It’s Great to be a Georgia Gator!

georgia gatorAs a University of Florida alumnus and Florida Gator fan, I couldn’t help but be tickled by Wright v. State of Georgia Dep’t of Natural Resources, from the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Few college football rivalries are as intense or long-running as that between the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs. Held in Jacksonville, FL and billed as “The World’s Largest Cocktail Party,” the Florida-Georgia game is a sacred rite of autumn in the two states. The Bulldogs ruled the series for what seemed like an eternity, inflicting untold suffering on the Gator Nation courtesy of players like Herschel Walker and Lindsay Scott. Then Coach Spurrier and Company came to the rescue, winning 10 of 11 games from 1990-2001.

Which brings us to Wright, a lawsuit in which the plaintiff claimed that certain actions by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources constituted a government “taking” of some alligators that were born and raised on plaintiff’s Georgia farm.

Judge Smith, obviously a jurist with keen political sensibilities, included this footnote:

1. Several times in this opinion, we refer to “Georgia alligators.” We do so reluctantly and soley for the sake of convenience and brevity. We recognize that for literally millions of Georgians and Floridians, the term “Georgia Gators,” or any approximation thereof, is an inherently offensive oxymoron. We apologize for any pain or distress caused by this unfamiliar and unfortunate juxtaposition.

We’ll let it slide this time, Your Honor, but if you ever happen to take up a dog-bite case involving a pug-faced nonresident defendant to the south, please don’t start talking about “Florida Bulldogs.” It would be more than we could stand.

Wright v. Georgia Dep’t of Natural Res., 562 S.E.2d 515, 517 (Ga. Ct. App. 2002). Thanks to Jessie Cranford.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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