?

Anybody know?


Brenda said...

I agree with you about the lawsuits. Not many of any of them make sense to me except that the attorneys know that most of them will be settled out of court so something will be gained by them.

As for privacy. You are entitled to as much or as little privacy as you wish so I don't blame you one little bit if that's how you feel.

Kunoichi said...

They can get prissy all they want... posting identifiable photos of people without their permission just isn't done. Even professional photographers taking shots in public place carry around release forms, just in case. They technically don't have to get permission, and for crowd shots, it's not an issue, but for identifiable shots, it's bad form not to.

(and yeah, I've had similar questions in re: to those sorts of lawsuits)

Willoughby said...

I'm as puzzled as you are about the lawsuits. I think that maybe your focus turns to money because it takes your mind off of your loss in those circumstances. Either that, or the family is taking the advice of a greedy lawyer without really thinking about it.

I don't think anyone should be upset if someone asks that pictures or identifying information be removed from their Facebook page or anywhere else. They really should ask before posting, anyway!

If you're interested, I'm having a giveaway. Stop by!

Beth said...

I think certain parents do that only because they can – the system allows it. So wrong. I can’t imagine even thinking along those lines…

As for Facebook photos – imagine my dismay when I was told someone had posted a photo of me in a bathing suit without my knowledge or consent.
A bathing suit! The ultimate horror!

debra said...

I've never identified my children by name on my blog and I seldom write about them. It's a privacy thing. And I've never posted photos of them on Facebook. Just how I do things.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy not knowing anything about Facebook. But on your first point--I call GREED. Greedy lawyer and greedy client and any court who honors that kind of judgment has pretty poor judgment!
In Afghanistan, the US government pays out about $2,000 for kids killed in military crossfire. Something to think about...that's roughly a one-year tax exemption in the US.

Anonymous said...

It would be very easy for the person posting the pics to just blob out the identifying features of the pictures if they are so determined to post them. I can't imagine what idiot would post address and then subdivision and think it was ok. You would think they would atleast ask permission.

Cloudy said...

Never heard of the future earnings in lawsuits, but yeah, it is probably encouraged by the lawyer. I always thought it was weird to buy life insurance on your kids, too.

Jennifer Leeland said...

*sigh* I don't get that either.
I get "tagged" with old high school pics on Facebook. It's a little scary actually.
I probably should worry more. Though I don't mention names, it's not hard to find me. With what I write, that may not be too smart.

Charlie said...

Regarding the first isssue, it's probably the lawyer's idea (a larger piece of the money pie), and then the greed of the parents kick in.

Second issue. I think privacy net-wide is a thing of the past. Too many sites, too many sites hooked together or merging, privacy checklists that keep changing and are as long as your arm . . .

As far as the a**hole who posted photos of the Attila family, his attitude is probably, "So what are you going to do about it?"

I have no answer.

CiCi said...

Anyone who would get pissy when asked to remove a photo or info on someone that had been posted without permission in my opinion needs a talking to and a decision made if this person is grown up enough to remain a friend. Very poor judgment for someone to overstep the boundary of privacy for anyone else.

Chicago Mom said...

I am with Cloudy; people who sue over their kids future earnings are the same ones who buy life insurance for them. I think it's sick.

Have you heard of the lawsuit going on here in Chicago where the mother is suing the hospital who brought her the wrong baby? Apparently she breastfed someone elses kid for a minute or two and is now suing for emotional distress or something stupid like that. It's not like she took the kid home or anything. Ugh.

I made a similar deal with my hubby when I first started blogging. I would be upset with a so-called friend for posting that kind of information too.

Joanna Jenkins said...

The lawsuits leave me scratching my head too. I just don't get it. It's almost creepy when you think about it. Ugh.

As for the photos-- That's another reason why I don't like Facebook. It's all just too much information... And some of us don't really care to be found!

Maybe you could write a book on "netiquette"????


Jeanie said...

I like Joanna's idea about a book on "netiquette", though it's rules would probably be largely ignored in this often "it's all about me" environment.

Tracie Nall said...

On the lawsuits, I have wondered this myself. It really doesn't make any sense. The only way it would seem viable is if the adult child owned a company and employed his parent (then i could see that upon his death if the company goes under, so does the job) but other than that, I can't imagine any way to justify this.

On the picture subject....I never post pictures of people on facebook without telling them first - certainly there is no need to identify where a person lives in pictures on facebook. That really is over the line.

Anonymous said...

I "used" to be Littlebit. Using my blog name because, well, I have a blog now, LOL!

Anyway, regarding what you wrote about the legal mother and I had more and more of a dysfunctional relationship as I got older...the more freedom I wanted, the more she tried to squish me down. And I'm not talking about when I was in my teens. I meant when I was a full-grown adult. Major control freak. During one of our (multiple) arguments, she admitted that the only reason she had a child was so that there would be someone to take care of her when she got old. WTH? Unfortunately for her, she had pretty much ruined any chance of us having a healthy mother-and-adult-daughter relationship so instead of my "taking care of her" now that she's in her mid-70's, I've severed all ties with her, for my own sanity.

Oh, and the WEEK that I got my first part-time job, I was required to pay my parents rent/room & board. That amount went up steadily as my income increased. Once I was working F/T (1989), I was paying them about 1/3 of my salary to cover my "expenses."

Speaking of asshats, I think it's VERY rude to post pictures with names/identifying information, without that person's permission. I would think that if you (nicely) asked the friend to take the photos down or at least the identifying info, he would comply. But some people don't understand the seriousness of it. At least if you're active on Facebook, you can be "tagged" in a picture...and you can jolly well "untag" yourself. I have a friend who does that...if he doesn't like the picture someone has posted, he will untag himself so his friends don't see it.

litzi said...

Regarding the lawsuit about the potential earnings of a deceased child…it’s conceited, abhorrent and fits into the conspicuous consumption mentality that’s pervasive in today’s society.

Internet Etiquette is a dichotomy...everyone is fair game but the initiator. What’s yours in mine and what’s mine is mine.

gayle said...

I agree with you about the lawsuits...they are getting out of hand!! I never even thought about asking if I could post pictures on my blog. Thank you for a great has given me something to think about!!

Alice Fraggle said...

I agree that posting identifying information (address/subdivision) is way too much info, but I post pictures of friends on my FB without asking BUT! my pictures are all for Friends Only - nobody but those on my friends list can see them, and if I don't want a friend to see them then I use a filter to keep them out. Of course, if a friend asked for their picture removed I'd explain that first and then untag them so nobody could go to their FB. Just my two cents! :)

Anonymous said...

That is a great question, and I wonder if it is legal. I have no idea, but it really makes me wonder now. I wouldn't want that to happen to me.

As for the person/friend in question, I don't see why the need to get pissy. It is common courtesy. Respect is a biggie for me, and the fact that he is not being respectful to your wishes, speaks loudly.

It sucks that this happened, but it raised a very good point. I'm sure you are not the only one, and I'd be very curious what the law says about it. Seems like now with facebook, uTube, etc, everyone is open game. Scary!

Hope everything is going well with you.

Marla said...

Our legal system is lacking one thing.....common sense.

KL said...

Do NOT give my sister-in-law any ideas!!

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