July 20 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 20, 2012

  • Congress, HUD face off on “disparate impact” in housing and housing finance [WSJ edit, Clegg/NRO] Wells Fargo says it didn’t base loans on race but will pay $175 million to end federal probe [Reuters]
  • Maryland vs. Virginia: if only there were a government that was consistent about favoring liberty [John Walters, Maryland Public Policy Institute]
  • British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal levies $3000 against husband-and-wife owners of bed-and-breakfast who canceled reservation of gay couple based on religious objections [Religion Clause, The Province] UK: “‘Gay flatmate wanted’ ads break equality laws” [Telegraph] See our earlier coverage of the Ninth Circuit Roommate.com case here and here.
  • “Lifeguard fired for saving drowning person — outside his designated zone.” [NBC Miami via @commongood]
  • “Do you want to be informed about the constant, infuriating corporate welfare for professional sports owners? Follow FieldOfSchemes.com” [Matt Welch]
  • Negligent entrustment lawsuit against parents who let 33 year old daughter drive car yields $1.2 million in Tennessee [Knoxville News]
  • Pretrial and discovery: “New York state bar recommends federal litigation reforms” [Reuters]

{ 5 comments }

1 Anonymous Attorney 07.20.12 at 1:15 pm

We’ll never expose the “disparate impact” absurdity, because nobody, Republican or Democrat, is going to go anywhere near the likeliest explanation: disparate group ability. Roger Clegg’s on the right track, but NR will give him the Derbyshire treatment if he goes there.

2 asdfasdf 07.20.12 at 7:27 pm

Negligent entrustment article states that the car’s owner entrusted their car to their daughter, who they knew had

(1) history of drug abuse;
(2) several car wrecks;
(3) was taking at least 21 prescribed pills for
(4) an assortment of alleged physical and mental illnesses and so
(5) driver was unfit to drive.

The driver killed a 17-year old high school senior.

The daughter is serving a 9-year sentence for the fatal DUI. Based on the facts of the article, this seems like a slam-dunk case for negligent entrustment, doesn’t it? The damages figure seems low, if anything – a million dollars is very small compensation for the loss of a life.

Does your inclusion of the article link here suggest you think the verdict was improper or excessive in any way? If so, in what way? Liability or damages?

3 Troy Hinrichs 07.20.12 at 11:06 pm

As I recall… the lifeguard was rehired by the CEO of the company for whom he was working once he became aware of the absurdity of it.

It seems akin to convenience store clerks getting fired if standing up to armed robbers. Anyway… the boss did right by the lifeguard eventually.

4 nrasmuss13 07.21.12 at 3:20 pm

As ASDFASDF suggests: are you suggesting that you disagree with the award in the DUI case? You do realize that, contrary to the implication of the article (due no doubt to the fact that it’s author has no real understanding of the law), it actually has nothing to say about the “responsibility of parents for their adult children” and everything to do with the responsibility of a party who turns over a potentially dangerous instrument to the use of someone who, they know is likely to do something dangerous with it? (Well, except to the degree that being this woman’s parents surely strengthened the argument that they must have been aware of the woman’s condition and the risk involved in allowing her to drive their car)?

I’m really curious about why you posted this given my impression that most of your posts come with an implied “can you believe this BS?” attached to them. If that’s your position, I can only conclude that either (a) you don’t actually understand how liability for “negligent entrustment” arises (which would be a shame, if you’re going to criticize something you should probably understand the nature of what it is you’re criticizing), or (b) you think it’s wrong to impose liability on someone for giving a dangerous instrument to someone else even though they should know the borrower is likely to misuse the instrument, and, shock!, does subsequently do so to the death and destruction of others?

5 Walter Olson 07.26.12 at 1:00 am

1) Contrary to nrasmuss13′s imaginings, it is not safe to assume that most stories linked in this space “come with an implied ‘can you believe this BS?’ attached to them.” See http://overlawyered.com/2007/12/a-reminder-2/ .

2) The Tennessee case doesn’t look to me, either, like an extreme or unusual application of current negligent entrustment law. Still, some lay readers may perhaps learn from it that the initial intuitions they may bring to such cases — that when allowing an adult child access to a car they are at risk of liability only if the child is, say, without a driver’s license or visibly intoxicated — aren’t defenses under the law and won’t save them. If a few readers thereby come to be better acquainted with the state of the law, it’s worth braving commenter superciliousness.

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