Courting Danger: Injury and Law in New York City, 1870-1910: Injury and Law in New York City, 1870-1910

Overview

Seeking an answer to the question "Why did New Yorkers take so many more injury suits to the Supreme Court after 1870?" Randolph E. Bergstrom blends the perspectives of social and cultural history with legal scholarship to explain how New Yorkers came to pioneer in the litigiousness that present-day Americans find so familiar. Tracing the dramatic rise in injury lawsuits in New York City as the nation entered the twentieth century, Bergstrom sets out to find reasons for the increase, moving from the city's ...
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Overview

Seeking an answer to the question "Why did New Yorkers take so many more injury suits to the Supreme Court after 1870?" Randolph E. Bergstrom blends the perspectives of social and cultural history with legal scholarship to explain how New Yorkers came to pioneer in the litigiousness that present-day Americans find so familiar. Tracing the dramatic rise in injury lawsuits in New York City as the nation entered the twentieth century, Bergstrom sets out to find reasons for the increase, moving from the city's streets, its homes, businesses, and law offices to its courtrooms. He looks at court cases and the forms of danger to be found in the city, at the profiles of the different parties to disputes and the legal professionals involved. Examining the outcomes and consequences of such legal proceedings, his exploration leads back to the injured New Yorkers themselves to find out if a fundamental shift in their legal consciousness night not be behind the change in behavior. In Courting Danger, the parallels to our own time are readily apparent; current cries of legal crisis echo those of a hundred years ago. Charges of excessive litigation and unwarranted use of law streamed from the offices of businessmen, politicians, judges, and bar associations then as they do now. Bergstrom makes it clear that then, as now, lawyers who represented injury victims were attacked as unethical ambulance chasers; jurors were accused of an incapacity to reason, and of acting only on the whims of sympathy. Just as thoughtful surveys of our contemporary landscape have concluded, Bergstrom's close analysis of the injury suits that New Yorkers pursued in 1870, 1890, and 1910 shows that except for correctly detecting the increase itself, those lamenting the change missed the mark in describing and explaining it. The reality of injury litigation, he says, should give us pause when we assess current claims of crisis. Courting Danger will be rewarding reading for legal historians, sociolegal s
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801426070
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1992
  • Series: 4/18/2002
  • Pages: 213

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1 Court Use, 1870-1910 11
2 Danger and Injury 31
3 The Law 58
4 Lawyers 87
5 Judges and Juries 115
6 The Injured: Need and Compensation 144
7 Conclusion: A Change of Mind 167
Bibliography 197
Index 209
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