Saturday, April 16, 2005

Atwood's got nothing on Denning

In honour of studying for Torts, and also because I like to make procrastination as creative as possible, (and thus make myself believe it isn't such) I thought I'd relate my favorite cases from this last year. As I've said before, despite being almost morally reprehensible from every angle, Torts sure does make for a fun read.

Accordingly, I present the top three torts as I've seen them. True, I've embellished the facts a little, but that's only because we pick our judges for their reason, not their evocative phrasing. Ahem:

3. Halushka v. University of Saskatchewan
Halushka, armed with a thirst for knowledge, enrols at the august institution in question and looks forward to a successful life ahead. Soon, however, student loans catch up with him, and he is falling behind in class. He needs money, and one day on campus, he spots an ad, offering $50 to take part in a medical test. Excited, he signs up, looking to be richer and healthier. What he didn't read up on, was that the test was for an experimental anaesthetic, never before tested on humans. He goes into coma.

When he emerges from the prolonged slumber, he squints at the bright light, but his eyes soon focus on the room around him, the nurses beside him, and... the fifty dollar bill lying on his chest.

2. School Division of Assiniboine v. Hoffer
Rube Goldberg would be proud. Father and son, perhaps longing to reconnect after an absentee upbringing, head out to play on a snowy afternoon. They bring Rosebud, the family toboggan, and have fun on the gentle slopes of the nearby park. But soon, fun turns to challenge, and an insatiable need for more speed. On one fateful run, the toboggan veers uncontrollably to the left, heading for a building - the local school. Father tries his best to regain handling, but soon they collide with a metal pipe emerging from the building.

They escape relatively unscathed, but little do they know, their collision sets off a chain reaction (part Fight Club, part Final Destination and part Donnie Darko), causing a gas leak inside the school. Over the weekend, it fills with highly flammable natural gas, and at some point, maybe when a lonesome janitor flicks on a light to see if he'll have company for once, a spark lights a massive explosion the likes of which the little town has never seen. Father and son grow apart.

1. Weiss v. YMCA
Meet Weiss, a delivery man in a hurry. He enters the local YMCA through its sparkling clean glass doors, shooting a longing glance to the receptionist at the main desk. Although not recorded in the facts, there is no doubt a latent sexual tension between the two - but on this particular day, Weiss has a very important package, he's double parked, and has no time for romantic trivialities. He delivers the package, and heading out, having no time to talk, he marches with confidence and speed.

Unlike the chivalric Orpheus of ancient myth, he doesn't look back, but his fate is no less damned. The receptionist watches lovingly from her desk as Weiss walks directly through the glass doors. Glass shatters like the romance that would never be.

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