09 Jun 2007

Robert Bork Sues Yale Club

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In the dog-bites-man department, famous conservative legal scholar Robert Bork is contributing to the contemporary flood of tort litigation.

The New York Times quotes from the text of Judge Bork’s complaint:

(On) “the evening of June 6, 2006,” …The New Criterion magazine held an event at the Yale Club in honor of Hilton Kramer, the magazine’s co-founder. Mr. Bork, a contributor to the magazine, was among those invited to deliver remarks.

The event was held in a banquet room, the suit explains, where the club’s staff had erected a dais atop which a lectern had been placed for the speakers. It is the Yale Club’s “normal practice,” the suit contends, to provide a set of stairs so that the speakers may ascend easily to their appointed perch.

“At the New Criterion event, however, the Yale Club failed to provide any steps between the floor and dais,” the suit claims. “Nor did the Yale Club provide a handrail or any other reasonable feature to assist guests attempting to climb to the dais.”

Mr. Bork fell backward while ascending the dais, striking his left leg on the side of the dais and bumping his head, the suit claims. As a result of the fall, a hematoma formed on his leg and later burst. The injury required surgery, extended medical treatment and months of physical therapy, the suit contends.

“Mr. Bork suffered excruciating pain as a result of this injury,” according to the suit, “and was largely immobile during the months in which he received physical therapy.” Not only was he forced to use a cane, the suit maintains, but he also still walks with a limp.

How many 80 year olds normally limp or need to a cane, after all?

I can see how it could easily be difficult for a senior citizen to mount a tall platform without the assistance of some steps and something to hold onto, and whoever set up the room was doubtless inconsiderate of the aged. But service requests are typically quickly honored at the Yale Club.

If the room arranger lacked foresight about those missing steps, so too did Judge Bork, who could easily have beckoned a Yale Club waiter and demanded some portable steps and a handrail be provided.

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Joe Gambino

Is there more to this story?

Was the judge compelled to file suit in order to preserve his claim under the statute of limitations?



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