Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Straight Fom the Horse's Mouth: Fall 2007

I stumbled across "professor quotes" threads from years past, and have a few of my own to share. I'll post them in the comments section, so as not to bury the morbidly interesting _____ thread below.

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17 Comments:

Blogger Patrick Bageant said...

From Civil Procedure I, with the esteemed Professor S:


Professor: “I know it’s a puzzle, but believe me, it is what the court will do!”


Professor: [Regarding preclusion] “I know you guys do not like this, but do not hold it against ME!”


Professor: “If you learn nothing from this opinion, you learn that Judge Selya loves metaphors. Phrases like, ‘the steed,’ the ‘old warhorse,’ the ‘old gray mare’….well, that one comes too close.’”


Professor: “Privity does not drive the ball very far forward in the analysis, but it does allow a defendant to say ‘there is privity.’ And then people get all excited.”


Professor: “There are two theories of life: the Hershey bar theory where things break apart neatly and fit back together. And the Mars bar theory, where life is all squishy, and goopy, and the caramel gooshes in with the nougat and nuts. You have to learn to spot these things, to say, ‘Ah ha! This is a Hershey bar theory, or this is a mars bar theory.’”


Professor: [ To student] “I was wondering if you could provide an example of a situation in which someone agrees to be bound to another person’s judgment?”

[Silence]

Professor: "Oh, dear. Isn’t there one in the book?"



Professor: “It might not be wise to say that you as a trust beneficiary have a right to autonomy with your trust. That’s why people put it in trust for you—they don’t trust you.”



Professor: Has anybody been a plaintiff? Nobody? Well. You're all lucky.



Professor: Will the plaintiff have to produce this information in her initial disclosure?

Student: Umm...no, I don't think....yes. The answer is no.

Professor: Really? No?

Student: Well, I thought no. But it sounds like you are leading me to say....yes.



Professor: [Breaking in on student response]: What are you reading here?



Professor: The most important thing you have is your reputation and integrity. It's not to be fooled around with. And that's straight from the horse's mouth--I'm not just sounding off about ethics.



Professor: [To student]: is the court applying a de novo or an abuse of discretion standard of review?

Student: Uh...I would say, abuse of discretion?

Professor: Wrong. At issue is a matter of law, which is addressed with the de novo standard of review.

Student: Then I would say de novo.



Professor: [preparing to call on a student]: I think I've called on this person. Have I called on you?

Student: Me? Yes.

Professor: [going through more names, looking at another student]: Have I called on you?

Student: Yes.

Professor: ****? Have I called on you?

Student: Do you mean like today, or in the history of the class?

Professor: [pointing to student's names]: I mean in the history of this.

Student: Yes, you have called on me then.

Professor: Oh, I think you're just saying that!



Professor: [discussing what information a defendant may demand from a plaintiff prior to a summary judgment motion]: It's not enough to say, 'Plaintiff, remember the game of fish? Give me all your fives!'



Professor: These letters aren't buried. They are in the hot little hand of the lawyer, and he is dying to bring them to court!



Professor: The evidence could not preponderate.



Student: Doesn't it seem like a waste that all this judicial energy is being used for debating this issue?

Professor: Well, that's civil procedure. Are you trying to get me out of a job?



Professor: [asks student a question]

Student: Wow. That's a loaded question.

Professor: Well, *I* didn't load it.



Professor: When the claim is filed it is "tolled." That's a legal term of art -- It must have something to do with England.



Professor: [To student] Are there no standards for that the defendant is doing here?

Student: Well, I don't agree, but, come on, the defendant has to give it a shot! It's a game they have to play.

Professor: You think it's a GAME???




Professor: “…and also, if you, you, ahem, also….so. Yes.”



Student: Is there any danger, not from the other attorney in a Rule 11 motion, but from the judge if an attorney just calls anything an affirmative defense in their answer?

Professor: Yes. The judge will call you a jerk.



Professor: You don't get anything out of being sloppy. You get things out of being careful.

[There was a judge observing the classrooms for both of the above comments]

12/05/2007 1:48 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Thanks for keeping the tradition alive PB.

12/05/2007 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From this year:

"Liquidated damages are the seeds and stems of contracts."

12/05/2007 2:16 PM  
Blogger Patrick Bageant said...

Torts, with professor Sch*:

(I had no idea I had this much, by the way. What the hell was I doing all day in class?)

Professor: Okay, everybody. It’s about that time…

Professor: It’s kind of the perfect storm, the tragic tri-fecta: the plaintiff did not use a seat belt, did not lock the door, and was intoxicated.

Professor: Intoxication seems to be that added, mystery ingredient for so many notable tort accidents. Something many of you to think about, folks.

Professor: If you haven’t seen Spinal Tap yet, it’s never too late!

Professor: I'm sort of in the drinking club soda years but I have this vague memory that--and I think I was in law school--I once had a beer.


Professor: Everybody, I know this is a hard time in the semester, but you're doing great. Everybody is doing great. If you don't believe me, I'll bring in my second grade report card, which my sister just found. It turns out I was NOT doing great. I was doing particularly not great in "communicating clearly," and the other deficiency was "verbal expression," which is not good for a future law professor. Also.....uh, "understanding number concepts." But you already knew that. Also it turns out that I am not a good speller. But then it all worked out because many years later spell check was invented, and now all I have to do is get in the neighborhood of the word, and spell check will bring me home. Does anybody want to hear anything else about my report card?


Professor: They were strangers who have never met each other. Then they were involved in a car accident. Now they're strangers who WISH they had never met each other.

Professor: The two of them were equally involved in the affiar. They both should have noticed the defective nut.

Professor: It's counter intuitive, but this study says groups tend to reach more extreme, less reasonable conclusions than the individuals would have reached on their own. It may be surprising, but people might be smarter on their own than in a group. Then again, maybe that's not surprising for anyone who has ever been to a meeting.

Professor: I just saw a special on the Siegfried and Roy tiger thing. Great show, I don't know if any of you caught it. They simulated the whole accident, and it made you realize -- there is no screen or wall or anything! They just say to each other, "Okay, it's Las Vegas, time to parade the wild animals around." And, do you know what their fallback plan is in case the animals go wild? Their Plan B is to use the fire extinguisher. I don't know about you guys, but it strikes me, as a non-wild animal expert, that that is a somewhat inadequate Plan B.


Professor: All examples in Torts involve an inherent disclaimer: '"we're not holding this out as a lifestyle example," whether the example is talking about Iggy Pop or The Flopper or anything else for that matter.

Professor: I've got three words for you: ...assumption....of...risk -- he knew. Okay, that was five words. But to put it another way, the timorous may stay at home and, I don't know, drink herbal tea.

Student: "You grew up in New York, I was curious if you knew anything about the 'human roulette wheel,' and what that was all about?"
Professor [with disapproving look]: "Well, I'm old, but I'm not that old.

Professor: "The Supreme Court threw the admiralty rule overboard in 1975."

Professor: Last time I went to Disney World they were having an annual meeting of law professors. They had the ALS conference there, and I really hit the right proportion of rides to sessions. Everyone else complained about being in Orlando, so I think it got nixed forever. Which broke my heart.

Student: Wait, I don't understand that.
Professor: What, the word “fatalities”? You don't get it? IT'S. THE. BIG. SLEEP.

Professor: I would like five of you to be on the "jury" for this case, and suggest how much liability you would assess to each patient. [names five names.] [student begins to laugh] Why? What's funny?
Student: Nothing really, we are all in the same module, that's all.
Professor: Oh, you're in the same module? Okay, let's get a volunteer from...not in that module.
Professor: Anyone? [no one volunteers]
Professor: Wait, why do we even care about that again?

Professor: Wait, no you're right. It was the plaintiff, not the defendant. I always get those two mixed up. It's such a problem if you are going to be a law professor.

Professor: I know it’s hot in here today. I've contacted facilities, but I don't think there is anything I can do about it. But I'm sure we will all do our best, and lets just think positive. We can think of all those people in Minnesota who are freezing right now, and pretend we are having a seminar in the Caribbean.

Professor: You will have to excuse me, I am still recovering from yesterday when I was engaged in heavy origami with the kids. Which is something I'm not only bad at, but also hate doing. And to make it worse, my daughter who can't read yet wanted to take the lead and "just do it from the pictures." It was torture. But in case you think I am a bad daddy, I did it. The whole time, though, I just wanted to . . . get out a match.

Professor: Mr. XXXX, would you tell us about Palsgraf. A case, by the way, which is one of the most famous cases in torts. You lucky dog to get to talk about Palsgraf--what I wouldn't give to be back in law school and talking about Palsgraf.
Another student [not Mr. XXXX]: You *are* in law school talking about Palsgraf.

Professor: The Cardozo language in the Palsgraf opinion is full of all this great high rhetoric: "The risk reasonably to be perceived defines the duty to be obeyed." "Risk imports relation." It's like, you don't even know what he is talking about, but it sounds great!

Professor: The classic torts treatise is by Dan Dobbs from the University of Arizona. If I ever get to meet him, I will shake his hand. He has taught me many of things, in my various moments of panic.

Professor: In tax class when I was in law school, we never learned the rules. It was always just, "Well, what should the policy be, what should the policy be?" I didn't find out until later that there was something called a "code" which had been helpfully prepared by some people called "the internal revenue service," and it had all the rules! Apparently what WE thought about POLICY didn't matter even one bit. It’s still true, so, if you guys don't mind, I'm just going to lecture for a little bit here.

Professor: I was at home the other night and my daughter said, "HEY, you're writing in a book!" So I said, "it's okay, it's my book, it's for work, and I'm allowed to write in it."

Professor: [to student] I respond to visual cues. That's just the way I am. But I can't seem to follow your visual cues. Which is another way that I am. So, tell me: what are you talking about?

Professor: This case is kind of like Star Wars, where we find out that the first movie is not the first movie, and you have to kind of go back and put the whole story together afterward. That's what we have to do here.

Professor: [Professor's phone rings] Gee, I think I left my phone on. [Reaches into pocket, pulls out phone. It is ringing. Silences phone]. That was an accident -- it's not some kind of Rudy Giuliani thing.

Professor: If everyone were rational we would be in a world I sometimes call "Epstein-land."

Professor: So who should be liable when a dog bites for the first time and bites a kid.
Student One: The dog owner should. Well, maybe I am biased, I don't really like dogs.
Student Two: Well I have a dog and I like my dog better than kids. They're always poking him, and, I don't know, I just think parents should be more responsible for their kids.
Professor: There is a long standing issue between dogs and kids in the form of poking and tail pulling and what-not. I agree. Hands down, over the last ten thousand years or however long we have had dogs and kids, dogs have certainly had the short end of the stick. No doubt, it is has been thousands of years of long-standing oppression of doggies. Maybe we need to take a more socially conscious, justice-oriented, approach to tort law and right historic wrongs against dogs. Maybe it's time for the dogs to take back what's theirs from the child-oppressors.

Professor: This case is from the golden age of industry in America. So, what does the Massachusetts court say can you do? Yeah, sue the plaintiff! His mangled hand injured your machine!

Professor: You read this case and you see the court held the plaintiff was held totally liable....this must be, like, 1849 or something, right? No! 1959! That's the year I was born! It was like the Wild West, I guess. One thing this case tells us is that Pennsylvania is a pretty tough place.


Professor: Who said they were strangers? Is that Epstein, or the judge in the case. [Flips through the book for ten seconds, looks up] Anyone? Anyone? [Turning to student] Where do you get the idea that they were strangers?
Student: Well, you said that because they were strangers, there was no--
Professor: OH! *I* said they were strangers. It was ME. I remember! Yes, yes, the reason that there were…." blah, blah, blah...

Student: I just have a question abo--
Professor: If it's a hard question we may not have time. If it's an easy question then we have looooots of time. Or, if it's a hard question I could just pass it off to your colleagues. Who probably know as much about tort law as I by now.
Student: It's an easy question.
Professor: Oh, well then. Good. Go ahead.

Professor: "Economic cost analysis is just another way to get to the outcome you want. You get to play Make Up the Figures, and Hope No One Notices! And people think, wow, that must be true, because it's a number--it's math."

Professor: "Of course, 70 is the new 40. Although, maybe it wasn't during Fuller in 1911, which is probably why he couldn't get out of the way of the train."

Professor: Why not make special cases for negligence by the unintelligent? Because people will fake Forest Gump mode. How do you figure out if people are faking Forest Gump mode? How can you tell fake-Forest Gump from quasi-Forest Gump from real-Forest Gump?

Professor: With children, it’s different. If you do what you did when you were nine, but you do it in the law firm environment, they’re going to say “you’re being weird.” But. I’ve done some consulting work with software companies, and there, however, you can act however you want. Right Mr. R***?

Professor: Okay. Let’s talk about adult activities. [class laughs, professor confused for a moment] Oh. Ha ha. “Adult activities.” It’s Tort law folks, it isn’t going to be that much fun.

Professor: “Mr. Xxxx, can tell me about the facts of this case?”
Student: Um, yes. There is an above ground pool…it’s probably in the suburbs somewhere. It had, like, less than three feet of water in it. The plaintiff dived from the roof of the garage, and then struck his head and, um….sued.
Professor. “Right. The plaintiff alleged a defective design having to do with the surface of the pool, because wet vinyl is so much slipp-ier, err, slip-i, slipp-, slipp – slipperier? Yes, slipperier. Slipperier than latex.”

Professor: “And moreover, it is ‘Ladies and gentlemen of the criminal jury’ time, because the Defendant has just engaged in fraud.”

Professor: “The gun manufacturer provided a safety course, which the plaintiff chose not to take, and a locked box to keep the gun in. Hey, I thought locked boxes were only for social security? But it turns out you can use them for guns, too. Which would have been a good idea gun owner’s mini-me in this case.”

Professor: “The doctor found out that his ‘new’ Beemer had been repainted before it was sold to him, which is about four thousand dollars in damages. But under Alabama law, he got two million! It goes to show, don’t mess with my Beemer. Except that I do not have a Beemer, I have a Subaru. But still.”

Professor: “Ding-ding-ding. It’s not within the scope of this course, but there is a legal ethics issue here. Since it’s outside our scope, we will just call them ‘enterprising young attorneys who are raising interesting issues in the ethical gray area,’ and leave it at that.”

Professor: “Another little lesson from Torts class: State Farm said, “don’t worry, you have no liability, we’ll cover everything no matter how much it costs.” Never let any insurance company tell you that, because they are lying. You are liable for everything above the limit. That’s why it’s a limit. Even though it is really nice of them to send you a calendar every year, they do NOT have your interest in mind. It’s like the ZZ Top song, where they say: ‘We’re bad and nationwide.’ State Farm is bad and they are nation wide.”

Professor: “In 835 pages of tort law, I still haven’t recovered from the poor little dunkey. Reading about that poor dunky was hard, and I can tell it has affected us all.”

Professor: “I will be holding office hours during the reading week at the usual time. So if you want to stop by, please do. Otherwise it will be, just, me…..in my office…hanging out. Writing footnotes.”

Professor: “Rich people are also people who care about money—I guess that’s true.”

Professor: “Let’s see, there’s single, double, triple, quadruple, and after that I don’t know the numbers. This punitive award was 145:1. Which must be, like, ‘one-hundred-and-forty-five…..dible,’ or something.”

Professor: “A little tip for you: when you all grow up to be judges writing opinions, remember: a ratio always gets people’s attention. Everything else is kind of….oatmeal-like. But a ratio is terrific.”

Professor: “Britney Spears. Greatest mother in the world? Or not? Discuss.”

Professor: “Ancient wisdom: do whatever you have to do to not anger God. Even if it makes no sense, do it anyway—otherwise you are smoked!”

Professor: If you tell someone a secret, you have assumed the risk that the other person will breach confidentiality. For better or worse, this notion pervades information privacy law.

Professor: Thank you for having my class. I couldn’t have done it without you. It would have just been me in this room, a crazy person talking in a room by myself.

Professor: Three top reasons why law school is like arctic exploration
1: It seemed like a good idea when you first started the trip
2: Shackleton’s motto was “by endurance we conquer,” which works in law school, too
3: Other people make a difference

Professor: Sometimes when big things blow up there is no way to tell if a person has just been negligent. That’s because there is nothing left but a giant hole in the ground. Yet another reason to favor strict liability, I say.

Professor: This individual is blasting near a mink farm, and the sound of the explosion makes the mother minks eat their kittens. That’s not the usual type of harm we associate as being within the risk of blasting, which we tend to think of in terms of rubble and shock waves. I do not even know why they would eat their young, and it seems kind of strange to me, but notice I’m not smiling. I’m chuckling on the inside. So, [ahem] the damage is not even foreseeable, so how should the court address this? You know, I could smile if I wanted to. I just wanted to show you I could do this. Okay, back to torts, what do you say?

Professor: Okay, so Vogel v. Grant-Lafayette: there are these cows on this farm, and they are not having a good time. So milk production is down. So what does the farmer do? Do you think he talks to a vet, or maybe tries to pamper the cows a bit? No. What the farmer does is . . sue.

Professor: My college years? I spent all of those thinking about Dickens, and, um, Rock and Roll.

Professor: Professor [to student]: Send me your email and I will put you in touch with my colleague. He loves talking about the electrical engineering aspects of this case.
Student: I can’t wait.
Professor: I’m sorry?
Student: I said I can’t wait.
Professor. Oh. [to the class]: I think that was dry wit. But hopefully not sarcasm. It’s a fine, fine distinction.

Professor: I briefed this case for you because it is like a David Lynch movie, where it makes artistic sense but not linear sense. I did not want to burden any of you with that.

Professor: It is 1888 and the defendant has been ringing a church bell, which causes the plaintiff to go into convulsions. Note that the defendant says he has “no love for the plaintiff,” and even says he would ring the bell “even if his own mother were ill.” Do you think he meant the plaintiff’s mother, or his own mother? If it was the plaintiff’s mother, I guess we could call him malicious. If it was his own mother, then I guess we could call him unbiased but very mission-centric with regard to the bell. I do not know—what do you guys think?

Professor: The defendant has been breeding St. Bernard dogs. And note, these are the same kinds of dogs as in the dog bite case, Gherts, on page 581. They’re baaaaaack.

Professor: This is what the law and economics people do: they use numbers by making up numbers!

Professor: This kind of economic analysis reminds me of when I sold the co-op in Brooklyn without the help of a real estate agent, which had to be one of the most noble business deals of all time. I’m actually surprised there is not a TV show about it. I did it all by myself, too, mostly by investing a lot of time and energy that belonged to, uh, my friend who is a real estate lawyer. But together we got it done, and I was able to sell the apartment to a person who believe it or not was a psychiatrist. Do you know what it’s like to try and negotiate with a psychiatrist?

Professor: “I just recently found out pesto contains pine nuts. Apparently it’s common knowledge, but I had no idea. I think it is part of my child-like wonder and appeal. What do you think? It’s like carpaccio—does anyone know what carpaccio is?”
[Class in unison: “Raw beef”]
Professor: “Right! Well, I had no idea, and I have been ordering this stuff! Child-like wonder an appeal, folks.”

Professor: Probably after reading these dog tort cases you are suddenly seeing St. Bernard dogs everywhere. You probably went years without event thinking about a St. Bernard, and now they are everywhere. Just . . . looking. . . at . . . you.

Professor: “[Calling on a student to brief a case] It’s like Joe Friday says: ‘Just the facts, ma’am.’”
[Silence]
I guess you guys are too young to remember Dragnet, aren’t you?
[Silence]
Yeah, I thought so. Anyway, back to Miss XXXX”

Professor: “Does the Defendant cite law? Yes, he does! He cites Newton’s laws of physics! He says the facts, as the Plaintiff states them, are physically impossible. It’s like the famous joke: Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?
[Silence]
It’s a…uh, famous joke. I just gave you the punch line, but you can fill in the rest as you, you know, go on through your lives.”

Professor: Cardozo is….not very interested in the facts. He is interested in killing off the doctrine of privity. So we will call his behavior to that end a, uh, “streamlining” of the facts.

Professor: That’s the point that is the point.

Professor: The possible defects in products liability are just, countless. Maybe Barbie is okay, but Barbie’s cell phone has a lot of lead in it . . . or a goldmine.

Professor: Target (or as we like to say in my house, ‘Tah-Je’) is under a lot of pressure from consumers to sell the hot new products.

Professor: “For a given patient, stroke and permanent disability may be worse than death. And that’s exactly what Count Dracula said: To die, to be truly dead, that must be truly glorious!”

Professor: “I do not know what the odds would be, but they are one in a big, big number.”

Professor: “People tend to worry too much about getting gobbled up by a shark, and not enough about getting hit by lightning.”

Professor: “We’re not objective in tort law. Or, at least not in this classroom.”

Professor: “I was worried when I started to read this opinion. It’s like the literary analysis of tort cases. First, they go through all the warnings on the product. There were 7 of them, which is kind of a biblical number. That gets the ball rolling and then the tension builds from there. And as I’m getting to page 749, I begin covering my eyes, only I realize I couldn’t read….so I uncover them, and then at the top of 750—the accident! I mean, I could feel it building up, and then when the accident happened I screamed. It was a scream of horror. Even though I have read this case, like, 18 times. Every time, they get me. Every time I get to the top of page 750, I scream the scream of horror.”

Professor: In law school I was a back of the room, kind of down the hall, type of person.

Professor: Okay. Now we are going to talk about special relationships.

Professor: Cornell, I know that place: cold, really cold. Great food because of that hotel school, but it's still really cold.

Professor: The man taunted the other guy to take his life, winning the Darwin award, no doubt.

Professor: I had a dream I was called on in class, and I didn't know the answer. Which is scary because I was the professor.

Professor: Without my jokes the collection of human heartbreak and tragedy we are supposed to generate in law school, and especially in torts, would be too much to bear.

Professor: Trying to explain why the dog doesn't bark in the night -- as opposed to why something did happen -- is extremely difficult.

Professor: The problem with law professors is that we like to sit in our offices and make up things, generate hypotheses, and make theories. It turns out that if you go outside and actually talk to people you can actually learn things.

Student: How far along the historical timeline was it discovered that lead paint is harmful?
Professor: This is one of the questions you get to answer if you are law professor, because law professors are old. It was in the 1960's. I remember when it happened.

Student: I can explain this. If you have two vectors and they are moving in non-perpendicular planes, and they collide--
Professor: Wait, wait. Vectors? That's quite a word.
Student: Yeah, it was my goal today to slip that one in there. But anyway, if they collide, then the sum of the square of their--
Professor: No, no, no. Isn't it enough to say, from a physics perspective, that bigger faster things hit harder than littler slower things?
Student: Well.....yeah. I guess. But it sounds a lot less dignified.
Professor: That's who I am!

Professor: You can charge people who lie with perjury.
Student: Who is perjury?

Professor: Isn't all life about just telling ourselves stories? Have you ever heard that? Sometimes the stories are more compelling than others.

Professor: The operation was a success, but the patient died.

Professor [on what he proudly called "all check day" where all but a few students' names had checks indicating they had been called on in class]: Okay. Miss XXXX, would you tell us about Gyerman v. United States Lines Co.?
Student: But you already called on me!!!
Professor: Isn't that strange?
Student: I thought you were supposed to call on the last few people who hadn't been called on right?
Professor: So what you are saying is I really have called on someone else?
Student: And when you called on me all day, too! You kept coming back to me for the whole class!!
Professor: Geeze. Aren't you supposed to be SCARED of me? I think I am losing my grip on the classroom.

Professor: I have this passion for loading the dishwasher, to the determent of others in my family. There is ONLY ONE RIGHT WAY!

Professor: There is kind of a zig, and then a little zag in this opinion.

Professor quote: Wow. That was a great response. Did you know I was going to call on you?
Student: I saw you looking at me before class, yes.

Professor: [Deciding to use the isocratic method] Let's poll somebody, lets reach out and touch somebody today!


Professor: Is Ms. J*** here?
Student: Um...that's Mr. J***.

Professor: This is kind of like the Wilson Pickett song, ninety-nine and a half just wont do. I don't know if that's a cultural reference for anyone other than me.

Professor: Yeah, so I guess the answer is.....well...yeah. I don't know what the answer is.

Professor: So what is negligence theory broadly, like, we're in the plane at 50 thousand feet and we look out? What do we see? We see duty, breach, causation, damage, and lots of lawyers. That's negligence from 50 thousand feet.

Professor: Sorry, that wasn't clear. As Led Zepplin said, nobody's fault but mine. Zepplin does not help much either, does it?

12/05/2007 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

somebody's a little obsessed...

12/05/2007 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same Torts class as PB's:

Some people think exams are all policy -- but I don't want untethered philosophical musings on the future of tort law in the 22nd century...or whatever one we are up to now. (I lose track.) I want the answer to the question.

I think the question the student is asking is this: why in God's name is THIS case in the casebook? Which is a good question.

Newsflash: Learned Hand was not the first person in the history of the universe to come up with cost benefit analysis.

12/05/2007 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a hippie too!

12/05/2007 6:18 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Bekki, please repost with redacted names (although even that wasn't enough to keep me from getting in trouble with the Ninth Circuit).

12/05/2007 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean, being an oncomouse would suck and all, but being patented is probably the least of your worries...

12/06/2007 11:11 AM  
Blogger Patrick Bageant said...

In case anyone doesn't remember, here is what we learned this semester in Criminal Law with Professor K.:

Professor: What were the Cunningham principles, from the gas meter case? [calls on student]
Student: Oh, I wasn't raising my hand.
Professor: I wasn't accusing you of raising your hand. I was asking you to tell us about the case.

Professor: That's the point of law school: to destroy your intellectual integrity and prepare you to make strong arguments for...anything at all.

Professor: If the prosecution is looking for something to throw at them conspiracy is one of the best things to throw because it sticks to EVERYTHING.

Professor: "The plan for today is...rape."

Professor: "Larry Craig knew hew as in some sense 'playing' at the edge of the law."

Professor: "California goes through waves of xenophobia, and this statute was passed in one such moment. It turns out, though, that being human can't be criminalized."

Professor: The court adopts an "honest belief" rule. And a greater variety of honest beliefs are available to you if you are drunk.

Professor: The criminal justice system in England in the 1700’s was a pretty rough-and-tumble place. But comparatively enlightened compared to post-Hinckley America.

Professor: Here is one way to think about the insanity defense in this case: either God is actually speaking to this person, and you ought to acquit. Or, they are really crazy, and you ought to acquit.

Professor: What does it all mean? Well, nothing really. Finding the truth is undeniably a messy endeavor.

Professor: This may be a rare case where you can build a strong chain out of weak links.

Professor: If you are facing a gun, what does that say about retreat?

Professor: “The case is the one where the Crips start talking smack to the Bloods.”

Professor: “This is troubling doctrine. I can’t teach conspiracy law without becoming severely depressed.”

Professor: You and your friend and your friend’s Special Friend are hanging out, and you agree to drive your friend and Special Friend to a hotel. Unbeknown to you and your friend, Special Friend is underage. Nothing good can happen here.

Professor: The middlemen agree with the retailers and the smugglers to distribute drugs to the consumers, who rely on the agreement between the retailers, middlemen and the smugglers, who all rely on those same agreements, too. It’s kind of silly, isn’t it? It’s kind of like asking: How many agreements constitute Exxon?

Professor: M is having an affair with G, and (I guess this is his idea of pillow talk) M says: “This merger is taking place, you should do some insider trading.” G goes to her other lover P, and passes on the tip. Are P and M conspiring?

Professor: The defense in an antitrust cases says, “sure it would make sense for our parallel conduct to be agreed upon, but we couldn’t have done that, because doing that would be wrong.”

Professor: The libertarian theme in American jurisprudence is that people acting on their own are only kind of dangerous. But when they get together in groups, especially liberal-pinko-commie-union groups, or contraceptive groups, man do they ever become dangerous.

Professor: This defendant pharmaceutical distributor in this case is selling a gross quantity of narcotics to one doctor—an amount far disproportionate to the physician’s regular practice. Maybe he’s Rush Limbaugh’s personal physician, or something.

Professor: Torts is all about risk allocation. Criminal law is not about risk allocation or even creation. It it about harm creation.

Professor: It's like the guy who walks up to a hardware clerk and asks, "Do you have a torch that's really good for cutting through bank vaults?"

Professor: This poor trial judge, he really got things wrong. He messed up both the mens rea jury instructions, and the actus reus instructions. And then he ended up in Kadish's caseboook!

Professor: You can read the paper and say, "Another Wells Fargo has been knocked off. Good! I hate those ATM fees!" That doesn't demonstrate any mens rea. It's just an expression of joy.

Professor: We are talking about liability. Imagine you are a clerk at Wal-Mart and his guy walks in and says, "I'm having this dispute with my landlord, and I really need to solve it. What do you have......in a high caliber weapon?" Are you liable if you sell him a gun?
Student: Well, isn't there a statute that prevents merchants from selling in those situations?
Proessor: Maybe. But, okay, then imagine you are upstairs and you hear arguing downstairs. Your neighbor knocks politely on the door and when you open it he and says, [friendly neighbor voice] "Hey, sorry about all the noise. We're just having a little dispute. Do you have a large knife?"
Student:: That seems like such a radically different context....
Proessor [friendly neighbor voice]: ".....and I would also like to borrow a chainsaw."


Professor: I'm not an accomplice to my cat's killing of birds, just because my cat brings me a dead bird. My cat probably thinks I am an accomplice, but....this isn't a good example, it is?

Professor: What would be the effect of holding friens liable as accomplices for strict liability crimes like statutory rape. What if you were guilty for loaning your keys to a friend who took a 17 year old home?
Student: Ummm....you wouldn't want your friends to have sex?
Professor: Or maybe only if they are at the senior center.

Professor: We will go on to solicitation on Thursday. Let me warn you all in advance: if you have trouble understanding the Jaffe case, that's because it makes no sense.

Professor: "I don't know if there is such a thing as a 'social club' where things illegal don't take place."

Professor: This is nuts. The court says, 'I know the New York law gives you a defense, but in FANTASY LAND there is this other law which is more strict, and since the New York law kind of resembles this fantasy land law in other totally unrelated ways, we're going to put you in jail.'"

Professor: "As you can see from this case, two out of five appellate judges think that 'any' means 'any.' I have no idea what the other three think."


Professor: "Let me try to remind you about what we are doing. Before the break we were talking about mistake of fact, and were just getting ready to get into mistake in law. But let me try to remind you what we were doing generally -- we were talking about Criminal Law."



Professor: "Let's talk about the professions of airline pilots, dentists, and police officers, all of which are radically disproportionate in cheating on their income taxes."



Professor: I love Canada. This approach is the Canadian way of doing it.
Student: Can I ask a question?
Professor: About Canada?
Sudent: No, I don't think so.



Student: What's the difference between this case and, say, a gun ownership case?
Professor: It's a great American tradition to own a gun, and it isn't a great American tradition to own a grenade.



Professor: I think in Berkeley they recently arrested a guy with an apartment full of fully automatic weapons. It was down on Telegraph somewhere. They were probably mostly upset though, because he smoked cigarettes.



Student: The whole thing is ridiculous because statute makers are not always the best Grama-ticians.
Professor: Grammarians?



Professor [discussing a particular homicide defendant]: He is not indifferent to life, though. He prefers life to non-life, this kid.
Student: So he is telling himself, "Life, I love it, let's play Russian roulette and nobody die"?
Professor: Right!



Professor: What is the thing that is central to manslaughter?
Student: A dead person?
Professor: I was looking for "recklessness."
Student: Oh.

12/06/2007 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am confused - do people write down exactly what their professors say and then flag it somehow as funny or cute? How do you all have all these quotes? I think it's weird.

12/07/2007 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's more interesting than the rest of what's going on. (It does help tremendously to have been in the class at the time.) Thanks for taking the time to do this.

12/07/2007 10:58 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

I used to create a section at the bottom of my notes labeled "Professor Quotes." Then during class, whenever I heard something funny, witty, silly, or sad, I'd recreate it in that section as best as I could. Often I'd be corrected by those around me, and sometimes even here in the comments.

12/07/2007 10:58 AM  
Blogger Patrick Bageant said...

That's exactly what I did, professor quotes heading, and all.

Creepy.

12/07/2007 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, that's not so weird afterall. And a great way to make oneself pay attention.

12/07/2007 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CP I, Prof. E.S.:


"Life is short and time is fleeting."

"No human institution is perfect."

12/07/2007 3:15 PM  
Blogger Patrick Bageant said...

Three more from ES, as I comb my notes and brace for her exam tomorrow:

Professor: "The etymology of 'plausible' is 'worthy of applause.' So, after this opinion, judges are going have to evaluate pleadings by using their applause-meter."

Professor: "It is a weasely footnote. I don't condone it."

Professor: "School bus full of cute little children versus great big evil corporate monster? Who would YOU find for?"

12/13/2007 2:05 PM  

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