I recall that a continuing legal education (CLE) course I took a few years ago included a discussion of accommodations necessary at baseball games to avoid tort liability. The attorneys teaching the course were in agreement that a disclaimer on a ticket stub probably wouldn’t be enough in and of itself to protect the organization or stadium from being sued and held liable, even for foreseeable problems.
For example, they said that a fan sitting down the first-base line who was struck by a foul ball might still have a legitimate tort claim against the club, even though the injury was unintentional—and foreseeable by the plaintiff. They elaborated on this point by suggesting that the club could have expanded the customary netting behind home plate, extending it around the entire stadium to prevent any ball from hitting any spectator who wasn’t paying enough attention to avoid contact.
This is why I don’t particularly care for lawyers, despite the fact that I happen to be one myself.
We’ve long since moved away from an expectation of common sense in many corners of our society. If one person is dumb enough to do X, then we should expect that everyone could be dumb enough to do X. Furthermore, we have to take precautions that apply to all in order to prevent the remote possibility that the imbecile outlier will fall prey to his inherent dumbassery.
Rather than being scoffed at by most in the legal community, this philosophy is treated as a given—a prudent worldview, courtesy of people who may as well have “Cover Your Ass” engraved on their respective family crests.
That brings me to this: I was watching television a few days ago and saw a commercial for a new phone offered by Sprint. The chief selling point of this phone is its superior sound quality, particularly in the midst of ambient noise. Here is a still from the commercial:
What you’re seeing above is a demonstration of the phone’s ability to produce good sound quality in the face of a (1) a call center (2) transplanted to a skyscraper rooftop (3) in the presence of a helicopter.
Please note the text.
“Do not attempt.”
Someone in corporate counsel at Sprint likely spent a few days crafting a memo informing his corporate overlords that they should tell their ad people to make sure they include a disclaimer in this commercial.
You know, just in case.
Just in case someone sets up a call center. Just in case someone moves that call center to the top of a skyscraper. Just in case someone acquires a working helicopter in order to test cell phone reception in the presence of said call center.
Just in case.
Better safe than sorry.
I give up.