Revenge of the 1Ls
December 10, 2004 12:28 PM   Subscribe

The Curse of the Family Palsgraf. "In the eight decades since the New York Court of Appeals in Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad outlined the two competing theories of proximate cause, a branch of the Palsgraf family has been beset by bad luck, serious injuries and losing lawsuits, just like their matriarch, Helen Palsgraf."
posted by adrober (16 comments total)
Creepy creepy creepy .....
posted by blucevalo at 12:42 PM on December 10, 2004

Bizarre. But interesting. Thanks for the link.

posted by Outlawyr at 12:46 PM on December 10, 2004

The tanker's wheels were caught on a track for, of all things, the Long Island Railroad.

This is proof that god, does indeed, have a sense of humor.
posted by Specklet at 12:59 PM on December 10, 2004

Erm. Can't pretty much any family with a bunch of kids report a few broken bones and physical accidents over the course of three or four generations?

My grandfather got wild monkey pox. My dad once broke his ankle ice skating. And just last month I hit myself in the face with a yo-yo at work. (Hopefully my son won't inherit this curse and accidentally staple himself in the eye...)

What, by the way, were the injuries sustained my Mrs. Palsgraf after the fireworks explosion?
posted by chasing at 1:05 PM on December 10, 2004

Am I the only one who would promptly change my name? I couldn't bear to be harassed about it every time I reported for jury duty or other law-related events.
posted by Sheppagus at 1:18 PM on December 10, 2004

Nothing brings out the dorks like Palsgraf. Good times, man, good times.

Here's the opinion. ("The risk reasonably to be perceived defines the duty to be obeyed...")

Here's the original pleadings. (chasing: "plaintiff was knocked down or against certain of the platform stairs, inflicting upon plaintiff grievous, serious and painful injuries in and about her person and causing plaintiff to be and become sick, sore and disabled, whereby plaintiff was caused to and did suffer great pain and anguish, both of body and mind as a result of said injuries, and plaintiff moreover was made nervous and caused to and did suffer severe, grievous and lasting shock to her nervous system, including among other things, loss of control of the organs of speech, which plaintiff alleges upon information and belief, will be permanent, and plaintiff still continues to suffer pain in various parts of her body.")

And, of course, a poem.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:32 PM on December 10, 2004

This is good stuff. A friend from law school still refers to certain improbably-injured-situations as "Palsgraf moments." She was more right than she knew.
posted by AgentRocket at 1:32 PM on December 10, 2004

Funny link, but why didn't you wait until AFTER finals to post this? I want my procrastination to be free of any taint of productive and relevant learning thank you very much! Speaking of dorky I sent it to my torts professor.

(Doubly speaking of dorky: It seems like the article gave Andrews' dissent pretty short shrift, the dissent -laying out theories of proximate causation- is cited nearly as much as the majority opinion I understand.)
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 1:59 PM on December 10, 2004

His suit against the manufacturer never made it to trial: The ladder was stolen from the courtroom and the case vanished with the evidence.

This seems very peculiar to me. How strange that the case could be so easily dismissed. I guess a lawsuit of this nature today would be heavily documented by film.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:06 PM on December 10, 2004

Only 1Ls care about Palsgraf. :)
posted by socratic at 2:10 PM on December 10, 2004

Damnit, maybe I should read the page title. Hell.
posted by socratic at 2:15 PM on December 10, 2004

Sent it to my Torts professor and a handful of law students...who needs 2L bus org when you have the internet and a summer job?

And even up here in Canada, this is THE Torts case. Palsgraf may even be better than the Snail in the Ginger Beer Bottle case...
posted by evadery at 2:15 PM on December 10, 2004

Its funny to read these comments and realize that there are others like me. That is, nerds who sent this article to their torts professor.
posted by gagglezoomer at 3:10 PM on December 10, 2004

Interesting legal story, but the "curse" business is hoked-up nonsense.

Ms. Palsgraf sued the school and, frustrated by the protracted proceedings, settled for "peanuts," she said. She remains angry.

She got bored and irritated and settled. This is a curse? And the grandson:

The family considered pursuing a suit, she said, but were discouraged by attorneys from doing so.

Uh-huh. Well, I'm considering suing the reporter for gross stupidity. Wait, I just decided against it. The curse strikes again!
posted by languagehat at 4:58 PM on December 10, 2004

Hah, our Property professor read this to us in class the other day.

*goes back to studying for Torts*
posted by falconred at 8:44 PM on December 10, 2004

I agree with languagehat. They're not cursed - they're just superstitious whiners.

"Everyone who has been damaged by an interruption in the expected tenor of his life does not have a cause of action." - Court of Appeals of New York
posted by amber_dale at 9:13 PM on December 10, 2004

« Older This Is How Historical Fiction Should Be Done!   |   I know we can discuss this with intelligence and... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments