I know more about personal jurisdiction than I did a week ago.
I know more about negligence than I did a week ago.
I know more about due process than I did a week ago.
And I know I have a lot of work ahead of me.
This past week was the first of my law school career. Already, I've briefed more than a dozen cases and my bookmarks have made a noticeable leap towards the center of my textbooks. Here are the highlights from two of my favorite classes so far:
My torts professor was at one time roommates with Ben Stein. It shows. His dry sense of humor shines through during class and makes it quite entertaining and very easy to stay engaged. We've started the course with negligence and trying to grasp the reasonable person standard and all the different ways that standard can be applied.
One of the more interesting of the cases we've read is Parrot v. Wells, Fargo & Co. Parrot, a landlord, sued the company for the cost of repairs outside the company's lease after Wells destroyed most of Parrot's building when an employee tried to open a crate of nitroglycerine with a mallet. The holding? The employee's actions were that of a reasonable person because he had no idea what the crate contained and it would be overly burdensome to require the company to inspect the contents of every crate or rely on the word of the shipper.
This class has featured one of the more convoluted opinions I've read so far, Pennoyer v. Neff. The case set in motion the original concept of personal jurisdiction and set requirements such as having to serve the defendant in the forum state or attaching property prior to suit. I read that case more times than I would have liked and it's still a bear.
Luckily, the cases we've read since show how personal jurisdiction has evolved. I'd think I'd be hard-pressed to have to cite Pennoyer outside law school, but it's good to know the origins of personal jurisdiction.