‘I Pity The Fool: Ori Herstein’s Defense of the Klutz’

Ori J Herstein, Nobody’s Perfect: Moral Responsibility in Negligence, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, volume XXXII, no 1 (February 2019), pp 109-125. The sad story of Menlove, the defendant in the English case Vaughn v Menlove is well known to all first-year torts students. Menlove was born, according to his lawyer, with the ‘misfortune of not possessing the highest order of intelligence’, and, as a result did something quite imprudent with flammable material that no person of average or typical intelligence (or judgment) would have done, resulting in a fire that damaged the plaintiff, his neighbor. Menlove’s defense on appeal was that he had acted ‘to the best of his judgment’, and it was unfair to call him a wrongdoer, given that he had acted prudently, given the cognitive and behavioral handicaps under which he operated. Of course, his defense was rejected … (more)

[Anthony Sebok, JOTWELL, 19 December]

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