The joke – attributed to Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, and others – goes like this: A man asks a woman if she would go to bed with him for a million dollars. When she replies in the affirmative, he asks if she would do it for one dollar. Outraged, she responds, “What kind of woman do you think I am?”
“We’ve already established that,” the man replies. “Now we’re haggling over the price.”
When it comes to such transactions, it’s best to make sure that both parties understand what’s being offered, at what cost, and on what payment terms (in advance or on delivery). If one party seeks to reopen negotiations after goods have been exchanged or services rendered, the other party may cry foul.
Take the case of the 16-year-old girl who got a job at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Houston and within a month began having sexual intercourse with her 26-year-old married supervisor. She accommodated him at least 40 times and never thought to monetize the relationship.
Her mother did, however.
When the mother found out what was going on from one of her daughter’s coworkers, she confronted the restaurant manager and threatened to call the police, which might have been appropriate for a case of statutory rape. Rather than get the authorities involved, she opted instead to file suit against the predatory supervisor, the manager, and the restaurant.
Luckily for her, the court ruled that the conduct of her underage daughter was irrelevant to the question of liability, actual damages, or any other considerations, and the jury, thus instructed, awarded more than $2 million in damages for sexual assault and nearly $3 million for sexual harassment.
Just last week, the 14th Court of Appeals ordered a new trial, having concluded the lower court’s charge instruction was erroneous and that the jury should have been allowed to consider evidence of the girl’s conduct.
How much money will the mother wind up with in the end? We don’t know, but we wonder about what kind of a woman she is.