A Man's Home Is His Castle — So Long As It's Analog

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15 Responses

  1. lynnor says:

    Hmmm….well, suing the neighbor doesn't seem to be the way to go. But I'm not going to completely dismiss his claim to the effects of EMF. An article in popular science was interesting:
    http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-02/disconnected
    And WHO has had presentations on the subject as well. I think it will be a growing concern, but affect a very small percentage of the population. Need something akin to a leper colony for the EMF sensitive?

  2. PLW says:

    If you have emphysema, can you sue your neighbor for driving a car that billows exhaust? If you are immuno-suppressed, can you sue him for getting sick to often and coughing too much? It seems like there is some reasonable level of care a neighbor needs to take, but if you have such a serious and unusual illness, it should be incumbent upon you to take measures to protect yourself from harm from people who are just living their normal lives.

  3. piperTom says:

    Our tort system (and much more) was designed by lawyers for their own benefit. The problem is centuries old and multi-dimensional, but here are two ideas to begin reform:
    ONE: Eliminate licensure for giving legal advice. It's a barrier to entry that restricts competition. It makes no more sense than requiring a license to give consumer advice. Absent such barriers, it should be fairly cheap for the neighbor to hire consul good enough to get this silly case tossed.

    TWO: The civil courts should not be allowed to take any case, absent evidence of a honest effort at private arbitration. When arbitration cannot be arranged, the first step must be to determine which (if either) party was acting in bad faith in the attempt — that party (or parties) must post bond or show insurance coverage for all costs of the suit.

    And, of course, "loser pays"!!

  4. Chris says:

    That linked popsci article reads like someone really needed to write an article after doing that much research, but didn't actually manage to find anything.

  5. wekebu says:

    I'm going to look for a fund for Raphaela Monribot. I'm sure she needs help. Can you imagine what this will cost to defend her rights?

  6. Dustin says:

    In response to Lynnor, when tested the so called 'WiFi sensitive' people couldn't even actually determine when I wifi signal was present. I think what 'effects a small percentage of the population' is crazy, or perhaps hypochondria.

    http://wifinetnews.com/archives/2006/12/double-blind_mobile_phone_study_for_instance.html

  7. Chris says:

    The far simpler answer is that these EM-sensitives are just people prone to sudden bouts of nausea, pain, etc. The odds that they would have one and not be in the presence of some sort of EM radiation is unlikely.

  8. jb says:

    The problem with loser-pays is that all too often the wrong side wins. It's not just that the process is the punishment.

    The problem is that the doctrines of personal responsibility and assumption of risk have gone out the window.

  9. mojo says:

    Old snow-slider dishes and radio antennas on the roof, pointing in Mr. Looney's direction. Not hooked up to anything, but he doesn't need to know that.

    If you can rig up some waveguide-looking junk, so much the better.

  10. Patrick Herlihy says:

    Something is broken with a legal system that allows this, but also grants payment of legal defense costs to the Westboro idiots http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/carroll/bal-protest0329,0,3866909.story

  11. Ken says:

    Patrick Herlihy, that's an award of costs, not attorney fees. It's available to any victorious litigant. Costs on appeal include things like filing fees, copying costs (which can be huge when there's a big record), etc. It doesn't mean that one side pays the attorney fees of the other. Winners at the trial court level can get the same thing.

    Thanks to our largely legally illiterate media, this is being incorrectly reported as an award of fees.

  12. George says:

    It's sadly amusing that these people are clueless about the presence of electromagnetic waves everywhere, whether coming from the sun, the galaxy, or a wifi router!

  13. GregS says:

    This whole case is ridiculous. The amount of electromagnetic waves that a WiFi device emits is microscopic compared to that emitted by your local AM, FM, and TV stations, by the cell phone towers in your neighborhood, by the radios in the taxis and police cars and delivery trucks that drive by your house, and of course by the sun up in the sky. It's like complaining about the brightness from the light of a candle in his back yard while you're standing outside at noon on a bright sunny day.

    Judges should really have the power to toss out ridiculous cases like this immediately. I also think that "loser pays" would also go a long way to discouraging lawsuits like this.

  14. Benjamin says:

    The defendant handled this nut case wrong. She should have told him she stopped using her Wi-Fi and iPhone and then continued to use them. It is not like her nutcase neighbor would be able to tell if she used Wi-Fi or her iPhone.

  1. April 5, 2010

    [...] junk science, loser-pays and lawsuit lunacy [Popehat, Chicago Tribune, earlier here and [...]