Outliers sees that South Florida is testing the bounds of civilized society.
Three years ago, Cynthia Economou was a much-lauded firefighter and paramedic with the St. Lucie County Fire District and the founder of a training center for athletes competing in equestrian events at the Special Olympics.
But on Sept. 19, 2008, Economou stole what she called an unrecognizable lump of flesh from the scene of a car wreck that she intended to use to train a cadaver dog. At Economou’s May 2009 sentencing hearing—where she got six months’ probation for theft—she explained to the judge, “It wasn’t a clean cut. You couldn’t even recognize it as a foot.”
Now the foot’s owner, Karl Lambert of Brevard County, has sued Economou and the fire department that formerly employed her, claiming the theft prevented the foot from being surgically reattached. The lawsuit claims that Economou’s actions were “outrageous,” “beyond the bounds of decency” and “utterly intolerable in a civilized society.”
When Lambert was asked during the sentencing hearing whether he thought his foot could have been reattached through surgery if Economou hadn’t stolen it, he replied only, “We’ll never know.”