Jessie Dimmick/ Image from KMBC.com
If you’ve been a lawyer, or even in law school, for longer than two weeks, chances are you’ve bumped into someone complaining “how someone can break in your house and sue you if they get hurt!” Because, you know, that happened once. You read about it in the first week of law school (Katko v. Briney).1
Boogeyman plaintiffs like Mr. Katko really are an anomaly; the exception, not the rule. But a recent lawsuit in Kansas might rival the Katko case in bringing out rhetorical idiocy: a man has sued a couple he took hostage for breach of contract because the three of them had “agreed” that the couple wouldn’t tell the police. [KMBC.com]
A man who held a Kansas couple hostage in their home while fleeing from authorities is suing them, claiming that they broke an oral contract made when he promised them money in exchange for hiding him from police. The couple has asked a judge to dismiss the suit.
Jesse Dimmick of suburban Denver is serving an 11-year sentence after bursting into Jared and Lindsay Rowley’s Topeka-area home in September 2009. He was wanted for questioning in the beating death of a Colorado man and a chase had begun in in Geary County.
Dimmick alleged in his complaint that he told the couple that he was being chased and feared for his life, and the agreement to pay the couple to “hide” him was a binding oral contract. He’s asked for $235,000 in damages, mostly to pay for hospital bills from his being shot by police during his arrest.
It probably shouldn’t be much of a surprise to find out that Dimmick isn’t Lex Luthor, “the finest criminal mind of our generation.”
Neighbors have said that the couple fed Dimmick snacks and watched movies with him until he fell asleep and they were able to escape their home unharmed.
The couple’s attorney said the “contract” is invalid, if it even was a contract, because there was no agreement on price. There’s another argument that any agreement would be illegal because it would require the couple to commit the crime of obstruction of justice.
1 Lost in this person’s “recollection” of the Katko case is that he wasn’t able to sue for being injured while illegally trespassing on Briney’s property based on general negligence, but that he was shot by a spring gun booby trap.