What's next? Going after Girl Scouts?
"We find in favor of the plaintiff's desire not to eat Thin Mints."
I hope the girls and their family can appeal, and that they get a judge who isn't a moron.
Teens' cookie deliveries crumble into $900 lawsuit
A neighbor says an anxiety attack sent her to the hospital after two girls dropped treats on her porch.
By Electa Draper
The Denver Post
Durango, Colo. -- Two teenage girls trying to perform an act of kindness for their neighbors ended up being slapped with a medical bill for $900 after one neighbor suffered an anxiety attack when they knocked on her door at 10:30 p.m. delivering homemade cookies.
The incident began July 31, 2004, when the girls, Taylor Ostergaard, 17, and Lindsey Jo Zellitti, 18, decided to skip a dance and stay home and bake cookies for their neighbors.
They were successfully sued for an unauthorized cookie drop on one porch. The deliveries consisted of half a dozen chocolate chip and sugar cookies accompanied by big hearts cut out of red or pink construction paper with the message: "Have a great night." The notes were signed, "Love, The T and L Club," code for Taylor and Lindsey.
At one of the nine scattered rural homes south of Durango where they delivered cookies that night, a 49-year-old woman became so terrified by the knocks on her door around 10:30 p.m. that she called the sheriff's department. Deputies determined that no crime had been committed.
But Wanita Renea Young ended up in the hospital emergency room the next day after suffering a severe anxiety attack she thought might be a heart attack.
A Durango judge Thursday awarded Young almost $900 to recoup her medical bills. She received nothing for pain and suffering.
"The victory wasn't sweet," Young said Thursday afternoon. "I'm not gloating about it. I just hope the girls learned a lesson."
Taylor's mother, Jill Ostergaard, said her daughter "cried and cried" after Judge Doug Walker handed down his decision in La Plata County Small Claims Court.
"She felt she was being punished for doing something nice," Jill Ostergaard said.
The judge said he didn't think the girls acted maliciously, but it was pretty late at night for them to be out. He didn't award any punitive damages.
Taylor and Lindsey declined to comment Thursday, saying only that they didn't want to say anything hurtful. Young said the girls showed "very poor judgment."
Just as dusk arrived a little after 9 p.m., Taylor and Lindsey began their deliveries. They didn't stop at houses that were dark. But where lights shone, the girls figured people were awake and in need of cookies. A kitchen light was on at Young's home.
Court records contain half a dozen letters from neighbors who said they enjoyed the unexpected treats. But Young, at home with her 18-year-old daughter and elderly mother, said she saw shadowy figures who banged and banged at her door. She thought they were burglars or some neighbors she had tangled with in the past, she said.
The girls wrote letters of apology to Young, with Taylor saying in part, "I just wanted you to know that someone cared about you and your family."
The families had offered to pay Young's medical bills if she would agree to indemnify the families against future claims. Young wouldn't sign the agreement. She said the families' apologies rang false and weren't delivered in person, so she brought the matter to court.