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) â€œthe evening of June 6, 2006,â€ …The New Criterion magazine held an event at the Yale Club in honor of Hilton Kramer, the magazineâ€™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 clubâ€™s staff had erected a dais atop which a lectern had been placed for the speakers. It is the Yale Clubâ€™s â€œnormal practice,â€ the suit contends, to provide a set of stairs so that the speakers may ascend easily to their appointed perch.
â€œAt the New Criterion event, however, the Yale Club failed to provide any steps between the floor and dais,â€ the suit claims. â€œNor did the Yale Club provide a handrail or any other reasonable feature to assist guests attempting to climb to the dais.â€
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.
â€œMr. Bork suffered excruciating pain as a result of this injury,â€ according to the suit, â€œand was largely immobile during the months in which he received physical therapy.â€ 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.