Mr. [Legal] Manners Responds To Parents Of Legal Bubble Boy

One of my former torts students sent me the exchange below from Miss Manners in the Washington Post that takes risk averse lifestyles to a new extreme in the form of waivers for child play dates. I often joke in class that I have students sign waivers when visiting my house for our class party. She probably thought this was one of my neighbors.

Here is the exchange:

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son is invited to spend time in the home of one of his classmates. The classmate’s parents request that I sign a release of liability before my son arrives. I think this is unbelievably rude — as if to imply that I would sue them if there is an accident or injury!

Am I overreacting, or has our society really come to believe that anyone who visits your home, and is injured, will sue?

GENTLE READER: Well, there is an awful lot of suing going on. But that is all the more reason to be wary of people who harbor anticipatory litigious thoughts about their children’s playdates.

However, that is not the only worry that Miss Manners would have if she were you. What goes on in that household that such a precaution is necessary?

First, I must object to Miss Manners horning in on our territory. I have never been able to get my Mr. Legal Manners off the ground and this is probably why.

Second, much like the annual competition for the most wacky product warnings, this response is not based on any real legal threat to homeowners or runaway litigation. Negligence has ample protections for homeowners on playdates. When the kid sticks the carrot up his nose, you really are not liable nor is the farmer or the grocer.

Third, as the parent of four kids under 13, you do not want your kid at a house where they are raising the legal bubble boy. Not only is it icky, it is delusional.

Finally, next time they ask you to sign a waiver, you might want to ask for an agreement on standard mediation clause, choice of jurisdiction, and the participation of a notary. Finally, there are details to be worked out over force majeure questions that might arise during standard games like capture the flag. Now that I think about it, these parents may have a point. I would encourage any parents wanting a liability safe play date to contact me for waiver drafting, review of waivers, and escrow services (for deposits on liability or litigation costs). Below is my new logo but I may need suggestions on the slogan. Here are a few options:

JONATHAN TURLEY — BECAUSE NO CHILD SHOULD BE WITHOUT HIS LAWYER

JONATHAN TURLEY — GIVE YOUR CHILD THE GIFT OF REPRESENTATION

JONATHAN TURLEY — LIKE A SECOND [CONTINGENCY BASED] FATHER

JONATHAN TURLEY — LITIGATING PLAYGROUND SLIP AND FALLS SINCE 2012

JONATHAN TURLEY — IF YOU HAVE A WEDGIE, YOU HAVE A LAWYER

JONATHAN TURLEY — BECAUSE SUE IS NOT JUST A CUTE NAME

Kudos: Hannah Hodel

Source: Washington Post

16 thoughts on “Mr. [Legal] Manners Responds To Parents Of Legal Bubble Boy

  1. Kinda funny….But apt with some folks….I recall an episode of car talk and someone actually called in to ask them how to Blow-Up a Ford LTD….

  2. Ms Manners has a very good point, what the heck goes on in that house that this person expects other children t actthe same way when thy are there?

    I’d vote for the last “JONATHAN TURLEY — BECAUSE SUE IS NOT JUST A CUTE NAME.” ((*_*))

  3. It’s Either Waiver Now or Waive(r) Goodbye to Your Assets Later!

    JT, It’s the one I use now so you’ll need a franchise and licensing agreement, too. I find it has just that touch of fear that cements the deal. :D

  4. There are some current ads that could be tweaked:

    JONATHAN TURLEY — When it absolutely, positively, has to be litigated

    JONATHAN TURLEY — The ultimate litigating machine

    JONATHAN TURLEY — When you care enough to retain the very best

    JONATHAN TURLEY — Say it with a subpoena and counter-suit

    JONATHAN TURLEY — Snap! Crackle! Pop! Good in a bowl but not on a playdate

  5. Just curious Dredd, is there any thread you can not link to your own blog from? Do you write your posts after you see whats here so you can link to your blog?

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