Tree hazards, cont’d

by Walter Olson on December 3, 2006

This time from the U.K.: Simon Jenkins has some choice words in the Guardian about the tendency to turn a relatively rare phenomenon — injuries caused by tree falls — into the occasion for legal punishment, and the undesirable incentives this creates for those entrusted with the care of trees. (“Those who walk under trees are at risk from these terrorising inspectors”, Nov. 17). More on tree hazards: Jun. 11, Jul. 31 and Nov. 27, 2006; Apr. 30 and Jul. 19, 2005; Nov. 16, 2004; Mar. 12, 2002.

{ 2 comments }

1 Supremacy Claus 12.03.06 at 4:11 pm

One hopes there is more recourse in the US.

Here, the tree caretaker would be able to exhaust administrative agency appeals. Failing that, one could enjoin and sue the administrative agency refusing to exhonorate the caretaker. If some political agenda could be found in discovery, punitive damages could deter the agency.

In reality, solely the filing of a claim against the agency would do the trick. Government employees know that if they generate a lawsuit, even one immediately dismissed, the cost of the defense would exceed their personal value to the government. All such functionaries will soon have jobs outside of government, even if they prevail.

Victims of government over-reaching should also demand investigations of the functionary, as a person, for bias, for corruption, for malice, for animus, for anything one can think of. The earliest punitive damages were granted in England to a printer importuned by the King’s men looking for libelous printings. They had to pay 300 pounds, 300 times his weekly wage, despite treating him very well during a detention for a few hours. Other English cases support hitting back.

The victim of the government over reaching should never suffer uncertainty alone.

2 Justinian Lane 12.03.06 at 8:17 pm

Speaking of falling trees… do either you or Ted have more details about the accident that paralyzed Greg Abbott? All I’ve been able to find in the press is that he was jogging, a tree fell on him, and he sued the homeowner and received a multimillion dollar settlement.

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