An Incredible Story About Stories

, , , , , | | Legal | May 11, 2019

A few years ago, I came home from a New Year’s party, walked past my car and suddenly stopped. I did not have a convertible, but the roof looked quite, well, missing. It turns out that a huge slab of ice detached from the roof of the house I was parked under and hit my car squarely on the roof so it was lying basically flush on the back seats, essentially totaling it since it was about 20 years old and barely able to pass inspection anymore. The total worth of the car was, maybe, if I was lucky, 100 bucks. More likely, the worth was negative because it costs to take it to the dump.

I took pictures, got the police to record everything, and handed my claim for the replacement of the car to the owner of the apartment building. To my surprise, he refused to pay. I handed the whole mess to my lawyer, he said we’d win this, and off he went.

Come September, my lawyer called. We’d won, and got me 800 bucks for my car — worth, again, maybe 10). But, in his words, “those insane idiots” could not have done it worse. In the lawsuit, of course, the question arose about how could that ice slab even happen? After all, if there had a person in my car, an ice slab caving in a car roof could easily have killed them.

Turns out, the apartment building didn’t have certain gadgets on the roof that are mandatory for buildings taller than four stories to prevent such things from happening. Why didn’t it have those gadgets?

Because, according to what the town — and hence building inspectors — knew, the apartment was only two stories tall.

So, not only was the company owning it in violation of the building code — by itself something that is very expensive if you get found out — our tax guys were very interested in them suddenly having way more apartments to let than he “officially” had.

In the words of my lawyer, “Seriously, if I pulled that stunt, I’d hand you ten grand for your 20-year-old wreck of a car and tell you to shut the eff up about it.”

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