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Friday, October 22, 2004

My Victory (Short Lived), in two parts


Prof.: "Mr. Misery, can you tell us under the Colorado scenario how much the injured cyclist should receive for his injuries when he wasn't wearing his helmet?"

Me: "$70,000"

Prof: "70,000?? Good Lord, Mr. Misery, how'd you come up with that figure?"

Me: "Well, the jury said the cyclist was 40% at fault for the accident. But 10% of that fault was for not wearing the helmet. Under the Colorado scenario, the plaintiff can't be barred from recovery for any negligence due in part to failure to wear a helmet, so he is then 30% at fault. The total damages are $100,000, minus the 30%; therefore, the cyclist gets $70,000."

Prof: "Seems a bit high to me, don't you think? And what happens to that extra 10%? You think it just gets tacked on to the defendant?"

Me: "Yes"

Prof: "What in the world would give you that idea?"

Me: "The Colorado Court."

Prof: "But where do you get $70,000?"

Me: "The Colorado Court."

Prof: "Well, that's not what I came up with. I came up with $66,667 for the cyclist. What's wrong, Mr. Misery, the look on your face says you don't know what happened to the phantom 10%."

Prof: (to the class) "I think Mr. Misery would make an excellent plaintiff's attorney."

Thursday: (Cylist Reprise)

Prof: "Okay, I went back and looked at the problem of the cyclist and determined I may have been wrong. It could have been $70,000. Does anyone know why? Uh, yes, Mr. Misery?"

Me: "Because, as I was trying to explain Tuesday, the extra 10% negligence for not wearing a helmet can not be used to bar the cyclist's recovery? If he was only 30% at fault, he should be held accountable for no more than 30% of the damages."

Prof: "But that is wrong. Does anyone know which is right: 70k or 66,667k? No? Does anyone know what the Colorado court would say? No? Well. . . neither do I."

Hmmm. . . well, for a minute I was right anyways. . .

In Law School even the short-lived victories are precious.


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