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November 27, 2013

Cameras Trip Up a Banana Peel Lawsuit

A lawsuit claiming a man slipped on a banana peel in an elevator was dismissed when video evidence showed the man dropped the peel himself. The plaintiff actually looked at the camera three times before proceeding with his performance.

He is now facing second-degree fraud charges.

The Washington Post reports:

About 9 p.m. on Aug. 8, [Maurice] Owens could be seen going into an empty elevator at the station.

He paces around a bit, then glances up into the elevator’s camera. More pacing. Another glance at the camera. In fact, in the video, which is about 90 seconds long, Owens is seen looking into the camera at least three times.

Toward the end of the video, as the elevator doors open, Owens can be seen flipping something onto the floor behind him. According to a Metro Transit Police report, “this object was later identified as a banana peel.”

In a dramatic gesture, Owens falls to the ground — half his body inside the elevator, half outside.

The agency receives about 225 claims per month, and fewer than half result in a settlement.

In addition to transit agencies, companies are investing money into video equipment, not as a crime deterrent but as protection from frivolous lawsuits. One small business owner spent over $250,000 to install cameras throughout his grocery store, and video evidence from a trolley company kept a group of passengers from cashing in after a minor collision.

Visit FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org for more stories on abusive and frivolous litigation.

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