Friday, August 03, 2007

It's Spelled "Res Ipsa Loquitur" You Twit

And it doesn't mean what this hubris-bloated dog thinks it means:

Nevertheless, grasshopper, this is important. The term res ipsa loquiter is a Latin phrase that has special meaning in the law; it means it speaks for itself. It is a legal doctrine in tort law that means that some things are so manifestly and obviously the result of negligent acts of commission or omission that a court or jury need not concern itself about how the specific negligence occurred. The consequences literally speak for themselves. Kind of like when a major interstate bridge lies in the Mississippi River. The fact that it is there bespeaks a terrible neglect.

Don't listen to him grasshopper. He's talking out of his half-informed butt (but you're probably used to that by now).

Res ipsa loquitur does not excuse the finder of fact from determining "how the specific negligence occurred". What it does do, is it allows - BUT DOES NOT REQUIRE - the finder of fact (i.e. the jury or a judge at the pretrial stages) to make an inference of negligence based on the defendant's exclusive control of the instrumentality of the harm. (See, Stahlberg v. Moe, 283 Minn. 78, 83, 166 N.W.2d 340, 344 (1969)) (That string of letters and numbers is known as a "citation", boys and girls.)

So a hypothetical plaintiff may have a res ipsa loquitur argument against the state government (putting aside all the procedural difficulties inherent in suing a political entity, and the fact I have shown above that a res ipsa case does not automatically equal liability). Unfortunately for your ego-laden arbiter of pseudo-knowledge, he names the wrong defendant:

Governor Pepsodent and his happy band of bandits will have to wear this one for the rest of their lives.

Not so fast.

If we're going to swerve from legalisms, to partisanship-addled activist-speak that entirely ignores the essential element of causation, then we also have to discard the true defendant, MNDoT, and substitute in individuals, just like our condescending canine did: the bridge's original designer, engineers, and builders, all the inspectors over the years, the possibility of sabotage (intentional or unintentional), and also figure into the calculus the fact that even if TPaw jacked up the gas tax his first day in office this bridge would still be awaiting repair (assuming that those bridge inspectors told him that OMG this bridge needs to be closed and replaced by August 1, 2007!!!, which they did not). With all those different possible defendants, none of whom are or were in exclusive control of the instrumentality of harm, the only firm conclusion that you can draw from all this, is that self-reverential verbally flatulent dogs should not be allowed to practice law or sit on a jury.

Res ipsa loquitur.

No comments: