Martha Reclamation Program: Dump and Run

Toxic Soup: Ashland's Radioactive Sludge Pits

Toxic Soup: Radiation at Blaine Elementary School

Friday, February 12, 2010

Kentucky Court of Appeals: Let Them Eat Cake!

During one of the famines in France during the reign of King Louis XVI, it was claimed that when Queen Marie-Antoinette heard that the people were suffering due to bread shortages she was so detached from reality that she said, “Let them eat cake.”  Well, reality bit hard when the King and Queen later had their heads lopped off by an angry mob.

The American legal system seems to be a bit detached from reality right now.  Lawyers and judges settle common-sense cases with arcane legal mumbo-jumbo, you know, the “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” type stuff.  This may challenge their intellects and help build their careers but the relevance is lost on the rest of us when it results in warped justice.

These Ashland Oil lawsuits are full of examples of this type of legal nonsense.  For example, this business about a five year limit on filing for damages if someone poisons your well.  Here’s basically how it played out for Woodie Cantrell in court:

Woodie:           I’m suing Ashland Oil for poisoning my well with radioactive radium.
Ashland:           Yes, we admit we enhanced your well water with radium and are sorry you are not pleased.  However, you can’t sue us.  That was more than five years ago.  The state of Kentucky says you can’t wait more than five years to sue someone for poisoning your well.
Woodie:           I didn’t know my well was poisoned until now.
Ashland:           Sure you did.  You complained about salty taste, therefore you knew.
Woodie:           Wait a minute.  My water may have been a bit salty, but I didn’t know it was radioactive.
Court:               Ashland is right, Woodie.  It’s about when you knew that you had been wronged, not about when you knew the wrong was actionable in court.
Woodie:           Hold on.  It’s one thing to have salty water.  It’s another to have radioactive water.
Court:               Sorry Woodie.  It’s not about whether your water is salty or glows in the dark.  It’s all about when you knew Ashland had done you wrong.  And that was more than five years ago, Woodie.  So too bad.
Woodie:           So now I’m stuck with radioactive well water and Ashland won’t clean it up.  What can my family do if they can’t use our well?
Court:               Let them eat cake!

Ashland, clean up your mess!

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