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New Jersey creates new cause of action for texting

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I write in the Washington Examiner:

Eighteen-year-old Kyle Best was driving his pickup on a New Jersey road in 2009 when he crossed a double yellow line and sideswiped a motorcycle. The married couple he hit, Linda and David Kubert, each lost part of a leg.

Best was texting moments before the accident. The Kuberts sued not only Best, but also Shannon Colonna, a 17 year-old girl who had sent Best one text during his drive.

A New Jersey court held that Colonna was not liable, because there was no evidence she knew Best was driving when she texted him. That should have ended the inquiry, but two of the three judges went further and established a new legal rule for future New Jersey cases: A remote sender of text could be liable if he or she knew the recipient was driving at the time the text was sent.

Read the whole thing to see why it's a bad idea on multiple levels. More: Overlawyered; Tabarrok.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


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