December 14, 2006
Texas Football and Torts
There's an interesting torts subplot developing on Friday Night Lights. (We PVR it, so forgive me for being a little late.)
The series, as you may know, follows a season of small-town high school football in Texas, where football is, shall we say, kinda important. The starting quarterback as the season begins, Jason Street, is paralyzed in the season's first game while tackling an opposing player running back an interception. He's been in rehabilitation since then and the series has taken him through what could reasonably be described as some tough times.
In the most recent episode (full video free online after some ads) the possibility of litigation relating to his injuries has come up for the first time. (He appears to come from a comfortably middle-class but not wealthy families, and the financial stress of his medical care has been acknowledged, fairly subtly, a couple of times.) The meeting with the plaintiff's lawyer who's exploring the case was well-done, with the lawyer looking for factual theories of liability ("Did your coach ever instruct you in the proper ways to tackle a player?" or something like that) and Street's resistance to anything like blaming his coach (roughly, "I threw the interception, I made the tackle"). The attorney is made to seem like neither an angel nor the devil incarnate, but instead a smart guy trying to see if there's a case to be brought.
I assume the subplot will continue, and it should be interesting to follow. If you're not watching the show, it's well worth-watching apart from (despite?) the torts-related aspect -- it's not at all only for football fans, and it's one of the best new shows. It has phenomenal production values, generally good performances, and solid writing.
Of note, one of the executive producers is my law school classmate Sarah Aubrey.
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