Tuesday, February 08, 2005

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, Part II

An update on our recent case in Colorado, with a woman who's terrified of Good Samaritans...

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."
I'm surprised this woman doesn't sue everyone who ever calls her. What lesson were these girls supposed to learn? That some people will sue over anything?


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