Humanist Legal Decisions
These are real rulings. Each ruling is from a public document and most can be found on the web. Nonetheless, here many of them are presented with substitute party names and a few fact adjustments to be clear they are here as examples of humanist thinking and writing in court and not about the parties or even the correctness of the results which, in many cases, might easily be disputed.
On the Separation of Powers
A constitutional challenge to Connecticut’s school mask mandate shows human concerns, human history, and the balancing of competing human rights enshrined in law can take a timely place at the center stage of an emergency.
A Commercial Dispute between Gas Dealers
This decision shows how a court can deal with contract language, statutory language, and case law in a complex commercial dispute without its decision becoming overwhelmed with lengthy quotations or needless citations and side issues.
State May Not Seize Prisoner Attorneys Fees
This decision shows how to directly apply statutory and constitutional principles without losing sight of a real human dilemma: a state that seeks to seize for incarceration expenses the money a prisoner had put aside to pay for the appeal of his incarceration.
Destroying a Family in Order to Save It
A divorce decision shows how to eliminate needless complexity in family law and focus on the family and its future. It also comments on the wastefulness of family court litigation.
On the Constitutional Adequacy of the Connecticut Education System
This holding shows how a court can consider a state constitutional provision guaranteeing free public schools and draw the line considering the people before the court and those who might come after them at deciding that state policies must at least be rational but may not be dictated by the courts. The decision was partially reversed on appeal.
Liability for Cat is a Question of Fact
This decision shows how to bring a personal injury case to life and focus it on a simple decision from everyday life: when must a person take steps to protect visitors from their cat.
Hospitals are Responsible for Emergency Room Care
This decision shows the intersection of statutory interpretation and pragmatism by taking a law making hospitals responsible for emergency room care and noting the impracticality of injured patients freely waiving that responsibility while awaiting care.
No Consitutional Right to the Prison Gym
This decision shows how a prisoner’s constitutional complaint about being barred from the prison gym is best resolved by ruling that the constitution gives him no right to a gym rather than disposing of the case on procedural grounds.
Firefighters Claimed Staffing Emergency
This case illustrates humanist legal writing by briefly establishing the legal standard and focusing directly on the human aspects of a claimed emergency: how likely was a fire department to need extra firefighters during a 60-day delay in an arbitration.
Applying a High Court Ruling on a Sewer Assessment
This decision shows that the common sense of a complicated statute should prevail over a hyper-close reading that might lead to an absurd result.