Ivory Tower Detachment

Great letter today in the WSJ:

Liability Law Has Little to Do With How People Really Act

As a practicing attorney (although not a tort lawyer), I was enjoying Paul H. Rubin’s “A Gulf Spill Tort Primer” (op-ed, Aug. 2) on oil spill liability in the Gulf until I slammed into his sentence: “For example, if drivers were strictly liable for car accidents, then pedestrians might be less careful.”

This has to rate as perhaps the finest example of ivory tower detachment from the real world. Prof. Rubin posits that a pedestrian, faced with a potential clash between mere flesh and bone and a multi-thousand-pound steel vehicle powered by over 200 horses, will be more or less careful in stepping off the curb based on the liability standard applicable to the driver of the vehicle. In other words, as I walk the streets I change my behavior based on how much my heirs might be able to collect in a posthumous legal action.

I think not, professor, and the careful use of the word “might” does not save the academic recluse. First, it is still wrong on its face. Second, this kind of lawyerly attempt at creating “wiggle room” is exactly what drives the lay population crazy.

Neal B. Glick

Wellesley, Mass.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Unkategorized

One response to “Ivory Tower Detachment

  1. Alberto Hurtado

    It makes me sad, as a lawyer, that I had to read the letter three times to get his point clearly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s