Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Trespass and Harm:
Who Is Least-Cost Bearer of the Risk

This is pretty galling. A teenage criminal trespasses, falls 40 feet, is injured, and sues the building owner for not having maintained a better fence that would have kept him out.

A teenage criminal who received £567,000 in compensation after falling through a roof while trespassing boasted about his wealth yesterday, saying that he was looking forward to buying "a few houses and a flash car".

In his first public interview since receiving the award, Murphy - who has convictions for robbery, burglary and assault - said that he did not care about the response.

"I deserve this money and I don't care what anybody says about me," he said. "I'm going to buy a big house so I have a place to live with me mum when she gets out of jail. I might buy a few houses - I'll buy whatever I want." He added: "The papers just call me a yob and a thug because I've been done for robbery and assault but those were just silly stupid little things, like.

"I want to spend my money the way I want without people interfering and I want to have a prosperous future.

"I want to take my mates to Liverpool games and get a flash car. This money is mine now and I'll do what I want. I don't care about anyone or what they have to say about it."

Murphy received his compensation after suing the company that owned the warehouse. He claimed that if the perimeter fence had not been in disrepair he would not have been able to gain entry and suffer his injuries.

Maybe contributory negligence would have led to some contribution by the building owner (1% of the loss?), but for a tresspasser? I don't care about the doctrinal law in this case -- awards like this create the wrong incentives. If the common law is efficient, what happened here??

Thanks to BenS for the tip. His comment: "Crime does pay."

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