Do You Ever Shower?

If you ever shower, expect to be sued.

Many people find the sound of running water soothing and peaceful. Not Marvin and Goldie Smith, who have sued their neighbor over her 5 a.m. baths.

The couple, 83 and 78 respectively, live on the eighth floor of the Polo Club Condominiums near the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. They claim the water pipes they share with the woman below them vibrate so badly they can’t sleep through her early morning baths.

The bather – Shannon Peterson, a special education teacher in the Arvada public schools – can’t believe she’s being sued for bathing before leaving for work. “I’ve done everything I can think of to work this out,” she said. “I’ve had maintenance men remove all my tile and insulate the pipes. I’ve had sound engineers measure my unit and others in the building. Nothing’s abnormal. Even the homeowners’ board investigated and told the Smiths they should install sound barriers in their unit.”

So the Smiths called their son, Sheldon, a partner in the Holland and Hart law firm. He sent a letter, threatening Peterson that her “intransigence … and tortuous conduct have resulted in incredible sleep deprivation for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Your obstinacy has ruled the day. That will now cease.” He then ordered Peterson to stop running water in her bathtub before 8 a.m.

The Smiths sued Peterson just before Christmas, citing the “reckless and negligent use of her bathtub.” The suit sought no amount but asked for a jury trial.

Peterson was shocked. “I’m really distraught over this. I’m a schoolteacher. I can’t afford hefty legal fees,” she said. Peterson called an old friend, attorney Michael Dowling, to help her.

“This is the most frivolous lawsuit I’ve seen in 30 years of practicing law,” he said.

Denver District Judge Ronald Mullins has scheduled a review hearing on March 22.

Tip From Overlawyered.com.

I bathe sometimes, and now I’m worried about my finances. I may have to stop bathing altogether.

Should I be worried about brushing my teeth or flushing, too?

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