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Trivia: Negligent Case Lawyers Should Thank Abraham Lincoln

August 29, 2020

From Lincoln’s Last Trial by Dan Abrams and David Fisher comes this nugget.

Few negligence attorneys are aware they owe a direct debt to Abraham Lincoln. Paved streets were still somewhat new in the west, so when a friend of his was injured after falling on an unrepaired Springfield Street, Lincoln brought an action against the city, using the then-unique argument under its charter the city had a legal duty to maintain safe streets. The opinion of the states chief justice, Walter Scates, became a foundation of municipal law. “The obligation is perfect,“ he wrote, turning Lincolns‘s theory into settled law.”

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