The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Bulletproof

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on October 19, 2010

I sit on our synagogue board, and one of my current projects is writing the perfect liability waiver.

I find myself drafting sentences like:  “I understand that attending Hebrew school is a dangerous activity that may cause serious bodily harm, including death.”

(Now that is a ga-ga game I want to see.)

I trekked over to our county’s law library in downtown Riverside and did some legal research.  The seminal case in premises liability waivers is called Benedek.  As I read through it, I was struck by something:  the shame of being Benedek.

This is his legacy.  Mr Benedek joined a gym:  the Pritikin Longevity Center at Shutters Hotel in Santa Monica.  While riding the exercise bike, he tried to change the TV station by stacking a stool on top of a box, and he fell and hurt himself.

So Mr Benedek is memorialized in the law as a klutz (and a litigious one at that.)

He lost, because the gym had him sign a waiver.  (Hallelujah!  Do you hear the chorus of angels singing?  How I love liability waivers.)

And how odd it must be, to be Mr Benedek, forever remembered for stacking a stool on top of a box to change the channel.  It reminds me of a story a bar review instructor told me, about receiving a Times Picayune clipping from his elderly mother about the death of Miranda, for whom Miranda rights are named.  “He did so much for us all,” his mother had written.

Actually, Miranda is remembered as a guy who got in a bar fight, which, coincidentally, is how he ended up dying.

So sue at your own risk.  You could wind up being the McDonald’s coffee lady, or the reason hair dryers say “do not insert in mouth.”

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