[Guest post by DRJ]
Last October, 88-year-old Ohio resident Edna Jester decided she had enough of her neighbor’s children leaving toys on her property, so she refused to return a $15 football that landed in her yard. As Jules Crittenden eloquently explained, she ended up arrested for petty theft:
“Cranky old dear gets tried [sic] of kids’ ball landing in her yard. OK, these things happen. Cranky old dear takes ball, refuses to give it back, even when cops ask her repeatedly. Cranky old dear gets arrested.”
Neighbors said there were two sides to the story and the prosecutor may have agreed since the case was later dropped. Now Edna has sued her neighbors:
“An 89-year-old Cincinnati area woman famously arrested for holding on to a neighbor kid’s football is now suing the boy’s parents. The lawsuit filed by Edna Jester’s attorney in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court claims she has suffered emotional distress because the next-door family’s footballs and other playthings keep landing in her yard.”
The neighbors, Paul and Kelly Tanis, say they have 5 kids and can’t afford a lawyer.
It’s a shame these neighbors can’t find a better way to resolve their disputes but I guess filing a lawsuit is better than some alternatives people choose. If possible, I’d send the case to mediation. They need to deal with the current issues but they also need a framework to avoid problems in the future.