“Liability Concerns Prompt Some Cities to Limit Sledding”

Sad on multiple levels [AP]:

[Omaha assistant city attorney Tom] Mumgaard said courts in Nebraska have decided cities must protect people, even if they make poor choices.

Most people realize that cities must restrict potentially dangerous activities to protect people and guard against costly lawsuits, said Kenneth Bond, a New York lawyer who represents local governments. In the past, people might have embraced a Wild West philosophy of individuals being solely responsible for their actions, but now they expect government to prevent dangers whenever possible.

I’d say there’s more than one kind of downhill toboggan momentum we might want to worry about. Commentary: Lenore Skenazy (“If we believe that ‘whenever possible’ = ‘imagining all possible dangers, no matter how remote, and actively preventing them all, all the time, even by drastic decrees,’ then we get a society that puts 100% safety above any other cause, including fairness, convenience, exercise, rationality — and delight”); Ira Stoll (“This is the sort of story that you’d think might build some political support for tort reform.”).


  • It would be nice if the media coverage was more specific on why the liability still exists. In Iowa, e.g., a bill was introduced in 2011 that would have immunized municipalities from liability for sledding accidents, but it was defeated in the house on party-line votes (R-for, D-against) because the trial lawyers association opposed it. In 2013, the bill passed the house by a largely part-line vote (see H.F. 158) and withered in the senate (26 D, 24 R).

  • […] “Don’t the attorneys who bring these [sled injury municipal] lawsuits have kids and don’t any of them go sledding together?” [Abby Schachter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, quoting my response to that question; Nicole Kaeding, Cato; earlier] […]