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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

A Global Goldmine

A few weeks ago I was absolutely, jaw-droppingly dumbfounded to hear a seemingly intelligent conservative commentator insist that global warning was not a danger and we shouldn't be doing anything about it.

(Side note: My computer insists that "droppingly" is not a word. I don't care. I like it.)

This wasn't on Fox News. This didn't come out of the Bush White House or the Colbert Report. It wasn't a pronouncement from one of those "just say no to anything" Republicans in Congress.

It was from a guy who, I had thought, at least dealt with issues honestly (if not logically, to my mind).

Shouldn't we be past that? You'd think even people on the right would be in favor of continued breathing and avoiding famine, hurricanes and tidal waves. How could saving polar bears possibly be polarizing? (I've been wanting to write that for a long time.)

I had chalked the comment up to one of the great mysteries of life until spotting an appellate opinion.from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit called Comer v. Murphy Oil USA. There may be a reason for this attitude after all.

Business needs global warming to be a political issue.

Or at least an issue companies can claim ignorance about.

If you thought tobacco litigation was a goldmine, consider the possibilities for global warming litigation.

In Comer, a bunch of property owners in Mississippi sued a group of energy, fuel and chemical companies for causing the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina by contributing to global warming.

They'll be debating this in law school tort class proximate cause discussions for decades to come.

What were the initial defenses?

That's right: ignorance and it's a political issue. Picture Nancy Pelosi measuring an iceberg.

The litigation continues. This should be fascinating.

CORPORATION V. ROBOT. Like Predator and Alien, it had to come to this: a showdown between a business entity and a robot (sort of).

A company called SMR Services has sued the Los Angeles Police Department over a ticket for running a red light.

Really. This was filed in Superior Court in Los Angeles.

As I've noted several times in the past few weeks, companies want the rights of real people but they don't want the responsibilities. And robots just don't get any respect.

The ticket was issued after a video camera robotically caught an SMR vehicle running the light.

Here's the key section from the suit: "Plaintiff SMR is a legal entity and as such does not possess a drivers license from any state. Plaintiff SMR was not (and could not be) the driver of the vehicle...."

Oh yeah? Then who was that balance sheet behind the wheel?

As always, your reaction to this should be comparing the cost of this litigation to the cost of paying the ticket.

BAD NAME. It's been pointed out to me that a class action for labor law violations has been filed against a company called Serf 'N Turf.

Clearly, some form of assumption of risk ought to be imputed to the plaintiffs.

I was really disappointed to discover, though, that Serf 'N Turf is a landscaping company. I wanted it to be a restaurant chain.

They could serve peasant under glass.

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