Passenger successfully sued for reclining seat: 'Not your living room'

To recline or not recline, that is the question.

It's a divisive act that many travelling Aussies are in two minds about. Well, it turns out reclining your chair can actually land you in court.

A train passenger was sued earlier this year and has now been forced to pay damages to the person who sat behind him, Chinese publication The Paper reported.

The complainant, a university student identified by court documents as Wang, was using a laptop on the fold down table on the Wuhan-bound train when the passenger in front of him, Liu, reclined his chair.

Reclining your seat has long been a contentious issue. Source: Getty, file / Pear Video - Weibo
Reclining your seat has long been a contentious issue. Source: Getty, file / Pear Video - Weibo

The chair crushed the laptop, damaging the screen. Wang alerted police before the pair left the train. However they could not agree to compensation prompting Wang to later sue Liu over the damages and compensation for his disrupted trip and the repair costs.

The court ruled Liu must pay 3341 yuan ($700) to Wang, 70 per cent of what Wang had demanded, noting signage on the seats instructed passengers to inform those behind them if they intend to recline their seats.

The court found that Wang was 30 per cent responsible for the incident as he "was not vigilant about the impact that the adjustments of the front seat might have on his computer".

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The matter has since gained traction on Twitter-like site Weibo, where many users revealed they too had faced a similar scenario.

"Anytime I recline my seat I'll take a look at what's behind me," one person said.

Another said train carriages were "not your living room" and was baffled it was not standard practice to ask before reclining.

"I hate the people whose seats are adjusted very low in front, they are selfish," another wrote.

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