In loco parentis

As a mom or dad of a college student, nothing would reassure me more than knowing **checks notes** college presidents tell Vice President Pence that being shielded from lawsuits if students get sick would make them likelier to physically reopen their campuses.

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Filed under Academics? Academics.

66 responses to “In loco parentis

  1. ATL Dawg

    These college presidents and athletic directors are like the mayor from Jaws.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Patrick

    I think I agree that the country needs some sort of blanket “no business or institution can be held liable for COVID transmission.”

    Restaurants, colleges, nursing homes should all protect employees and visitors however they feel is reasonable. Let the employees and visitors choose other options if they deem the protections inadequate.

    I’m not a lawyer, so I’m sure there are practical objections to this. But I’m a believer in treating this pandemic as the exceptional event that it is, to include unprecedented legal decisions.

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    • Restaurants, colleges, nursing homes should all protect employees and visitors however they feel is reasonable.

      Let me just ask the obvious question here: if they’re shielded from liability, why would they bother?

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      • PTC DAWG

        Customers could choose to do business with folks or not. Some people think masks and gloves etc are the way to go…others, not so much.

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        • MGW

          If the government actually took charge and put in place restrictions that businesses must follow (restrictions that actually protected employees and customers in some reasonable manner, but which also considers the necessity for the economy to move forward, based on actual science rather than political will), then sure. But if businesses want to do it themselves, and governments sanction that, then the businesses must be held accountable when what they do is negligent. It’s just that simple. A salon, sure. Nobody has to get their hair cut; that’s a choice.

          But most things are necessities, so to say “it’s your choice if you’re going to come buy groceries, bank, get a check up, etc. here and if you don’t like our restrictions, that’s your choice” is bull shit. There’s no real choice. Your argument presumes there will be a variety of tiers of care for each type of business, and people can chose to go to the safe, mid level, or no protections store of whatever type. Which is obviously not going to happen.

          If you’re giving immunity, it should only be after effective but workable restrictions have been handed down by the federal government. If your state adopts those restrictions, AND the business complied, sure be protected. Anything less than that is just going to result in a total lack of give a damn because that’s cheaper and that’s how businesses usually operate, and how publicly traded businesses with shareholders MUST operate.

          But just the binary “protections or not” argument is false, and if it’s a black and white question, then there must be absolutely no protections.

          That’s not to say the individual shouldn’t bear responsibility. For example the law ought to be you cannot enter any establishment whatsoever without a mask. Period. Simultaneously there should be masks available to every American. It’s absurd to think we can mail most Americans over $1,000 but we can’t make masks and hand sanitizer easily available for free.

          Liked by 1 person

          • MGW

            Plus the deliberately confusing messaging handed down by this administration over the last few months has given all but the most egregiously terrible businesses all the cover they’d ever need in front of a jury.

            Liked by 1 person

            • DawgByte

              Besides Fauci saying masks were not required and wouldn’t help early in the pandemic, can you provide any other confusing messaging handed down by this administration. The toll gates and phases established by the medical task force for re-opening the economy are pretty clear.

              I’m not defending Fauci, but I’ve heard various theories as to why he wasn’t onboard with masks early on. I think the answers is crystal clear… at that time there was a shortage of PPE, so he didn’t want to cause a mass panic. It didn’t help that the Chinese cornered the market in Dec./Jan. buying up 2.3B units of PPE.

              Liked by 2 people

              • “Is there a way we can do something like that by injection, inside, or almost a cleaning?”

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              • Union Jack

                Confusing messaging here:

                Jan 8 – First CDC warning on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19
                Jan 22 – “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
                Feb 2 – “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
                Feb 24 – “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
                Feb 25 – “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”
                Feb 25 – “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”
                Feb 26 – “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
                Feb 26 – “We’re going very substantially down, not up.” Also “This is a flu. This is like a flu”; “Now, you treat this like a flu”; “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”
                Feb 27 – “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
                Feb 28 – “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.
                Feb 29 – First COVID-19 death in US
                Mar 2 – “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”
                Mar 2 – “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”
                Mar 4 – “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
                Mar 5 – “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
                Mar 5 – “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”
                Mar 6 – “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”
                Mar 6 – “Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”
                Mar 6 – “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
                Mar 6 – “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”
                Mar 8 – “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”
                Mar 9 – “This blindsided the world.”
                Mar 13 – [Declared state of emergency]
                Mar 15 – 3,613 COVID-19 cases, 69 deaths
                Mar 17 – “This is a pandemic,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

                That was just Jan 8 – Mar 17. This is before all of the nonsense about trying potential treatments etc since the middle of March.

                Liked by 1 person

            • Paul

              PTC Growing up, this was the default behavior in America. Buyer beware we called it. In other words, you are responsible for your own choices. Especially the bad ones. This country hasn’t operated that way in a long, long time. Commercials for law firms are some of the most ubiquitous on TV.

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              • What, you think US tort law was invented 50 years ago? LOL.

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                • Paul

                  I do not. I’m just saying that as consumers there was a time we were a lot more likely to accept responsibility for our own decisions. We were raised by our parents to accept the consequences of our own stupidity and learn from it. That isn’t really the case these days. PTC seemed to be making the point that ‘why cant we just open up and let people decide for themselves?’ I was saying maybe there was a time when you could get away with that. I think those days are long gone. Unlike the administration, which doesn’t want to offer guidelines that are too prescriptive, I think businesses and schools want something very prescriptive. Absent that, they simply want blanket immunity.

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          • junkyardawg41

            Tell me more about this free thing?

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      • Patrick

        Because they’ll cease to exist if employees and visitors deem them inadequate.

        I believe there’s a minimum level of security that a business should be mandated to provide. Fire codes, availability of bathroom, food prep rules, etc. I assume all those exist today, and should be enforced.
        But I believe that adding mandated masking, hand sanitizer, or social distancing measures on top of these would all go too far. Not feasible.
        Assumption of risk at this point should be transferred to the individual.

        This belief is based on today’s data. Obviously subject to change if this thing mutates or shows higher lethality.

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        • Gaskilldawg

          Assumption of foreseeable risk is, and has always been, a factor in tort law. We don’t need to now “transfer assumption of risk” to anyone. If is already there.

          Adam Smith’s world is no longer with us. You travel to another city and stop for a meal or stop for a purchase. You have no way of knowing what folks who are strangers to you experienced. Yeah, we have health ordinances. We also demand local budgets small enough to limit the number of inspections those departments can make.
          Tort law does not impose upon a business an unreasonable responsibility to guard against every fanciful risk. It imposes a duty to take REASONABLE steps to guard against FORESEEABLE risks. If a business creates a risk of harm to its customers that customers, exercising ordinary care for their own safety cannot avoid, whh should the government say the costs of the business not fulfilling its duty of care should fall solely on the customer paying the business money.

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          • Patrick

            Because the cost to the business to “fulfill its duty” in this case will be such that it makes the business untenable to operate or significantly erode its value to society.

            I won’t pay full price to the zoo if I have to walk in one direction.
            I won’t pay full tuition if the campus bus or library turns me away due to occupancy rules.

            I am not on the side of bloated university administrators for damn near any issue, but I’m with them here.

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        • MGW

          The legal concept of assumption of risk requires a meaningful alternative. There is none here.

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          • mp

            The alternatives are in their mitigation actions. Two restaurants, one where employees are masked, tables and kitchen are frequently and deeply sanitized, and tables are well spaced; vs the other that goes back to same operations from February.

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      • DawgByte

        Let me provide you with the obvious answer. Businesses and institutions require blanket indemnification, because we live in a get rich quick litigious society. There are opportunists out there waiting to sue an institution or business. UGA will not force parents to return their kids back to campus, that’s a decision parents and students have to make on their own, knowing full well that they accept the inherent risks.

        You seem to think we live in a risk free society Senator. I recommend you find a safe zone live the rest of your life in that bubble.

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        • Gaskilldawg

          When I read or hear someone saying this is a “get rich quick” litigious society I grin. Anyone ever practicing plaintiffs’ tort law has never had a “get rich quick” case. A “get rich” case has to be a case with clear liability facts and serious, life changing injuries and the trial or settlement takes years.

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        • We don’t live in a risk free society. But we live in a society where it’s not unreasonable to mitigate risk.

          If you’re going to give businesses and institutions blanket indemnification, as you suggest, at least require that they follow mandates that provide a safe harbor for them. Handing them a blank check, as you seem to suggest, will mean they have no incentive to protect the greater public.

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          • Patrick

            I don’t want to give them a blank check.

            But I think the current laws on the books are sufficient given the alternatives.

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            • Aren’t you the guy who said, “I think I agree that the country needs some sort of blanket “no business or institution can be held liable for COVID transmission.”“?

              That isn’t a current law on the books.

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              • Patrick

                I should have added “unless they’re in violation of today’s hygiene laws.”

                I’m open to some liability in that case. Although still pretty tough to enforce with the “how do you prove where you got the virus” question.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      I guarantee you any successful tort claim would be based on “precedented” principles of duty of ordinary care to take reasonable precautions to avoid risk of foreseeable harm. For businesses specifically, there is over a century of precedent that businesses owe customers a duty to exercise ordinary care to protect against foreseeable harm.
      You and I owe a duty of care to each other to avoid harming each other.
      You are advocating a change in the law to eliminate a business’s responsibility to exercise the same duty care that you owe to me.

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    • Cousin Eddie

      Why do they need protection? People die from the “normal” flu and I have never heard anyone sued over where they got the flu from. Plus how could someone prove they caught Covid in a lecture class and not a frat party or restaurant or somewhere else? Or am I being more naive and stupid than usual?

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      • Union Jack

        Testing and contact tracing … that is literally the point of it. If we are going to indemnify institutions, businesses etc from COVID lawsuits, I think we should have a serious discussion about required testing and contact tracing.

        I encourage everyone to take a listen to this Fresh Air podcast with John Barry. Barry wrote the book ” The Great Influenza” about the 1918 pandemic. There are lots of interesting parallels between what was and wasn’t done then and what is or isn’t being done now. The parallels are pretty surprising and disappointing.

        Also don’t be dismissive of his work – dude was a former football coach and his first paid writing gig was a story about changing blocking assignments at the line of scrimmage. So he knows more about pandemics and football than 99% of us commenters here.

        https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fresh-air/id214089682?i=1000474633456

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  3. Gaskilldawg

    Colleges perceive a risk of harm to students. Colleges can control exposure to the risk. Colleges financially benefit from the risk. Colleges want students’ families to bear the financial consequences if colleges don’t manage the risk. Yep, great message to parents.

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    • Gurkha Dawg

      Just to play devil’s advocate about the risk deal. Everyone knows drinking alcohol is potentially risky behavior, especially for college students. UGA allows beer and wine to be consumed at fraternity and sorority functions, but not hard liquor. Many of the students doing the consuming are not 21. I know this for a fact because my daughter is in a sorority at UGA. Just wondering how this works from a legal liability standpoint.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Not factoring in sovereign immunity principles, the liability for serving alcohol at the Tri Delta house is the same as the Brick Store Pub or Atlanta Braves serving beer.
        If the provider serves to someone who is reasonably foreseeable to drink and drive the provider has a duty to others to not serve. The concept of whether that person is reasonably foreseeable risk is an important element. The server is under no duty to automatically conclude someone drinking a beer is going to be dangerous.

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        • Gurkha Dawg

          Not trying to argue but just curious. I don’t understand the legal difference in consuming hard liquor vs beer or wine. Especially when the university knows underage students are drinking. ( which is probably why hard liquor is banned)

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          • Gaskilldawg

            I have no idea why the University bans liquor but not beer and wine. I don’t see and reason having to do with tort law making a distinction between the two.
            It may be cultural, hell, I don’t know.

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    • junkyardawg41

      Wait, you are referring to the same institutions who tell parents to assume debt (aka risk) to pay for their children to go to school for an estimated ROI of around 4-6% (return) for those who graduate? (Note: Less than 60% graduate in 6 years from a 4 yr college) That sounds about right.

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  4. spur21

    This is total bullshit. First thing that comes to mind – how can anyone prove where they contracted the virus? I suspect it will be whomever has the deepest pockets.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      Deep pockets do not create liability. The deep pockets entity’s negligence creates liability.

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      • spur21

        As one that suffered because we had deep pockets let me tell you – you couldn’t be more uninformed.

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        • Gaskilldawg

          Yeah, 3 years over law school and 40 years of practice didn’t teach me a thing.
          I hate to be blunt but if your business had as judgment against it a trial judge and 12 regular folks concluded that there was sufficient evidence that your business was negligent.
          I realize you disagree with the trial judge denying summary judgment and the jury’s verdict.

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          • spur21

            I don’t care what you did or what degrees you hold I (my company) was sued for millions when we didn’t do anything wrong. My insurance settled out of court because they assumed it would cost more and the PR would be bad.
            We were sued because we had deep pockets and a scum bag lawyer ambushed us. The parties responsible for the debacle had minimal insurance.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Gaskilldawg

              Your insurance company doesn’t write big checks to settle cases unless there is some evidence the insured breached a duty. There may be a dispute as to whether a jury would find that evidence sufficient to base a verdict upon, but there was some evidence that your company breached a duty.

              Think about it. Insurance companies are in the business of defending claims in court. Insurance companies don’t write big checks to avoid defensing claims; that is what they do. If insurance companies wrote big checks when insureds “didn’t do anything wrong” insurance companies
              would have gone out of business years ago.

              As I said, I respect the fact that you sincerely believe your company didn’t do anything wrong. I am saying, though, that your insurance company’s claims committee feared that there was some evidence that it did.

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    • junkyardawg41

      You are correct of course — In a jury trial down the road in 3-5 years, those will be the arguments being made. I think the University Presidents want the federal government to provide protection up front to protect the short term hit schools are going to feel.

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  5. Connor

    If you aren’t reassured, then don’t send your child to the college next fall.

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  6. Ozam

    Man do we need sports to return.

    Imho, Get The Picture should be a place where Georgia fans can share their common love of the Dawgs, and a respite from divisive public policy issues.

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    • Paul

      Ozam, that of course, is what these discussions are about. We can’t play sports unless students are on campus. Bringing students back to campus is going to be expensive at a time when revenue has fallen off a cliff. Schools are looking for mitigation of risk. Because, you know, cash!

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  7. FlyingPeakDawg

    Yeah! Torts 101 class online at GTP this morning. We all must have COVID madness.

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  8. Nashville West

    The most risk adverse people in the world are faculty. The second most risk adverse people in the world are college administrators. The safest thing for any administrator to do is to continue online classes only until something happens to relieve him or her of responsibility.

    That means that one of two things will have to occur. First, total relief or a cap on liability for any student, faculty or staff member who contracts the COVID-19 virus. Second, an effective vaccine with assumption of risk applying to any one who refuses inoculation. Absent either of these two conditions you are quite likely to see a significant portion of higher education institutions continuing only online classes.

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  9. Normaltown Mike

    So far, Covid 19 has led to the death of two college aged persons in the state of Georgia (both had co-morbidities).

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    • Gaskilldawg

      How many college aged persons contracted Covid 19. did not die, but now suffer damage to their lungs?
      That is an unknown at this point and I don’t want my grandchildren taking that risk at this point.

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      • Normaltown Mike

        Fascinating.

        So your grandkids haven’t left the house for the past 2 months and won’t until we have a vaccine?…or they can leave the house they just can’t attend classes at a University?

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        • Gaskilldawg

          No, smartass. There are more choices in life than extremes. They leave the house but avoid crowded places.

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  10. BuffaloSpringfield

    Loco Parentis: What say would the reality of possibilities that some parents know their 5* is gonna be a definite 1st. Round NFLer and the universities choose not to have a season and the loco parents see their baby fall out of the top Rounds and thinks because of lack of film, exposure and playing time the school needs to provide the difference in what the 1st Round money and where he fell to in the 3rd. Round. Speculation kind of like the NCCA undervalued the chance of the Big Dance would always happen and then underinsured to follow suit. Costing each school millions.

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  11. Macallanlover

    Totally support government giving immunity to employers, schools, etc., for consequences where victims chose to attend and “no weird stuff” directly linked to the virus was demanded of the victim. The number of greedy folks riding along with those ambulance chasers could hopefully bring about saner minds and throw frivolous lawsuits out. Or maybe the economic devastation we could see will make it laughable for that carryover from our excessive times.

    Anyone looking at the mass confusion from both medical and political leaders in the US during the past 4+ months could hardly blame any path that was chosen. Seems we chose options A, B, C, DD, multiple times on several different day, and everyone in front of a microphone looked like total fools within days of making statements, then attempting to reverse course. Clear it would have been better to not take a strong stand, or at least qualify statements that we didn’t have enough information yet. How can you totally blame any American for deaths from Covid-19? No one can be named as 100% responsible in this situation; we don’t even know for sure what many actually died of, or how that was determined. Stop with all the fighting and figure out how to work together and get your finger pointing back under control. Tough time, we don’t need so many making it worse by adding to the number who are talking when they know so little.

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    • Rampdawg

      Ambulance chasers? You’re gonna hurt some people’s feelings.

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      • Macallanlover

        So much pain coming, could care less about “feelings” at this point. Too much was held back, for decades, to avoid honest discussions that should have been held. Now the price for stupidity has to be paid. Ball park of $30B in debt, and more coming…and we are a “service” economy with over 55% on the gubmint’s pay roll. Just run that printing machine and promise more freebies to the Millennials. LOL, yeah, that’ll work.

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  12. I’m back in my hometown of midtown. The differences are interesting. But businesses are trying here.

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  13. Paul

    “They were mostly in listening mode, wanting to hear what the federal government could do to be helpful,” said University of Texas at El Paso president Heather Wilson, who was on the call. I think the federal government has made it perfectly clear that if you’re waiting for them to lead the way you’re going to be waiting for quite some time. My Dad used to say “you can put your hand on your a$$ and wait for that to happen and it might grow there.”

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