The Curse of the Friend Zone

The phrase “I love you like a brother [or sister]” is one of the most traumatic things a person can hear. Sleepy Hollow drove home the emotional damage of being “friend zoned” with the strange case of Mary Wells, the Weeping Lady.

Weeping_FriendZone_1193There are no cases on point for “friend zoning” someone as a cause of action for emotional distress.

However, in the case of Mary Wells, we learn her jealousy for Crane saying “I love you like a brother loves a sister,” resulted in her confronting Katrina during the Revolutionary War, falling to her death, then becoming an evil spirit that would drown women interested in Ichabod Crane.

Mary’s first victim is Caroline, the nice lady from the Revolutionary War re-enactment who has taken to making shirts for Crane, plus turning butter. Mary attempted to drown Abbie, who Crane is able to rescue, which required Hawley to give Abbie CPR.

Did Hawley have a legal obligation to perform CPR on Abbie? No, there is no duty to rescue, unless there is a special relationship between the parties. Moreover, it is difficult to say a librarian would have had a duty to rescue Abbie from drowning in a magic revenge portal to the river in the library, there could have been a duty to render CPR aid since Abbie technically is a business invitee in the library.

Hawley did not have a legal duty, but his actions to perform CPR would have been protected by the New York Good Samaritan Law. As Courts have explained, “[t]he broad goal of the Good Samaritan Law is to prompt aid by people under no duty to act who otherwise might be dissuaded by the prospect of ordinary tort liability.” Miglino v Bally Total Fitness of Greater N.Y., Inc., 20 N.Y.3d 342, 348 (N.Y.2013).

Now would Crane be responsible for Mary’s murder or Caroline? No, because magical actions of revenge would be a superseding act that is simply not foreseeable for telling someone “I am not that into you.”

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Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.