Disability Intellectual disabilities Japan

Oita District Court rejects damages claim after apartment manager died after altercation with disabled resident

"On August 22nd, the Oita District Court ruled in a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs, were seeking damages totaling approximately 53.64 million yen. The case concerned an incident that occurred in 2014, when an unemployed man with an intellectual disability aged 42 and the caretaker managing the apartment where he lived, who was aged 62, both died following an altercation."

Written with extracts from The Tokyo Shimbun & Nishi Nippon Shimbun

August 22nd 2019

OITA – On August 22nd, the Oita District Court ruled in a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs, were seeking damages totaling approximately 53.64 million yen. The case concerned an incident that occurred in 2014, when an unemployed man with an intellectual disability aged 42 and the caretaker managing the apartment where he lived (62), both died following  an altercation.

According to the complaint, the disabled man and his parents who were in their 70s lived in a condominium, and the mother asked the apartment manager to search for their disabled son who went missing since October 31st  2014. The apartment manager found the man on the stairs near the second floor and tried to bring him back, but the man threw the manager from the stairs near the corridor on the second floor of the apartment. The apartment caretaker suffered a brain contusion and died.

The family of the apartment manager claimed that the parents had an “obligation to supervise” under the Civil Code, which stipulates liability for damages of incompetent persons, but Judge Sato said, “There is no legal obligation to watch even if they live together.”  Furthermore, based on the differences in age and physical strength  between parents, who are in their 70s and their son, was well as taking into account that the man was often violent towards his parents, it was determined that parents did not have a duty of supervision to prevent what their son did.

The man was not charged with causing serious injury as it was decided that he could not be held responsible. He later died in November.

On August 22nd Judge Kenji Sato at the Oita District Court rejected a request seeking damages totaling approximately 53.64 million yen saying that “the parents were not custodians and were not obligated to supervise”.

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