In his public life, Robert H. Bork has never been a friend of consumers, especially not those who are victims of corporate abuse or wrongdoing. As most of you will know, the one-time U.S. Supreme Court nominee has been a strong proponent of tort reform over the years. You might be interested to know that Judge Bork has now settled his million dollar lawsuit against the Yale Club. As you may recall from previous reports, while at the club, Judge Bork fell stepping onto a platform to speak. Terms of his settlement are confidential. Judge Bork filed suit in a Manhattan federal court last year, claiming that he injured himself so badly at the June 2006 event, which was being sponsored by New Criterion magazine. The judge faulted the club for not having stairs or a handrail leading up to the platform. In his lawsuit, Judge Bork said he suffered “excruciating pain” after he fell backward as he tried to mount the dais, striking his left leg on the side of the dais and his head on the heat register. He underwent surgery and physical therapy and was left with a limp and a cane.
Lawyers for the Yale Club blamed Judge Bork, saying any injuries he sustained were at least partially his fault because he failed to recognizing potential risks, which the club said were “open, obvious and apparent.” Judge Bork served as a solicitor general and acting attorney general in the 1970s. As solicitor general in 1973, he fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox on orders of then-President Nixon. From 1982 to 1988, he was a federal appeals judge in Washington. In 1987, the Senate failed to confirm his nomination to the Supreme Court.
I am always amazed at how folks who don’t believe that ordinary citizens should have the right to file a lawsuit when they are hurt or damaged by the wrongful act or omission of a large corporation, are the very first in line to go to court when they themselves become victims. That sort of thing seems hypocritical to say the least. In any event, I am glad that Judge Bork settled his claim. Some might say the liability in his case looked pretty weak. However, I won’t go so far as to say that the judge filed a frivolous lawsuit. But, I have to wonder if his views on tort reform as it applies to “the masses” have changed.
Source: Associated Press
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