Whilst
reading an article on legal liability, I ran across a reference to the *
Hand Rule*,
formulated by Judge Billings Learned Hand (yes, that was his
given name). Hand, who studied both philosophy and law, was a judge credited with a keen
sense of honor and fair play as applied, in conjunction with Constitutional principles, to such
as patents, torts, admiralty law, and antitrust law. The *Hand Rule* was born out of
a trial where an improperly secured barge escaped its moorings and caused damage to other boats.
Per the *Hand Rule*:"[T]he owner's duty, as in other similar situations, to provide
against resulting injuries is a function of three variables: (1) The probability that she will
break away; (2) the gravity of the resulting injury, if she does; (3) the burden of adequate
precautions. In mathematical terms: B < PL, where B is the cost
(burden) of taking precautions, and P is the probability
of loss, and L is the gravity of loss. Simply stated, negligence is ruled if the effort required
to prevent an event is less than the likelihood that the event will occur, multiplied by the
severity of the loss. This, of course, is all subjective, which is why he who hires the lawyer
best able to define values for B, P, and L wins the case. I propose an alternate name for it:
*Fuzzy Law*. Posted October 2012 |