2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Good Doggie, Bad Doggie

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Inside Otis: No Tort. Outside Otis: Tort — John McNeil

2012 Spot the Tort Contest

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Tort With a View

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

This guy was riding in the back of the truck on I-240 going 70 mph.  Can’t say if he made it to his destination, but I haven’t heard anything to the contrary on the news. — Meelad Hanna

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Eat More Cow, Commit Fewer Torts

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Someone at my apartment complex left a trail of Chick-fil-A sauces on the ground. You could easily slip on one of these yummy packets if you are not careful! — Courtney Sharp

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: A River Runs Through It

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

This tort waiting to happen has been staring me right in the face all along. This is the man-made stream that runs through my apartment complex. Lots of kids, most of them fairly young, play on the grassy area on its banks. The water’s probably not more than a foot deep, but I’ve heard kids aren’t very smart and can drown in an inch of water. — Natalie Worlow

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: [Don't] Walk This Way

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

The box indicating when to walk and how much time remains is oriented in a way that those actually crossing at the corner cannot see.  I think a storm moved it a while ago and it has never been fixed. Not knowing how much time I had left to cross the street and avoiding death was the most exciting part of my morning. – Thomas Turner

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Police Inaction

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Traffic lights are out at one of busiest intersections in downtown Memphis, Danny Thomas and A.W. Willis. (The camera made the scene look brighter than it was.)

Memphis PD are sitting in the turn lanes and off to the side outside of the lit areas with all lights off, not even running lights. Instead of directing traffic at the intersection, the police were watching drivers go through the intersection then pulling them over to give them tickets. On multiple occasions I witnessed, thankfully, near misses. — Rob Clapper

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Watch Your Step

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

This is where two slabs on concrete meet on a sidewalk at the corner of Front Street and Union.  It looks like the concrete began to buckle and someone “fixed” it by putting the metal cover so that it would be a smooth surface.  The only problem is that the metal is unhinged from the sidewalk and it protruding upwards, waiting for someone to trip over it and fall face first onto the concrete. – Ariel Anthony

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Flesh-Ripping Bench

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

This just seems like a bad situation waiting to happen. I’m not sure if it’s a tort but it seems like someone is going to get hurt. This bench is at bus stop across from the law school. — Rachel Cade

McClurg note: Yes, I would say this is definitely a potential tort, assuming the city had actual or constructive notice of it.  In fact, “a bad situation waiting to happen” is a good way to describe a potential tort.

2012 Spot the Tort Contest

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Plywood Playground

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

I am not sure if this is a tort, but I do know the neighborhood kids thought it was a playground! — Jessica Wargo

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Multi-Ton Rolling Tort

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

This truck was completely stopped and stuck on the curb, which is why I had a chance to take the picture. The quality is not the best, but the brake lights are not only broken they are smashed out. Also, nothing in the bed of the trailer is strapped down!

I was waiting for one of the plastic poles on the side to roll off. Then I noticed that the construction machine was not tied down. Then at this point I was wondering how much damage this would do if it came off the trailer. Gravity does not work miracles! — Jessica Wargo

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Loose Chicken in Danger of Being Converted

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

My mom took a great picture for the contest! As you can see, someone lost their favorite pet chicken, and he just happened to wander out to Gus’s Fried Chicken in Collierville. Now Gus is all about saving money and the price of chicken these days is just so high … sounds like an exam question right? Trespass to chattels? Conversion? — Stewart Hornor

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Gym Workout May Include Running to ER

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

This is a photo of a potential tort I spotted at the gym this weekend. The negligence of failing to close this safety pin on a locker key could result in someone losing an eye or receiving an unwanted piercing. — Sheerin Mehdian

McClurg footnote: I would go further and argue this is a defective design for a locker room key ring.

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Don’t Run to This Bathroom in a Hurry

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

The size of this restroom compared to the size of its vanity in a mom and pop restaurant in my hometown of Savannah, TN, appears to me to create a danger for people who enter the restroom without paying careful attention or to those needing to get out quickly in case of a fire. — Terry VanEaton

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: The Door to Nowhere

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Forget Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere; here’s my neighbor’s Door to Nowhere. I haven’t been able to find out why it’s there–except to tempt small children to try to fly. — Natalie Worlow

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: “Outside the Box” Electrical Outlet Danger

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Stubbed my toe and about busted on the carpet in the 4th floor reading room of the law school because of  this thing.

Now that we’re done with the memo, I’m hoping to get out this weekend to spot more torts. There will be a lot of Aggies in town for the Ole Miss game. To quote Top Gun, it’ll be a “target rich environment.” — Rob Clapper

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Bathtub Tort Disguised as Tree Limb Tort

2012 Spot the Tort Contest

Bathtub in road hidden behind tree limb.

2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Here are a couple of (admittedly bad and small) photos of a partially fallen tree in the west bound lane of Stage-Delano Road [in Shelby County]. Hidden from the view of west bound motorist by the fallen tree, a danger in itself, was a fiberglass bathtub. The tub is visible to east bound motorists and is shown in the east bound photo. It was in the road for at least two weeks.

2012 Spot the Tort Contest

View from other direction.

Over that course of time, I noticed that the tub appeared to have been struck at least twice. I do not know if it was struck by a passing motorist. I can attest that damage to the tub increased at least twice over the course of my observations as I passed to and from the law school over the two weeks.

I am happy to report that it appears that the right of way on the street was mowed today and the tree and tub were removed. — Terry VanEaton

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: “Nearly Lost a Public Defender Here”

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Potential tort spotted at the corner of Front and Gayoso [in downtown Memphis]. I nearly lost a Shelby County Public Defender. — Melissa Harris

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: The Leaning Staircase of Memphis

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

This is the outside staircase I use each and every day at my apartment. It scares the living daylights out of me. It’s hard to tell from the pic, but the poles holding it up are leaning to the right. I like to think of it as the rusted out Leaning Staircase of Memphis. Sort of like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, only much more terrifying. — Natalie Worlow

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Faulty Foundation

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Here’s a pic of the column holding up the front of my apartment building — resting on a few random bricks. Take my word for it that there’s no mortar between those bricks or anything physically connecting the column to said bricks. I’ll send you a pic of the outside staircase tomorrow–it scares me! — Natalie Worlow

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Another Safety Cone Fix

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Just before school started the city public works department came to my house to replace a clay sewer pipe under the street.  I took these photos a few minutes ago.  I wonder how many more times I need to call them; I’m sure they could use the orange cone elsewhere! — Rick McCabe

2012 Spot the Tort Contest: Loose Pool Table

2012 Spot the Tort Contest2012 “Spot the Tort” Contest with my 1Ls at the University of Memphis law school:

Possible tort spotted this morning on Walnut Grove in front of Baptist East Hospital.  The picture is a bit blurry, but the pool table in the back of this tailgate-less truck was secured to the truck bed by nothing other than gravity. The truck also did not have functional brake lights, as we were all at a complete stop at the red light when I took the photo. — Melissa Harris


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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