“Health and safety regulations which burden Britain and lead to good samaritans facing prosecution are to be swept away in a blitz on ‘compensation culture'”. Among the measures are rollbacks of liability for volunteers, emergency service responders and school recreation. “A coalition source said: ‘What we are determined to see is a great extension of personal freedom, at the same times as a rolling back both of the state and the power of the courts.'” [Telegraph]
…and maybe they’ll go away.
18-year-old Lauren Crossan, captain of the Randolph (New Jersey) High School cheerleading squad on a trip to the Hula Bowl, plunged naked to her death from a ninth-floor hotel balcony in Maui in 2004. Police arrested two California men who were staying in the hotel room, but then decided that the death was an alcohol-related accident–Crossan had a BAC of 0.17. (The men told police that they fell asleep while Crossan was still in the room after one had sex with her, and didn’t know what happened to her. Police say there was no evidence of sexual contact or of a struggle.) (AP, “Police: Cheerleader’s death an accident”, Jan. 15, 2004; Gary T. Kubota, “Tests show cheerleader was not on illegal drugs”, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Jan. 27, 2004; memorial site with obnoxious music).
The Appalachian town of Brasstown, North Carolina, had a tongue-in-cheek tradition of celebrating the new year by lowering, instead of a ball, a captured and fattened possum in a plexiglass cage, followed by a release of the animal. This New Year’s Eve, however, the hundreds of attendees were disappointed when, hours before the event, a PETA member threatened legal action against the organizer, who was sufficiently frightened off by the possibility of needing to hire lawyers to back off the annual event. (Jeffrey Gettleman, “A New Year’s Tradition Lives, but the 4-Legged Star Doesn’t”, New York Times, Jan. 2; Jeffrey Gettleman, “Keep Your Ball. We’ve Got the Possum.”, New York Times, Dec. 31). I suppose PETA wasn’t deterred by the anti-tort-reform propaganda going around the blogosphere that falsely implies that volunteers are protected from lawsuit (Dec. 12).