Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

Doyle\’s New Lawsuit Rules Spoil Trip to Outback Steakhouse


Stateline News-Tribune
May 20, 2009
by Sven Olsen

(La Crosse…) Inspired by a provision in his own state budget proposal, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle scored a free dinner last night when he got Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty to pick up the tab at a local Outback Steakhouse.

Buried deep in Doyle\’s budget plan is language that could make someone who is only 1% at fault in an accident financially liable for 100% of the damages.

\”Jim told me that under the terms of his budget\’s joint and several liability clause, I had to pay for the whole bill. But I only ate two tiny wedges of a Bloomin\’ Onion, while the Jimster had soup, a salad, a rib eye steak, washed it all down with four Wallaby Darneds – and I\’m the one responsible for the whole bill?\” asked an incredulous Pawlenty.

Held up by meetings in St. Paul, the Minnesota chief executive was late to his dinner appointment at the Australian-themed restaurant. Upon his arrival, Doyle apologized for having already ordered and eaten most of his meal saying he was simply famished and could wait no longer.

The two Governors try to meet for a meal annually to discuss issues of the their states\’ mutual interest. This year\’s topics included discussing further interstate cooperation efforts and how to avoid bloodshed should Brett Favre become a Viking. The two state leaders worry the latter scenario will almost certainly lead to border riots that will choke the Mississippi River with dead bodies, which could adversely affect commercial freighter traffic on the waterway.

Hours after he and Doyle parted ways for the evening, Pawlenty was still irked at the way the check was handled.

\”I like the old way we did it where there was actually some relationship between what we each ordered and how we split the bill, \” said Pawlenty. \”If this is how they roll now in Wisconsin, I may just stop going out to eat there altogether.\”

Shaking his head as he looked again at his $73 credit card receipt, Pawlenty muttered, \”I knew we shoulda gone to Taco Bell instead.\”

1 Comment

  1. “Buried deep in Doyle’s budget plan is language that could make someone who is only 1% at fault in an accident financially liable for 100% of the damages.”

    Interesting. That’s actually something I know a little bit about. That description would likely fit what’s called “Strict Liability.” That normally applies to Product Liability and dangerous activities (such as setting off fireworks).

    Contributory Negligence means the Injured party (victim) would receive ZERO recovery if he was more than 0% at fault.

    The liability rule that is most common is Comparative Fault, which means your recovery is reduced by the % the victim is at fault. So, if an auto was totalled ($10k loss), but the court rules that the victim’s inattentiveness was 20% of the fault, the recovery is reduced by $2k down to $8k.

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