Wednesday, April 06, 2005


There is a joke told about lawyers that I have always liked - California has more trial lawyers and New Jersey has more toxic waste dumps. Explain why. New Jersey got first choice.

Indeed the law is an honorable profession, but the number of instances where avarice beats ethics are too numerous to ignore. Take for example a case where we just filed an Amicus brief. A woman went to one university in California's volleyball contest. She had been to this sports pavillion many times before and most often sat on the second level. But in this game she chose to sit on the first floor. In between one of the games that evening, the band was doing what bands do at college games (the band was two sections away) and her attention was diverted and she got hit in the head with an errant ball which caused a detached retina. She went home, called her lawyer and sued the university.

There is a well established standard in law called primary assumption of risk. If you go to a public event where unexpected things can happen, in most cases you assume that things might happen and you should exercise care. But the woman and her attorney argue that a) college bands are not an integral part of college athletics and b) someone should compensate her for her inattention - even though she could have thoroughly protected herself if she had sat at the second level.

In the first hearing on this idiotic claim the trial judge did not dismiss the claim and so the university has had to argue the thing at the appellant level. What a waste of time.

No comments: