It has been a long time since I published here...perhaps I will pick it up again sometime soon. For now, though, this is what is on my mind this morning. I found myself mourning my first lover yet again, after 12 years. I found myself wondering if grief ever goes away, or if it just collects faces like ribbons added to the breast of a soldier committed to fighting the good fight until its own untimely death, until grief succumbs to itself and chooses its last breath?
Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
but only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.
If Ford built a truly defective vehicle that didn't meet federal safety standards or in some other way caused the death of this young man through no fault of the operators, such a financial punishment might be merited. But Lance Crossman Hall died in a 1997 traffic accident not just because the Explorer can be tipsy when swerving, but because his friend and the driver of the vehicle, Melahn Parker, fell asleep at the wheel.
Parker, who was charged with reckless driving, awoke and tried to regain control of the Explorer. But a “handling problem” caused the SUV in her care to turn sideways and roll over.
The fault in this accident begins with a young motorist asleep at the wheel and ends with a tragic fatality. A contributing factor was the type of vehicle being driven - which probably could just as easily have been a Chevy Blazer or Isuzu Trooper or almost any other SUV.
Does that make Ford primarily liable for Lance Crossman's death? Not at all, certainly not to the tune of $61 million.
This case had a more tragic ending, and thus asks more important questions and is a more worthy court candidate, than the infamous lawsuits filed by those who pour hot coffee in their own laps or who eat themselves into obesity. But the end result in this game of my lawyer vs. yours all too often is the same: Massive financial awards by juries to individuals (or their victims) who first shirked their own responsibilities.