Saturday, December 17, 2011

What is "an Act of God"?


These TV news writers have a bit of fun here with the legal phrase, "act of God," invoked by the city government in order to avoid compensating their victim - who happens to be a minister - for the damage their falling street light did to his car.

Of course, the colorful legal phrase has nothing to do with God. "It was an act of God" doesn't mean "Jesus wrecked your car." It's mainly about forseeability.

More importantly, it seems to my amateur judgement that the City of Forth Worth is misusing the concept as well. As I understand it, an act of God is a natural event that has harmful consequences, which event was a) not forseeable and which b) the plaintiff had no duty to guard against. Nothing like that seems to be going on here.

I think the Rev. should see a lawyer.
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