Melanie McCarthy is an asshole.

Now I don’t know Mrs. McCarthy personally, but I feel pretty confident in saying this because she’s been in the news lately for some ridiculously idiotic reasons. It seems Melanie’s daughter, Shannon Derrik, loaned her best friend, a girl named Stephanie Eick, her iPod and when the friend tried to return the iPod to Shannon it ended up being stolen out of her purse. Rather than work things out with Shannon’s parents, Mrs. McCarthy decided to sue:

Melanie McCarthy of Aurora, Shannon’s mother, sued Stephanie in DuPage County small-claims court, seeking $475 for the cost of the iPod, its case and $50 in iTunes. She claims that even though Stephanie didn’t steal the iPod, the girl was responsible for the loss.

Now in my book this is strike one against Mrs. McCarthy making her eligible for the title of asshole. If this had happened to me at that age and I went crying to my mom about it she would’ve given me that look that all mothers give when they’re trying to contemplate how one of their offspring could be so incredibly stupid and ask me a question along the lines of, “What the hell were you thinking taking your iPod to school in the first place? Let alone loaning it out to a friend!” And I’d probably end up writing it off as a painful lesson in being careful about my most prized possessions. Actually Mom would probably take the time to try and talk to my friend’s parents and things would probably get worked out though not necessarily with me getting a brand new iPod. Stephanie Eick’s parents offered to buy a refurbished iPod as a replacement and my mom probably would’ve thought that to be just fine as it would still teach me a lesson.

But this is the 21st century were people will sue their best friends at the drop of a hat and $450 is still a considerable sum of money so I suppose the lawsuit alone isn’t enough to qualify Melanie McCarthy for the title of asshole in some people’s minds.  So allow me to present strike two:

Mom turns down donated iPod – The Beacon News Online

NAPERVILLE — An anonymous benefactor has donated a new Nano to the girl whose iPod was stolen, but the girl’s mother is refusing the gift and pursuing her lawsuit against her daughter’s 14-year-old classmate.

The donor dropped off a package at the front desk of The Naperville Sun around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The colorful cardboard box decorated with a confetti design contained an iPod Nano, pink case and $50 worth of iTunes gift certificates. The donor left a letter saying that the iPod was for Shannon Derrik.

That’s right. Someone who isn’t even involved in this whole fiasco took it upon themselves to buy a brand new iPod with case and a $50 iTunes card and donate it to the girl who lost hers so there’d be no need to proceed with the idiotic lawsuit. What was Mrs. McCarthy’s reaction? Thanks, but no thanks:

Although McCarthy said Wednesday she appreciated the offer from the anonymous donor, she didn’t want to take the iPod and she is going ahead with her lawsuit.

“I think this is very generous of somebody, but I want to proceed with the litigation,” McCarthy said.

Congratulations Mrs. Melanie McCarthy, you’re a first class asshole!

31 thoughts on “Melanie McCarthy is an asshole.

  1. Hopefully the judge, or whomsoever decides on the case, will throw it out once it is shown that a replacement music doofer along with the gift certificates was offered.

    It is perfectly obvious that Mrs. Melanie McCarthy is, as you say Les, an asshole.

  2. EO: Hopefully the judge, or whomsoever decides on the case, will throw it out once it is shown that a replacement music doofer along with the gift certificates was offered.

    And charge her court costs of $1000 … LOL
    She reminds me of this silly person – no sense of humour … no sense of any type really. smile
    Sue, sue, sue. It seems to be the answer to too many issues these days.

  3. Unfortunately the papers didn’t do a good job of getting the facts straight on this story.  Melanie tried to resolve this with the family for 8 weeks before filing the small claims suit. The Eicks never offered any settlement.  In fact they threatened us with a $100,000 countersuit for harassment if we didn’t drop the suit.  Furthermore, Stepehanies first several stories, including the one she told Melanie and myself on the phone, was that she left it on the desk when Shannon was out of the room and then walked away.  She recently changed her story to putting it in Shannons purse while Shaonnon was in the room.  It’s not like Melanie is trying to make money on this, she is only trying to recover actual damages plus the court costs she had to incur because the Eichs would not take any responsibity.  We did not want this to go to court, but we did not feel that Shannon should have to save up her money again to replace an iPod that her friend was careless/negligent with.  This was afterall, a loan and not a gift to Stephanie.  When yu loan something to someone they have an obligation to take due care of that item until it’s return.  Placing an expensive iPod on the desk in a classroom full of kids and then walking away is not excercising due care.

  4. As much as we appreciated the anonymous donors offer.  The donors gift was contingent on us droping the suit. We decided that it was not appropriate to accept.  The Eicks would still not have taken any responsibility and then it would be as if we buckled down to their threats and lies.  We would have loved to accept it and offered to accept it if we could still go forward with the suit.  Then if we won the suit we would have donated the money to charity.  To get accurate reports on this story you need to read Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun Times or Eric Zorn of the Chiacgo Tribune.

  5. Here is a link to the Neil Steinberg article.

    Chicago Tribune article.

    Some common sense could have resolved the issue, especially since a replacement was offered, even if it wasn’t from the person who borrowed the ipod.

    Latest I could find on the case.

    August 24, 2006
    Schoolgirl sues friend over missing iPod
    A disagreement between two Chicago schoolgirls over a missing iPod ended up in a courtroom battle this week.

    Melanie McCarthy, mother of Shannon Derrik, aged 14, sued Stephanie Eick, also 14, over a missing iPod nano.

    Shannon is alleged to have lent her friend the iPod nano on the first day of school in June. Stephanie says she returned the iPod to Shannon’s desk after listening to a few songs – Shannon disagrees.

    The argument escalated and soon enough, both girls and their mothers ended up in court.

    Stephanie’s father, Stephen Eick, insists that his daughter returned the iPod and says he is surprised at how the disagreement has gotten out of control.

    He told The Daily Herald: “When someone goes after your daughter, you respond aggressively. We’re still flabbergasted at the whole thing.”

    Judge Dorothy French dismissed the original case on Monday saying they saying that it was legally insufficient, however a new suit was filed moments later.

    The case will be heard again on September 21st, with Ms McCarthy commenting: “If we lose, it’s not the end of the world. I know there’s more important things, but I want my daughter to know that if you feel you’ve been wronged, you should always stick up for yourself.”

    The case continues.

  6. We decided that it was not appropriate to accept.  The Eicks would still not have taken any responsibility and then it would be as if we buckled down to their threats and lies.

    Breadhead, I sure do sympathize with your plight.  I mean, it’s so important to teach other people a lesson in morality and responsibility.  Also, it’s important to force everybody in the world to understand that it was their fault and that they, not you, are completely in the wrong.

    Once you apply enough legal torture, they’ll see the error of their ways, and become better people for it.  You are truly making the world a better place.

  7. I took the time to read the Neil Steinberg article (thanks to EyesOnly for the link) and I have to say, Breadhead, that it doesn’t exactly do much to improve my opinion of the situation. Based on that article it seems I was incorrect to say that Stephanie was Shannon’s best friend and that just makes the fact that she loaned her the iPod that much more idiotic.

    The facts continue to be that A) this is still an idiotic thing to waste the court’s time on and B) someone offered Shannon a free replacement and you opted to go ahead with the lawsuit because you feel there’s been some sort of great injustice here, and C) she shouldn’t have had the iPod in school to begin with.

    You want to teach someone a little personal responsibility then I’d suggest you start with Shannon and impress upon her how it’s unwise to take expensive luxury items to school that you don’t need for the learning process and then hand them to people you barely consider to be friends.

  8. BreadHead: In fact they threatened us …

    Ah, so you’re the Breadwinner – the Head of the family so to speak.  smirk

    Bread: … to replace an iPod that her friend was careless/negligent with.

    You’re stretching this ‘her friend’ bit aren’t you? smile

    Head: The Eicks would still not have taken any responsibility …

    I agree with DoF.
    You were put on this planet by Dawg solely to teach lessons, to fuck other people. wink

    Dick: Then if we won the suit we would have donated the money to charity.

    After *cough-cough* expenses …  LOL
    I wonder, Richard, if your opponent wins will you force them to give the money to charity??
    Will you sue them again, if they don’t? 
    Shit, I make me laugh. LOL LOL LOL

  9. the iPod was allowed in school.  It was the last day and the kids were waiting to graduate so the rules were more lax.
    When I was growing up we loaned things amongst friends all the time and never thought twice about it.  To say they have no responsibility to return the item just means no one can lend anything anymore without fear of never seeing it again.
    Also, to say that it’s Shannon’s fault for bringing it is blaming the victim for the crime don’t you think?
    Also, I’d like to reiterate that we are only going after damages.  This whole thing has been grossly blown out of proportion.

  10. Breadhead writes…

    the iPod was allowed in school.  It was the last day and the kids were waiting to graduate so the rules were more lax.

    That’s irrelevant. There were plenty of things my school allowed that my parents didn’t because they didn’t feel it was appropriate.

    When I was growing up we loaned things amongst friends all the time and never thought twice about it.

    Based on the article you mentioned the girls were merely acquaintances that knew each other because of class, but didn’t really hang out together outside of that environment—hardly the basis for the kind of trust your daughter exhibited when handing out the iPod—and the other girl did try to return it after which point it was stolen. It seems that either she has a very poor grasp of friendship or she has a poor grasp of the value of the things she holds dear to her heart.

    I’d probably loan my iPod to my best friend, but then I know that if I weren’t in the room when he wanted to return it he’d just hold onto it and make an effort to catch up with me later and hand it over rather than just setting it back on my desk and hoping for the best. I wouldn’t just hand it out to a classmate I barely considered a friend because that person probably wouldn’t be aware of how much value I hold for the iPod. That’s because I understand the relative amount of trust each relationship should have and I understand the value of the iPod to me personally.

    To say they have no responsibility to return the item just means no one can lend anything anymore without fear of never seeing it again.

    There’s always the chance that you won’t get something back when you lend it out whether by accident or design, that’s part of the risk you take in lending it out. So you should be certain the person you’re lending something you consider important to is likely to return it or at least likely to try and replace it should they lose/break it. If you’re not sure of that then you shouldn’t lend it out.

    Again, based on the article you mentioned, Shannon exhibited very poor judgment.

    Also, to say that it’s Shannon’s fault for bringing it is blaming the victim for the crime don’t you think?

    Not really. She made several bad decisions (bringing it to school, loaning it to someone she barely knew, leaving the room before getting it back, etc.) so she certainly shares fault for the loss.

    It’s true she is the victim of a crime, but you’re not suing the person who committed the crime. Of course you don’t know who stole the iPod so that makes suing the perpetrator difficult. Shifting the blame, however, isn’t a form of justice.

    Also, I’d like to reiterate that we are only going after damages.  This whole thing has been grossly blown out of proportion.

    Indeed it has been blown out of proportion and you’d be the person who’s responsible for that by filing a lawsuit over it. If it’s really not that big of a deal, as you seem to imply here that it isn’t, then why the lawsuit? Do you file lawsuits over minor quibbles all the time? Should I expect a visit from your lawyer for having the audacity to criticize your lack of judgment?

  11. Only the Eicks have a lawyer in this case.  We do not.  It is, after all, a small claim.  The Eicks would apparently rather spend hundreds of dollars on an attorney and change their stories rather than admit their daughter used bad judgement by placing it on a desk and walking away.

    Shannon and Stephanie weren’t best friends or anything; that’s true.  They did hang out occassionally outisde of school.  Shannon has a good heart and I guess now she’s paying for it.

  12. We were actually contacted by Judge MAthis.  Melanie refused it for the same reason as she refused the donated iPod.  The negligent party would again be out of any responsibilty for anything.

    As a side note, Melanie and I really appreciate that you have let me at least defend ourselves here on this site.  Even though you don’t agree with us you have let us have a voice here.

  13. Welcome to the internet, Breadhead. Although I have to admit, there are a number of forums I’ve seen that frequently ban members who disagree and persistently make counterpoints. The more difficult it becomes to admit those, the more likely the person making them is silenced.

    I don’t understand where morality or responsibility fits in here. Really, even if the Eicks are assholes, you don’t have to put them in their place. Heck, if you can recoup your costs, you can simply swear on non-contact with them. Why is pinning them with responsibility important if you can pick up and move on?

  14. Only the Eicks have a lawyer in this case.  We do not.  It is, after all, a small claim.  The Eicks would apparently rather spend hundreds of dollars on an attorney and change their stories rather than admit their daughter used bad judgement by placing it on a desk and walking away.

    If it’s such a small claim why make a mountain out of it.

    Bad judgement, how about the bad judgement in taking the doofer into the school in the first place, where they aren’t allowed, or how about the bad judgement of handing the doofer to someone who is only a casual acquaintance.

    Sure the Eicks daughter also used bad judgement in leaving the item in question unattended.

    Then there is the issue of the thieving little bastard who actually stole it, the person that everyone concerned should be going after, but I suppose that’s a minor concern when you have to prove your point, no matter who gets hurt in the process.

  15. Apparently there are two young teenagers, each acting their age, i.e. irresponsibly, and based on what little factual knowledge I have of the events at least one set of parents I would not wish as a role model for my own kids.

    Assuming BH is who he or she claims, if you had invoked legal counsel and assuming counsel had encouraged you to file suit in the first place, the very first thing you would have been told is to shut the fuck up and not make public statements about ongoing litigation unless such statements are prepared for or vetted by counsel.

    I am not lawyer and haven’t even played one on T.V. – I did play myself on T.V. once, but that’s another story. Having said, in a lawsuit there are issues of fact and issues of law to decide; while I have no clue about a small claims court, in a civil trial issues of fact are otherwise decided by a jury and issues of law by a judge. I can’t speak to either of these, but there is a third component – when filing suit, you have to ask for a specific relief.

    By refusing to accept the gift of a new iPod and iTunes certificate (and I’m not convinced that you can’t get these titles back at the cost of contacting Apple’s customer support in the worst case), you seem to have waived any entitlement to monetary relief. What you are after is to punish the other party above and in excess of recovering the replacement value of the articles lost and your public statements of are conceivably sufficient to countersue you for harrassment, abuse of the court system, and causing mental anguish.

    If this case were in front of me, I’d be predisposed to dismiss it with prejudice and stick you with the cost…

  16. BH: Shannon has a good heart and I guess now she’s paying for it.

    “I guess now she’s paying for it?

  17. LJ, she may also grow up to be one of those persons with a lack of common sense and a concomitant exaggerated sense of entitlement, i.e. everything not going her way is somebody else’s fault.

    Tell you what – if a court will actually hear the case, let’s try to get a transcript of the ruling and read it together. I’ll bring the beer if you take care of the popcorn.

  18. Thanks Elwed but I’ll bring the beer. smile
    It’s almost midday. I just cracked my second one. 
    Mmm mmm – nice and smooth, just like a Merlot or Shiraz. wink

    Hey, Breadman, I just had an awful thought.
    If the peer pressure becomes a bit too much for Shannon she may contemplate suicide.
    Have you spoken to her about it?
    I’m serious.
    Kids have suicided over ‘much less’.
    I did over 10 years telephone counselling and potential suicides were common. The one thing we were taught to impress upon the caller was that suicide is a ‘permanent solution to a temporary situation’.
    Personally, I’ve used suicide as the ultimate ‘get out of gaol free card’ and worked back from there … so far. smile
    Hope Melanie doesn’t read this – she may sue me for thoughts like this into the ether.  LOL

  19. We talk to Shannon everyday about this.  Shannon was the one who wanted to go on with this claim and we warned her of the benefits and pitfalls of doing so.  We have also let her know that it is okay to drop if at anytime it becomes too much for her.

    Because of the poor reporting of this event we have found ourselves in a position of running a PR defense.  Shannons class mates have not treated her badly at all.  However, she reports there is a new phrase at her school.  It’s called being Eicked.  In other words, don’t loan or you won’t get it back.

  20. BH writes…

    As a side note, Melanie and I really appreciate that you have let me at least defend ourselves here on this site.  Even though you don’t agree with us you have let us have a voice here.

    Whether I agree with your or not you can be assured that you can speak your mind here. The only comments I ever delete are those that are comment spam or ones that contribute absolutely nothing of merit to the conversation.

    As for the who iPod fiasco I still think there’s plenty of blame to go around on this one starting with Shannon herself. This could’ve been an opportunity to impart a lesson, but alas the wrong lesson is being imparted.

  21. And that is where the riff occurs on the issue.  The lesson we are trying to teach Shannon is that if you have a dispute don’t grab a bunch of your friends and beat the crap out of the offending party yet still stand up for your rights.  We are also teaching her to only use the courts if everything else fails.  It’s our first suit and hopefully our last.  I hope that she takes to heart what we are trying to teach her and I don’t believe she will become some suing psychopath.  I think there is just enough stress involved in this to realize that it really is a last case scenario.

    The father of the other girl has said Stephanie has learned her lesson.  That she had lost an iPod before.  We try to figure out what lesson she has learned.  She loses her iPod, loses her friends iPod, and then her dad buys her a nicer more expensive iPod.

    Of the two girls, I’d worry about Stephanie.

  22. Hmph. Were I to find my family in the same situation, there’d be plenty of conversations going on between parents and kids alike about choices and consequences; and a couple of girls who’d be washing cars, cleaning house or doing other chores to earn enough money to replace the missing iPod, and a $25 reward to any kid in school whose info led to finding the real thief. 

    I’m with Les in that from what little “evidence” there is, it seems to me that EVERYONE involved shares responsibility for their poor choices.  As the parent, it was your choice to allow Shannon to bring such an expensive piece of equipment to school (knowing full well how inconsiderate, thoughtless, irresponsible and even downright awful most middle school kids tend to be) which started this chain of unfortunate events.  Apparently you also never impressed upon Shannon that she should never lend anything to anyone unless she’s willing to risk its never being returned, or being broken when it IS returned… although I’m sure she’s learning that lesson through this fiasco.

    Jr. High and High School is difficult enough for kids these days without the added stress of being put in the public eye for bringing a lawsuit against another student.  I hope you’re preparing Shannon for the inevitable snide remarks and prejudice she’ll undoubtedly encounter throughout the remainder of her school years… teenagers can be such assholes sometimes.

  23. OB: … a $25 reward …

    Yeah, but how much more psychologically (and devilishly) enjoyable would it be to offer $1,000 reward?
    They’d be lined up to dob each other in. wink

  24. Looks like Consi’s post (and perhaps a few others) was lost in the move. Here’s what I can reconstruct:

    By refusing to accept the gift of a new iPod and iTunes certificate (and I’m not convinced that you can’t get these titles back at the cost of contacting Apple’s customer support in the worst case), you seem to have waived any entitlement to monetary relief.

    This completely ignores the collateral source rule which in most states prohibits a defendant from introducing evidence that the plaintiff received any benefits from sources outside the dispute.

    Without regard to the moral rightness or wrongness of the parties, it appears to me that Shannon stands on very strong legal ground. In this case Shannon should likely be considered the bailor of the ipod and Stephanie would likely be the bailee.  When a bailor requests return of the bailed chattel the bailee is liable for the return of the property.  It seems pretty straightforward to me.

    The above is simply an opinion and is not to be construed as legal advice or to in any way be misconstrued as creating any sort of attorney-client relationship of any sort.  If you need an attorney you are to pay overpriced fees to the attorney of your choosing and are not to consider any musings above as to constitute free legal advice as no attorney would ever give anything free to anybody for any reason.

  25. The above is simply an opinion and is not to be construed as legal advice or to in any way be misconstrued as creating any sort of attorney-client relationship of any sort.  If you need an attorney you are to pay overpriced fees to the attorney of your choosing and are not to consider any musings above as to constitute free legal advice as no attorney would ever give anything free to anybody for any reason.

    Best legal disclaimer EVER!!!  LOL

  26. This was a mistake and mistaken identity. Please disregard the comments. I apologize for posting this comment. Please accept my apology. grin

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