December 30, 2010

A PRESS RELEASE FROM ACTIVIST GWU LAW PROFESSOR JOHN BANZHAF: Usually his spam is about anti-smoking or anti-fat crusades, but today I got this:

Union Bosses Could Be Sued or Jailed Over NYC Snow Snafu
Workers Reportedly Admit to Conspiracy to Paralyze City

Sanitation workers have reportedly admitted that they deliberately flubbed snow plowing in New York City as part of a union protest, a move which, if true, could make their sanitation supervisors and the union civilly liable in law suits for huge monetary damages, and might even result in criminal charges for homicide for the deaths they apparently caused, argues public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

People who conspire together to cause harm to others, even if the individual acts themselves are not unlawful, can all be held liable under a tort known as civil conspiracy, says Prof. Banzhaf, who teaches torts and is widely know for various public interest activities. These law suits, under a variety of legal theories, might even be brought as class actions, he says. . . . It is also possible, argues Banzhaf, that some individuals – as well as the union – could be held criminally liable for homicide for the deaths which were proximately caused by the deliberate lack of plowing of city streets.

Well, we’ll see. But Banzhaf has an instinct for vulnerability, and it seems to be sounding here. He’s not the only one. “Sure, Mayor Bloomberg planned poorly and should have announced a snow emergency. But this story makes it clear that even if he did, it wouldn’t have made a difference. The question is whether Bloomberg will do anything about it.”

Well, here’s an idea. Do that, and Bloomberg’s third-party campaign might have a chance . . . . On the other hand, let’s not get ahead of the story just yet. Maybe these reports will turn out to be false. They’re certainly convenient for Bloomberg.