Law Professors, Law Schools, Lawsuit of the Day

Lawsuit of the Day: Law Prof Trips, Doesn’t Have a Nice Fall

It seems like law professors are constantly trying to trip up students during their Socratic torture sessions, and students have little choice but to sit back and take it. But as soon as a law professor trips, she runs to the courthouse to sue about it.

Somewhat reminiscent of the late Judge Robert Bork’s slip-and-fall at the Yale Club of New York City, apparently speaking on a lecture platform is a little too much work for professors, especially if the platform is “unreasonably small in width and depth.” It seems that even the most prominent of professors can fall prey to a simple lack of coordination.

It just goes to show that even people outside of Cardozo need walking instructions….

Back in 2011, Professor Dinah Shelton of GW Law School was being honored as the first female recipient of the Myres S. McDougal Distinguished Lecturer in International Law award at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. She fell while she was delivering a speech from what she alleges was a podium for ants.

We’re guessing that Professor Shelton’s fall was nowhere near as graceful as this:

Here’s some additional info on Professor Shelton’s unfortunate accident, via Courthouse News Service:

[Professor Shelton] claims: “The raised platform was unreasonably small in width and depth given its planned, foreseeable and expected function at defendants’ event.

“Defendants’ raised platform did not take into account the expected, planned, reasonable and foreseeable movements of Professor Shelton as she gave her lecture.”

According to the ABA Journal, Professor Shelton also claims that her professional obligations as a international law scholar sometimes require her to travel to distant or remote locations — places with “uneven ground.” What’s worse is that GW Law has a lot of buildings and a lot of stairs, and the good professor claims to be having a lot of trouble getting around, even on her law school’s own campus.

Meanwhile, it costs $45,750 per academic year for students to attend GW Law, a school that apparently has stairs that are harder to climb than Mount Everest. Dear God, have you no elevators? Is this school somehow not ADA-compliant? Professor Shelton is surely making a six-figure salary; maybe she should invest in a Hoveround.

For now, we’ll eagerly await Dean Katz’s argument explaining why the platforms at Denver Law are no more dangerous than the platforms at all other law schools, and why it’s a great time to trip and fall at his school.

Honoree Sues Law School for Podium Tumble [Courthouse News Service]
Law prof who fell from platform at awards ceremony sues school [ABA Journal]

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