Thursday, October 15, 2009

Res Ipsa Loquitur? Are farmers liable for cow that falls from the sky?

In Spanish the word "res" means cattle and the Latin word "loquitur" sounds like it would be related to "loco" which means crazy, and "ipsa", well, I guess that just sounds fast... so in Puerto Rico, law students remember the concept of "res ipsa loquitur" by translating it as "la vaca corre como loca" -- which absurdly means "the cow runs like crazy". In the US, law students remember res ipsa loquitur from the famous old case of the barrel of flour that falls on the plantiff. Well, now comes today's crazy story about torts combining both of these, sort of... What if a cow, running like crazy, falls off a cliff and lands on the plaintiff? Like I tell my students, I don't make these things up! The story is available here and this is the first paragraph: "A cow fell about 200 feet off a cliff Sunday and landed on the hood of a minivan passing by Rocky Point about one mile east of Manson, officials said." In response, Prof. Jonathan Turley, who brought the story to my attention first, offers other bizarre bovine airborne stories here.

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