Greg Wyshynski

Drunk hockey fan down a leg, up $2.33 million from NYC Transit

Greg Wyshynski
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Some of us have been inebriated before, but few of us have been "stumbling in front of an oncoming New York subway train" loaded like Dustin Dibble was back in 2006. Dibble, now 25, landed on the subway tracks after drinking for four hours while watching a hockey game at an Upper West Side bar. The N train ran him over, and he lost his leg.

What he didn't lose: His court case against NYC Transit, in which a Manhattan jury found him "35 percent responsible" for the accident but still awarded him $2.33 million. Yes, in this economy. From CNN:

According to Dibble's lawyer, Andrew Smiley, NYC Transit rather than Dibble bore primary responsibility for the accident because the subway driver had time to stop the train but did not. Smiley added that Dibble's drunkenness did not excuse the driver, who said in a court deposition that he mistook Dibble for an inert object.

And who wouldn't want to be confused for an inert object? Naturally, the hockey fan tie-in to this story has made for some interesting observations, like this one from Shane of the Quick Hit Blog: "It figures in a sport where you are awarded points for losing (in OT) that a guy could be awarded such a huge sum for losing his leg despite playing such huge role in the loss."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the jury's decision "a little incomprehensible," and NYC Transit plans to appeal according to the NY Post. But American Hockey Fan makes an excellent point in its wonderfully titled post "The Curious Case of Dustin Dibble":

Seriously, if getting drunk in a bar and watching hockey is a crime, lock me up. Plus, none of these news stories mentioned the date of the incident: April 25, 2006. Anybody remember what was going on in April of 2006? That's right, it was the return of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which had been canceled the previous year due to the lockout. I'm not saying it's not a tragedy, I'm just saying that there were a lot of guys out there who would have given their left foot to watch some playoff hockey that spring.

I'm not saying I condone public intoxication, But that's something to celebrate, people

Ah, the Disenfranchised Lockout defense. No wonder Dibble was only "35 percent responsible."

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