N.Y. trial lawyers: bowling-shoe exemption must not stand

In the New York legislature, bowling alleys are hoping to win a law protecting them from slip-fall liability arising after their customers wear store-rented shoes outside the building and either slip there or track snow or other slippery matter back inside. Weather hazards have been tripping up more customers of the ordinarily indoor sport, it seems, since the state enforced a complete indoor smoking ban. The trial lawyer association is dead set against the bill; its president claims that the bill “undercuts the constitutional right to a trial by a jury” — presumably on the theory that it somehow undercuts trial by jury for a legislature to roll back any instance of liability for anyone anywhere. That’s sheer nonsense, of course — otherwise, it’d have been unconstitutional for legislatures around most of the country to have abolished the old heartbalm torts of breach of promise to marry and alienation of affection. [Albany Times-Union via Future of Capitalism] More: Lowering the Bar.


  • The tort absolutists may eventually get around to arguing that contracts are unconstitutional. After all, a contract amounts to giving up certain rights to sue. The fact that one gets something more valuable in exchange is irrelevant.

  • But…but…but

    Isn’t the best venue to decide liability for defective footwear tthat could easily be redesigned for only a few pence in front of a jury. Isn’t that so Ron?