Best Commentary: Coyote vs. Acme
Ian Frazier wrote the opening statement in Mr. Coyote’s lawsuit against Acme Corporation for repeatedly selling him faulty equipment. As the saying goes, read it all, but here’s a taste:
At the cost of much time and personal effort, Mr. Coyote built around the outer edge of a mound a wooden trough starting at the top of the mound and spiraling down to a few feet above a Black X painted on the desert floor. The trough was designed in such a way that a spherical explosive of the type sold by the defendant would roll easily and quickly to the point of detonation indicated by the XM Coyote placed a generous pile of birdseed directly on the X, then , carrying the Acme Spherical Bomb (Catalogue #78-832), climbed to the top of the mound. Mr. Coyote’s prey, seeing the birdseed, approached and Mr. Coyote lit the fuse. In an instant, the fuse burned all the way to the stem, causing the bomb to explode.
In addition to negating all of Mr. Coyote’s careful preparations, the premature detonation of Defendant’s product resulted in the following disfigurements to Mr. Coyote:
1. Severe burning of hair on head, neck and muzzle.
2. Soot discoloration.
3. Fractured left ear at the stem, causing the ear to hang in the replica with a grinding sound.
4. Total or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking, crumbling and ashy disintegration.
5. Drastic widening of the eyes, due to charring of the eyebrows and eyelids.
Damages sought: $38,750,000.
Stephen Menard wrote the defendant’s response:
Arizona law is clear on this point: a plaintiff who violates a law whose purpose is safety at the time of his injury is contributory negligence *per se*. There is ample evidence that Mr. Coyote was violating both the laws of gravity and inertia at the time of this incident, and therefore he is responsible for his own misfortunes….
You will also hear the testimony of Mr. Road Runner, the plaintiff’s prey and the real victim in this tragedy. Mr. Runner was forced into a nomadic life due to Mr. Coyote’s unwanted attention, preventing him from forming any kind of long-term relationships. Many restraining orders have had no effect. Mr. Runner has also suffered numerous psychological issues as a result of Mr. Coyote’s actions, including, but not limited to, an inability to trust anyone who supplies him with birdseed, a necessary ingredient in his program. daily nutrition.
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