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October 11, 2003
Lawyers outta control

I'm sorry that this little girl got paralyzed, but I fail to see how you can blame it on anyone but the drunk driver.

The parents of a girl paralyzed in a car wreck caused by a drunken football fan have sued the National Football League, claiming it should be held responsible for the girl's injuries. The lawsuit, filed Thursday, contends the league promotes the type of behavior that led the fan to drink 14 beers at a New York Giants game in 1999 and then drive home.

Why include the NFL? Because you won't get that much money out of a guy who's serving several years in prison for the crime. Tailgating is not inherently a bacchanalia; most people handle their alcohol respectably, and there's a lot of other things that go into tailgating, like grilling food, etc etc. It frustrates me when lawyers attempt to hold people responsible for others' behaviors (except parents for children, where there is a clear legal obligation). The only person in this story who may have a moral liability is the vendor who took the bribe and sold the guy more beer than he was supposed to sell at one time:

The NFL forbids beer sales after the third quarter, and the stadium also mandates that fans can buy only two beers at a time. Arnold said Lanzaro sidestepped that rule by giving the vendor a $10 tip and was allowed to buy six beers.

That is an overt act, and there should be some liability for that, but again, how much money can you get out of the vendor? Not much, which goes against the first rule you're taught in law school: Never sue poor people.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 11, 2003 9:57 AM

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