Friday, June 8, 2007

Bork Cites 'Wanton' Negligence in Suing Yale Club for $1-Million

The Chronicle: Daily News Blog: Robert Bork Cites 'Wanton' Negligence in Suing Yale Club for $1-Million: "Robert Bork Cites 'Wanton' Negligence in Suing Yale Club for $1-Million

Irving Kristol once defined a neoconservative as a liberal who had been mugged by reality. By the same token, can a liberal be defined as a neoconservative who had suddenly found a need for the tort bar?

We may find that out in a Manhattan court, where Robert H. Bork — the Supreme Court nominee rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1987 — filed a $1-million lawsuit today against the Yale Club of New York City, whose negligence, he says, was to blame for injuries he suffered in a fall at the club a year ago.

Mr. Bork, who is 80, said in the lawsuit that he had suffered injuries to his left leg and his head when he tripped while stepping onto a dais at the club to address a gathering sponsored by The New Criterion, a tradition-minded monthly journal of culture. According to the Associated Press, the suit accuses the Yale Club of “wanton, willful, and reckless disregard for the safety of its guests.” The suit, which cites the “excruciating pain” he has experienced during a recovery that continues, seeks damages for pain and suffering, medical treatment, lost work time, and lost income.

Mr. Bork, a former federal judge, first drew public attention in 1973, when he fired the Watergate special prosecutor at the behest of President Richard M. Nixon. He currently holds posts at the Hudson Institute, Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, and the Ave Maria School of Law. He has written on many subjects, including the need for tort reform.

I try not to take pleasure in the pain of others. There is, nonetheless, a certain ironic charm pervading this report.

My torts professor at Yale, Guido Calabresi (now a federal judge, although he continues to teach torts), tended to speak well of Bork in those years (as he did of most Yalies). Not sure whether that changed over the years, as Bork became a more embittered and pathetic figure. I wonder what emotions pass over his wise and knowing countenance as he encounters this story.

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