Because there simply isn't enough litigation in this country...
DURANGO, Colo. (Reuters) - A Colorado judge ordered two teen-age girls to pay about $900 for the distress a neighbor said they caused by giving her home-made cookies adorned with paper hearts.
The pair were ordered to pay $871.70 plus $39 in court costs after neighbor Wanita Renea Young, 49, filed a lawsuit complaining that the unsolicited cookies, left at her house after the girls knocked on her door, had triggered an anxiety attack that sent her to the hospital the next day.
Taylor Ostergaard, then 17, and Lindsey Jo Zellitte, 18, paid the judgment on Thursday after a small claims court ruling by La Plata County Court Judge Doug Walker, a court clerk said on Friday.
The girls baked cookies as a surprise for several of their rural Colorado neighbors on July 31 and dropped off small batches on their porches, accompanied by red or pink paper hearts and the message: "Have a great night."
The Denver Post newspaper reported on Friday that the girls had decided to stay home and bake the cookies rather than go to a dance where there might be cursing and drinking.
It reported that six neighbors wrote letters entered as evidence in the case thanking the girls for the cookies.
But Young said she was frightened because the two had knocked on her door at about 10:30 p.m. and run off after leaving the cookies.
She went to a hospital emergency room the next day, fearing that she had suffered a heart attack, court records said.
The judge awarded Young her medical costs, but did not award punitive damages. He said he did not think the girls had acted maliciously but that 10:30 was fairly late at night for them to be out.
And a follow-up:
DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - Two teenage girls who got in trouble for surprising their neighbors with homemade cookies will not have to pay nearly $1,000 in medical bills for a woman who says she was so startled that she had to go to the hospital.
Radio station KOA-AM of Denver raised more than $1,900 from listeners Friday to pay the girls' $930.78 fine. The rest of the money will go to a charity dedicated to victims of the Columbine High School massacre.
The story unfolded when teens Taylor Ostergaard, 17, and Lindsey Jo Zellitti, decided to bake chocolate chip and sugar cookies and place them outside their neighbors' doors with large red or pink construction-paper hearts that carried the message, "Have a great night" and were signed with their first initials: "Love, The T and L Club."
The trouble began when they approached the home of Wanita Renea Young, 49. Young said she heard someone banging on the door of her rural home late in the evening. She went to the door and saw "shadowy figures" but they refused to answer when she called out to them.
The teens said they did not answer when the woman called out because they wanted the treats to be a surprise.
Young said she was so frightened, she spent the night at her sister's home, then went to the hospital the next morning because she was still shaking and had an upset stomach.
The teens offered to pay Young's medical bills but she insisted on going to small claims court. Judge Doug Walker, after hearing the teens' explanation, awarded medical costs but declined to order punitive damages.
"The victory wasn't sweet," Young said. "I'm not gloating about it. I just hope the girls learned a lesson."
Meanwhile, Richard Ostergaard, father of Taylor, got a restraining order against Young's husband, Herb, in county court, claiming he continues to make harassing telephone calls to the Ostergaard residence.
Wanita Young said, "This has turned into quite a fiasco. It's something that never should have happened and it's just devastating. My phone hasn't stopped ringing. My life has been threatened and I'll probably have to move out of town."
Just move out of the country, you dumb bitch.