Catering hall “could not have foreseen a surprise ninja attack”

by Walter Olson on September 18, 2011

A Long Island judge has ruled for the defense in a negligent-security case filed by a patron who was slashed by a surprise assailant dressed as a ninja. [Newsday]

{ 14 comments }

1 anoNY 09.18.11 at 8:47 am

I can’t *possibly* imagine what the ruling would have been had the assailant been part of the Spanish Inquisition…

2 Richard Nieporent 09.18.11 at 9:03 am

anoNY,

You beat me to it! I was going to post that they used the “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” defense!

3 wfjag 09.19.11 at 8:28 am

1 anoNY:
” had the assailant been part of the Spanish Inquisition” . . . he would have been whelding a fluffy pillow.

4 Ted Frank 09.19.11 at 3:07 pm

Yes, but under the long-recognized “one free ninja attack” rule, future catering halls are now on notice of the foreseeable possibility of ninja attacks.

5 Ron Miller 09.19.11 at 4:32 pm

Fun headline.

(Of course, the exact type of attack was not relevant to the decision. Ultimately, the question is not whether it is a ninja attack or a crazed tree hugger demanding protection for an oak leaf. It is whether security should have been in place and whether that security would have made a difference.)

(Also, can I get an “Oh, good, the system works” since it usually does?)

Okay, now back to the fun narrative.

6 Patrick 09.19.11 at 6:35 pm

Ultimately, the question is not whether it is a ninja attack

It is absolutely is the question. The question is whether a reasonably prudent security firm (security was in place) would have been able to detect the presence of a ninja, and reacted in time to prevent the attack.

I submit that the answer is no. As everyone knows, the chief weapon of a ninja is surprise. Surprise and fear. The two weapons of a ninja are surprise and fear. And ruthless efficiency. The weapons of a ninja are three: surprise, fear, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

What was this post about again?

7 D 09.19.11 at 10:08 pm

Isn’t that just like a New Yorker. Brings a beer gut to a sword fight.

8 Richard Nieporent 09.20.11 at 6:52 am

(Also, can I get an “Oh, good, the system works” since it usually does?)

What is more interesting is that the police have no requirement to protect you from a ninja or any other attack. It is only private businesses that can be sued for failure to protect. What a great system we have, right Ron?

9 Ron Miller 09.20.11 at 11:39 am

Well right. Yeah. Most everyone on both sides of the debate agree with this exact premise. Businesses have some obligation to provide security where a reasonable prudent business should. Everyone accepts this premise although we disagree on where the line should be drawn. Has someone – even some wacky state legislature somewhere – even proposed changing this rule. Meanwhile, the police are not inviting the general public into an establishment. They are protecting the swath that is their jurisdiction. No one reasonably expect them to “protect us” and eliminate all crime.

Really, what exactly are the specifics of the system you propose? (Please note: answering the question would require specifics, not platitudes.)

10 Ron Miller 09.20.11 at 11:41 am

Okay, Patrick let me rephrase: no court anywhere ever is framing this as whether or not it is a ninja. Not a conservative judge, not a liberal judge, no one. The question is the nature of the harm, not the specifics of the intent or character of the attacker.

11 Richard Nieporent 09.20.11 at 12:57 pm

Meanwhile, the police are not inviting the general public into an establishment. They are protecting the swath that is their jurisdiction.

Yes Ron, it is the line drawing that I am referring to. When businesses can be successfully sued for an incident that occurs in their parking lot because it is known that there is crime in the neighborhood, then we are requiring the business to do the job of the police department.

12 Ron Miller 09.20.11 at 2:00 pm

Well, the police can’t solve that problem either, right. But, clearly, and even you would probably agree, you are oversimplifying the issue. The vast, vast, vast – please add a few more in – majority of murders and violent crimes on public property do not lead to lawsuits against the landowners because they are not viable claims.

13 John Thacker 09.23.11 at 3:26 pm

Also, can I get an “Oh, good, the system works” since it usually does?

Does the system work if the process of going through the system leaves the “winner” still worse off? You can’t ignore the transaction costs of the system.

14 Ron Miller 09.23.11 at 8:38 pm

Absolutely, John. But you are saying is that the system is imperfect. It is worse than that. It is awful. That said, it is the best system in the history of the world. It is hard paradox to swallow.

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