Court of Petty Appeals: UVa Law Students v. Anonymous Inconsiderate Parker

The Court of Petty Appeals is the highest appellate jurisdiction court at UVa Law. The Court has the power to review any and all decisions, conflicts, and disputes that arise involving, either directly, indirectly, or tangentially, the Law School or its students. The Court is comprised of four associate justices and one Chief Justice. Opinions shall be released periodically and only in the official court reporter: the Virginia Law Weekly. Please email a brief summary of any and all conflicts to jmg3db@virginia.edu.

UVa Law Students v. Anonymous Inconsiderate Parker, 

697 U.Va. 150 (2017)

HOPKIN, J. announced the opinion of a unanimous Court. 

 Dumbass parks his priceless Honda Accord to protect its resale value Photo courtesy of Kim Hopkin.

Dumbass parks his priceless Honda Accord to protect its resale value
Photo courtesy of Kim Hopkin.

Today’s opinion considers appropriate remedies against a certain, anonymous1 D3 parker (hereinafter referred to as “Inconsiderate”) who insists on double parking every day. Adhering to the Goluboff Suggestion, the Court notes it has jurisdiction because the plaintiffs and defendant are law students, and the area is adjacent to the Law School. As much as the Court would like to see criminal charges brought against this delinquent,2 the case before us is a civil suit arising out of the tort of intentional irritation. While this tort is related to the intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), it does not involve a horse or a “weak female fainting,” making IIED unavailable for plaintiffs.3 Instead, the tort at issue here is intentional irritation, which is whatever 1Ls put in their generic torts outline plus an element of douchebaggery, which this Court has frequently recognized. See Student Body of UVa v. Thimpson Sacher, 697 U.Va. 100 (2017). The trial court was correct in determining that plaintiffs met all the elements for this cause of action, but erred in dismissing plaintiffs’ right to damages when enjoining future use of the D3 lot by the defendant.

The central facts are not in dispute; indeed the Court’s honorable Justices have been complaining about this on their GroupMe for weeks.4 Inconsiderate consistently parks his silver Honda Accord for his morning classes on the north side of the parking lot with his rear passenger-side tire over the line.5 After conducting a stakeout that lasted longer than the Court is proud to admit, I determined that Inconsiderate is not, in fact, chronically late but rather saunters in after purposefully parking his car in such a way. In the absence of an adequate excuse, Inconsiderate had a duty to park correctly and breached that duty with his douchebaggery, directly causing irritation of other students and damaging them by reserving a parking spot solely for one of his tires. Furthermore, the pompous disregard shown by defendant when he chose a spot close to the front of the parking lot means the trial court did not abuse its discretion by finding the defendant liable of douchebaggery and at fault by clear and convincing evidence.  

However, in the interest of fairness, a review of the procedural posture is warranted. Upon witnessing the intentional irritation tort, the Court considered all options and chose to rally the people to confront this hooligan. Unfortunately, all the students approached “had a lot of work to do” and were “really worried about the Court’s fixation on this issue.” So Justice Hopkin, in her individual capacity as a 2L, decided the best option was to commence a class action suit.6 The trial court, while certainly sympathetic, dismissed the damages portion of the case because it “isn’t that scared” of Justice Hopkin and, apparently, doesn’t take bribes.7 The Court of Petty Appeals granted certiorari to remedy this decision. It would have been a summary reversal,8 but the Court decided to take this chance to fully shame both the trial court and Inconsiderate per Professor Joseph Fore’s Treatise on Legal Methods and Rules (publication forthcoming). (“#Appellatetwitter”).

The Court has considered appropriate remedies for a similar issue in Ingles, et al. v. Parkers of Arlington Blvd. and City of Charlottesville, 251 U.Va. 900 (2017). (Plaintiffs “may bring a suit in our lower courts for money damages and injunctive relief . . . Learn to park.”) Therefore, damages are available. This Court, unwilling to trust the traitors in the lower courts, will determine the appropriate amount of damages without remanding. Since the defendant has continually used two parking spaces under the auspices of one parking pass, special compensatory damages are assessed at $576 (the price of an additional D3 parking pass).9 Additionally, plaintiffs have asked for $576 in pain and suffering damages as they feel a parking spot has been stolen from them. The Court is giving plaintiffs the full amount because the Court feels it is fair.10 

Furthermore, the element of douchebaggery lends the case to punitive damages. This is allowed under Davies v. Wednesday Keg,12 U.Va. 781 (2015) (“It doesn’t get much more petty than being punitive”) and Smith v. Wade, 461 U.S. 30 (1983) (Reckless indifference can support a finding of punitive damages without proof of malicious intent). Since the Supreme Court has determined that entering punitive damages higher than ten times the amount of compensatory damages violates the Constitution, plaintiffs request $11,520. See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408 (2003) (“[F]ew awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages . . . will satisfy due process”). However, the Supreme Court’s perception of fairness and equity does not bind us. We have the inherent authority to decide for ourselves what is punitive and what is fair. Therefore, we approve punitive damages in the amount of $15,000. The Court takes this chance to restate one of its cardinal and timeless principles: Learn to park.

With regard to the prospective relief granted by the trial court, the Court thinks a mere award of damages doesn’t go far enough. This Court is charged with protecting law students from the continuation of tortious behavior, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. The Court determined that enjoining D3 lot parking while leaving Blue lot parking available to the defendant would only protect a subclass of law students. Though not facially discriminatory towards financially responsible law students who choose to save money by schlepping a half mile, it would have a disparate impact by forcing only Blue lot parkers to endure his tortious behavior. We, therefore, enjoin Inconsiderate from parking in both the D3 and Blue lots. Inconsiderate has other options, including parking on Arlington Boulevard or Millmont Street taking other forms of transportation,11 or never traveling again.

As for Inconsiderate’s claim that Justice Hopkin should recuse herself from this case due to her passionate involvement, the Court refers to Rule of Petty Procedure 1: “We do what we want.” 

MANN, J. concurring. 

While Justice Hopkin nobly takes on the burden of being regarded as histrionic in her opinion, I fully share her outrage and applaud her restraint. Passion is not to be minimized as a source of judicial purpose, and certainly there is nothing that rouses the passions of competent motorists more than the errant parker. It is hard to describe the outright disregard for parallel lines that Inconsiderate has perpetrated, not to mention the subsequent inability of anyone to park alongside, or for that matter, down the continuing column of spaces. Such wanton recklessness12 of the repeated acts of crooked parking cannot be tolerated by this Court.

Though I agree with the court that the punishment fits the tort, Inconsiderate should thank his lucky stars to only be facing a fine of $15,000 and a parking lot ban. Had Justice Hopkin or I caught him in the act, he would be followed continuously by two bell-ringing banshees yelling “Shame!” Plus the other stuff.

GOLDMAN, C.J. concurs.

Honestly, if we didn’t let Justice Hopkin write this “unanimous” opinion, she would have quit the paper, and then we wouldn’t have anyone in charge of getting us pizza for our Monday editing meetings.13 Choices were made.

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knh3zd@virginia.edu

1 Because I don’t actually know his name. Since no one argued the appropriateness of public shaming, the Court saves that question for another day. 

2 I had Professor Bonnie for Crim, so I’m not clear on how the Model Penal Code factors into this, but I do know that Inconsiderate is insane. #FreeJoyBaker

3 See Abraham v. Hopkin Torts Final Exam, and companion case Abraham v. Hopkin Torts II Final Exam (“My understanding of why she signed up for another semester is on par with her understanding of basic torts concepts.”).

4 Mostly Justice Hopkin, but other Justices have responded with variations of “ruff stuff” and “Kim, really, you need to find a hobby.”

5 Like, wayyyy over the line. 

6 You would be surprised how easy it is to have students sign things in exchange for free food. Actually, you probably aren’t. We’ve seen liberals at Fed Soc events just for the Chick-fil-A.  

7 Justice Hopkin will be bringing this up in her PR class next semester for vindication. 

8 Because Professor Jeffries insists those are the most insulting.

9 University of Virginia Parking and Transportation, Parking and Transportation Service Rates: 2017/2018 Service Rates, http://www.virginia.edu/parking/information/rates.html#permits.

10 I think this is allowed. And if it’s not, it should be. 

11 This Court WILL protect bicycling commuter students if he chains his bike incorrectly. Just let CoPA know at editor@lawweekly.org. 

12 There can’t possibly be a soul stupid enough to park so badly with negligence alone. 

13 Which happen every Monday at 6 PM in SL279!