Alice and Bob are having an argument on the internet about the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adaptations- specifically which had better oompah loompahs. While Alice prefers the later ones from the Johnny Depp film, Bob very strongly likes the orange ones.

The argument becomes extremely heated and a cutting remark from Alice enrages Bob. Unbeknownst to Alice, Bob had a severe heart condition and the rage sends him into cardiac arrest. He dies minutes later.

When Mrs. Bob discovers him, she sees the full transcript of the debate. (i.e. for this hypothetical, all relevant facts are known and provable).

Could Alice face criminal charges and/or be found liable in a civil case?

Juristiction is the US, but they're in different states.

2 Answers 2



There could be a remote possibility if Alice knew of Bob's severe heart condition (but even then, no reasonable person would expect someone to get a heart attack out of disagreement over personal tastes however heated/cutting). But as she does not, no chances. Poor Mr and Mrs Bob.

  • 1
    Love these alphabetically named characters. Alice and Bob get everywhere, don't they? Even physics discussions about the Twins Paradox. Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 13:28
  • 1
    Wouldnt knowing about the condition be irrelevant? It sounds like an eggshell skull defense. Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 12:39
  • @Studoku it should be irrelevant but ultimately it is fact-specific and up to the judge/jury.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 12:44

Not under ordinary circumstances. Not under the situation that you quote, where Alice didn't know of Bob's heart condition.

In order for the "Bobs" to have a chance to win, you would need a situation like the following: 1) Alice disliked Bob "generally," not just during the time that she was having a heated debate with him about the one topic. 2) Alice knew about Bob's heart condition. 3) Alice basically plotted to use Bob's heart condition to kill him, and selected the chocolate factory topic as the one that was most likely to enrage him to the required degree.

Given that they know each other only over the internet, good luck proving such a case. And even then, you might not win.

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