Focus Point - Drawing the LineCommentary by Pete du Pont
May 01, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Phillip k. Howard's new book focuses on the triumph of so-called individual rights - rights based on litigation. A few examples will suffice.
A little league second baseman moved to centerfield was hit in the eye after losing a fly ball in the sun. His parents sued, their lawyer arguing their kid should have been instructed on catching flies in the sun. They got $25,000.
In Oklahoma, a child suffered minor injuries on a slide that had been a playground fixture for 50 years. The town got rid of it after the parents threatened to sue, just as towns across the country are removing standard playground equipment for fear of lawsuits.
Many churches have stopped counseling parishioners, fearing liability if the advice doesn't help; and doctors now regard patients as potential malpractice claimants, a situation that has transformed medicine by making doctors turn critical decisions over to the family, to protect themselves from liability.
The book's called "The Lost Art of Drawing the Line," and you'll enjoy it.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, the education fight.