THE DECISION: I sympathize with the Seau family, but here's the catch. They're saying he should never have played football. And now they apparently want the money he would have made if he hadn't stopped.
The family has to take a stand one way or the other. They can't make up middle-ground like, "Well, we wanted him to play safe football." There is a safe version of football: it's called "freeze tag." If they wanted Seau to play professional football, they have to accept the dangers. If they didn't want him to play professional football, and they can prove his death was a direct result of the NFL's negligence, then they should get the money he would have made as an uneducated, non-athletic Samoan man.
THE VERDICT: Judgment for the plaintiff for $42.
THE SECOND CASE: Lori Stodghill was seven months pregnant with twins when she went to Colorado's St. Thomas More hospital. She died during delivery, and her husband is suing for negligence. The Catholic hospital is fighting back by saying that fetuses aren't people, so they aren't covered by the state's Wrongful Death Act.
THE DECISION: This case differs from the previous one because the Catholic Church isn't the plaintiff, so they don't need to specify whether fetuses are people or not. They don't even need to be consistent: they can say that some are and some aren't, which is pretty much my experience in Brooklyn. In fact, the hospital could spin a wheel at the admissions desk and decide whether expectant mothers have a fetus, an amorphous blob, or a duck-billed platypus inside them, and base their policies on that.
THE VERDICT: I spun my wheel and came up platypus. The hospital has violated the endangered species laws. Judgment for the plaintiff for $1.4 million.
THE THIRD CASE: Manti Te'o is a Mormon and a professional football player whose long-time girlfriend, it was discovered, doesn't exist. When Katie Couric asked him if he's gay, he said he's "faaar from it."
THE DECISION: I like to believe people, but this looks suspicious. I know that after a few years heterosexual men generally want to have sex with their long-time girlfriends, particularly if they only work three months a year and have thirty million dollars for plane fare. Plus, it's odd that with his "faaar" comment he's making up this vast distance between himself and something that doesn't have degrees. You either are or you aren't gay. I'm not the converse of Jewish. I'm not the flip-side of a computer programmer. I'm not the antithesis of a raccoon.
THE VERDICT: Shakespeare said "The girl doth protest too much," though probably not to Te'o's face. Court's adjourned!