Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If Only the Olympic Luge Were in the United States

If only the Olympic luge track were in Vancouver, Washington and not Vancouver, Canada. A deluge of lawyers would have descended upon the luge.

Nodar Kumaritashvili’s estate would have already filed suit, Nodar’s relatives for wrongful death, and bystanders for emotional distress by watching the tragedy live, on the internet, or on the endless TV rebroadcasts. They will be consoling themselves with lawyers filing class action suits. Gloria Allred would be representing the champion woman luger who crashed the previous day. Congress will be scheduling hearings to do whatever Congress does in such hearings.

Since Canada, and the rest of the world, including all other countries with the English common law, do not have the same torts system we do, life will go on in Vancouver, except of course for Nodar, who has been laid to rest in Georgia, a martyr for the luge.

Georgia, the birthplace of Stalin, is upset at Canada, but any declaration of war would be futile in the absence of a navy or air force.

Lawyers though; let’s unleash the lawyers to wage wars of writs, interrogatories, subpoenas, pleas and motions, orders, appeals, and engage in discovery battles. Joint and several liability - that’s where the gold is at. Sue‘em all. Pile on the punitives.

Our personal injury tort system has become one of victims compensation and of a lottery system. When in doubt, cases should go to the jury to decide however it decides. That’s the lottery.

We were in Vancouver in 1986 for the World’s Fair. We found ourselves on Granville Island at an area known as “For kids only.” We ate lunch on a patio next to a water park. This Canadian water park was unlike any in the United States. Instead of dancing fountains, wave pools, and long slides, it was a “hilly” cemented plot fill of fire hydrants. Kids would hook hoses up to the hydrants and blast away.

Then the fun really began. A supervisor removed the hoses and capped the hydrants. As the water drained from the park, skate boarders roared on down. Just for a moment, think like a plaintiff’s lawyer.

Kids on skate boards are roaring down a wet hill, giant slalom style, dodging fire hydrants. If injuries are foreseeable on skate parks in this country (Check out the waiver forms for Van’s Skate Park at the Block in Orange) then how highly foreseeable are injuries in Vancouver? Would any insurer provide liability insurance to such a park in the United States?

Canada proves once again that it is not the United States.

The motto of the International Olympic Committee is “Swifter, higher, stronger.”

Speed kills. Lawyers sue.

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