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Author Topic: Disagreement over texting at movie theater leads to assault charge
System Notices
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 - posted 07-31-2011 09:50 PM      Profile for System Notices         Edit/Delete Post 
Disagreement over texting at movie theater leads to assault charge

Source: star-telegram.com

quote:
Meet Dale Fout and Brenda Godwin. One weekday in April, they both went to a movie theater in Grapevine. Sat a row apart. Didn't know each other.

By coincidence, they were born in the same year, two days apart. Both are 54. Fout, a marketing consultant, describes himself as a 220-pound "pretty big guy. I'm broad. I'm not fat. Used to play football." Godwin says she is a 136-pound skin care specialist. Here's how they met in the theater.

Her side

"He had his phone out. The light was shining at me. I'm thinking, 'He's going to turn it off.'" But he didn't. 'OK, this is ridiculous.' So I reached over and tapped him on the shoulder. It was very bright. I was only trying to get his attention. He whipped around and said, 'Don't ever touch me.' I was a little taken aback. 'I wouldn't have touched you if you didn't have your phone out.'

"He jumps up and whirls around towards me and says, 'I am charging you with assault,' and he flew out of the theater."

His side

"I got a text, and I responded to it because it was something important. It was something that was on a deadline situation, OK. I held it against my chest purposely where I could barely see it. ... I could text but hide the majority of the light coming from the phone.

"She said something. I couldn't make it out. That's why I turned. She was probably saying something like, 'Get off your phone.' I turned, and she pushed. She just happened to push my neck at the time my neck was in an awkward position. Kinda like having a little fender bender, and you get a little whiplash in your neck, you know."

Police report

"Fout advised he had been assaulted and his neck was in pain," officer Emily Hays wrote. Fout was treated for neck pain by Grapevine paramedics. "Fout said a female who was sitting behind him in Theater 8 grabbed him by the shoulder because he was texting during the movie," Hays wrote. "Fout said he got up, walked out of the theater and asked management to call police."

Godwin told police, Hays wrote, that "she tapped him on the shoulder with one finger to ask him to stop texting. Godwin advised the male then jumped out of his chair and ran outside of the theater.

"Fout stated he was offended by the contact and desires prosecution. Godwin was issued citation #P0039176 for assault by contact."

Police comment

"We're the middle person on this," Lt. Todd Dearing says. "Assault by contact is usually not something like this. It's usually a shove." Because police didn't witness the incident, a ticket was written. It's a misdemeanor, the equivalent of a traffic ticket. "We stay neutral in these things. That's what the courts are for."

The legal side

The common thinking is that in Texas, unwanted touching can justify an assault charge. That's true, but there are requirements.

The law says: "A person commits an offense if the person ... intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative."

Jeff Bellin, SMU assistant professor of law, says that a tap is not an assault but that a shove may be.

"It would be a jury question, but I think most people would agree that tapping someone on the shoulder, even if you don't know them, is normal. We expect that kind of interaction in our everyday lives."

A jury would have to decide which person to believe. Fout's injury would be key. He says his neck hurts "a little bit. I'm seeing a chiropractor. It's not like she knocked me to the floor. ... The therapist said, 'Yeah, she put a knot right there.' A tap on the shoulder isn't going to cause that."

Godwin says, "If he hurt his neck, that's probably because of the way he whipped around."

Because Godwin lives in Richmond, Va., she said it would be too expensive to return and fight the charge. So she paid a $260 fine.

What should you do?

The incident occurred at Cinemark Tinseltown, whose policy is to give texters a chance to behave. If they don't, they are removed and given a refund or a rain check.

"If they are texting, we ask them to return to the theater at a time when they are less busy and can enjoy the movie," Cinemark spokesman James Meredith says.

Watchdog tip: Although Cinemark says it sends employees into each theater every 20-30 minutes to check behavior, why wait? Go outside and talk to a staffer about the problem. Let that person do the deed.



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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

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 - posted 07-31-2011 11:07 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That guy is a pussy if a woman can hurt him with next to no effort. He needs to lose his man card. He should be mightily embarrassed. And now everyone knows how fragile Dale Fout really is.

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Monte L Fullmer
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 - posted 08-01-2011 01:03 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's basically the rule: if a patron has problems with another, they should come out and get ones that are employeed of that location. Don't put themselves in that form of danger.

Danged society: so Sue-happy nowdays, and don't live in Texas - you might get slapped with a lawsuit by looking at someone and shaking their hand.

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Martin McCaffery
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 - posted 08-01-2011 08:57 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As they (according to cartoons) say in Texas: "Hangin's too good for him."

There should be a law that if you take out your damn phone in a darkened theatre any other patron should be allowed to bludgeon you.

Oh, oh, his phone call was "important." He was on a "deadline." He blocked out the "majority" of the light.

Screw him and ban him from the theatre. The theatre should send Brenda a check to cover her fine and a lifetime pass.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 08-01-2011 11:52 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm with Martin. If his call was so damn important, why didn't he go out of the theatre to respond to it, where he wouldn't be distracted?

I keep thinking that texting-in-theatres will eventually become a social no-no, like smoking has. The fact that most people DO try to hide their lighted phone is evidence that this might be happening. It's just too bad they're so drug-addicted to the phone that they can't just turn it off.

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Martin McCaffery
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 - posted 08-01-2011 12:46 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'd also like to point out the age of this guy. 54! Same age as me. We hear so much about this being a problem with kids, but I think this illustrates nicely that while kids can be stupid, adults are jerks.

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Chris Slycord
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From: 퍼항시, 경상푹도, South Korea
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 - posted 08-01-2011 01:16 PM      Profile for Chris Slycord   Email Chris Slycord   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmmm...

I'm curious to know how much prior treatment this guy has received for his neck, because that would give more insight into why A) such a small action would make him be in such pain, if he had a pre-existing condition or B) if he was already currently being treated for a neck problem and is just using this as a way to get into paying for nothing.

Also, the Chiropractor in question described it as just being a knot, which doesn't give us any idea how big/extensive it is. For instance, I'm sure a massage therapist and/or chiropractor could find some knots in my neck and yet I didn't get hit by anyone, although those knots would be pretty small. And if he only describes it as being a knot, it seems pretty likely that nothing happened other than that since otherwise the guy would mention other results from his physical exam and/or x-rays.

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Joe Elliott
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 - posted 08-01-2011 01:50 PM      Profile for Joe Elliott   Email Joe Elliott   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I you read the comments on the original page, they have already posted his info, his dads info, and there are several people 'saying' that they plan on some retribution. I though we were a roudy lot here, those people are ready to lynch him.

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David M. Leugers
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 - posted 08-03-2011 07:44 AM      Profile for David M. Leugers   Email David M. Leugers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am sure the Chiropractor said there was a "knot" was so that he wouldn't be sued by this dick for malpractice... Anyone who even pulls out their cell phone inside the theater deserves what they get.

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Chris Slycord
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 - posted 08-03-2011 11:05 AM      Profile for Chris Slycord   Email Chris Slycord   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: David M. Leugers
I am sure the Chiropractor said there was a "knot" was so that he wouldn't be sued by this dick for malpractice
I'm sure you have no idea what you're talking about. Even if the guy found no knot or anything, he wouldn't be liable for doing an evaluation on a guy who came in saying that his neck hurt.

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David M. Leugers
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 - posted 08-03-2011 09:03 PM      Profile for David M. Leugers   Email David M. Leugers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, you got me on that one Chris. Please explain to us all so I will know, what exactly is a "knot". I obviously don't understand medical issues, as I never would have guessed that a chiropractor is the top diagnostic medical resource for determining the extent of neck injuries. Apparently you know this guy went for a diagnosis instead of looking to build a case where he received "treatment" for his "injury". What do you call treatment by a chiropractor when there is no problem? A massage. Ever hear of to a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail? I was being sarcastic in my previous message, apparently I need to be more clear in the future.

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Chris Slycord
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 - posted 08-04-2011 08:59 AM      Profile for Chris Slycord   Email Chris Slycord   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: David M. Leugers
Please explain to us all so I will know, what exactly is a "knot".
A knot is a hard, and tender spot in a muscle.
quote: David M. Leugers
I never would have guessed that a chiropractor is the top diagnostic medical resource for determining the extent of neck injuries.
Chiropractors definitely are good for determining the extent of neck injuries. It's not like they learn physical exam and reading of xray/CT/MRI.
quote: David M. Leugers
Apparently you know this guy went for a diagnosis instead of looking to build a case where he received "treatment" for his "injury".
And apparently you have no idea how building a case actually works. If this were to actually go to trial, the practitioner would have been required to provide documentation as to the evaluation and treatment he performed. Heck, he'd have to do that even if this wasn't a trial case just for requirements of having proper medical records.
quote: David M. Leugers
What do you call treatment by a chiropractor when there is no problem? A massage.
What do you call treatment by an MD when there is no big problem (in a case like this)? A recommendation of a pain pill. Does that mean getting checked out by the MD or chiropractor is illegitimate? Hardly. A treatment following an evaluation shouldn't be reduced to the treatment itself.

In any case, I already covered that the chiropractor likely found nothing wrong other than the tender nodule on the guy's neck, since otherwise I would have expected him to mention some sort of result from his physical exam or x-rays.

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Peter Howard
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 - posted 08-04-2011 12:34 PM      Profile for Peter Howard   Author's Homepage   Email Peter Howard   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
The incident occurred at Cinemark Tinseltown, whose policy is to give texters a chance to behave. If they don't, they are removed and given a refund or a rain check.
That's a nice policy. Wonder how 'revenue positive' that is. [Roll Eyes]

In our case, we have the usher at the door ask patrons to please turn their mobile phones off as they enter the auditorium for the first time. Simple, polite. "Could you please switch your mobile phones off".

Then, we have another reminder during the pre-show presentations. So as far as i'm concerned they've now been asked (very politely) twice before the trailers have even started.

If someone's STILL using their phone, we politely ask them to turn their phone off one more time. You never know, maybe they were late.

But if they leave it on and get caught using it yet again we tell them we need to see them in the foyer. Final warning time. They have a choice, turn it off and re-enter the auditorium, or leave. Refund? Not likely. You had the warning(s), now you're a nuisance, it's time to behave or leave.

Mind you, i'm in Australia, where i'm probably not going to be sued. [Wink]

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David M. Leugers
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From: Fairfield, Ohio, united States of America
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 - posted 08-04-2011 08:06 PM      Profile for David M. Leugers   Email David M. Leugers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Chris Slycord
A knot is a hard, and tender spot in a muscle.
OK, pretty cool! So when I get a knot on my forehead from, oh let's say, a TSA groper's club who didn't like me resisting, I need not worry. It is just a hard, and tender spot in a muscle on my forehead. No need to go get any tests done to find out why I'm seeing double and keep falling asleep. I just need a chiropractor to massage the knot out of my forehead! After all, being a licensed chiropractor means he is the man when it comes to diagnosis... OK, here is the point:

A "knot" is a general term and can be used to cover many things. It is great for a chiropractor (I have nothing against them) because no one can contest weather or not the chiropractor treated a "knot" on someone. Any visit to a health care provider requiring a report or documentation of some kind will always have something on it justifying any treatment unless the visit is purely diagnostic.

quote:
He says his neck hurts "a little bit. I'm seeing a chiropractor.
This either means he is getting treatment
from the chiropractor, or they are dating.

Anyway, I am signing off this discussion, so blast away at me all you want to Chris, if that is your objective. I see no reason to go round and round in circles.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 08-05-2011 01:46 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Knots, chiropractors, lawsuits, whatever.... there's never never never NEVER any time when a person has to pull out a cellphone INSIDE a theater. They can walk to the exit. If the call goes to voicemail the phone will supply the number and they can return a call.

It's just phone addiction, simple as that. The brain gets a shot of some adrenaline-like chemical when a call comes in and the person is almost powerless to resist. I know the feeling -- I want to know myself who's calling when I'm driving or watching a movie.

A little self-control is all that's needed. But here in the gimme-gimme-gimme-NOW society in which we live, that's a dying attribute.

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