Apr 08

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Legacy of the Johnstown Flood

Remembering and learning from a historic tragedy:

Aftermath of the1889 Johnstown flood (via Wikimedia).

After a hard rain in the spring of 1889, a man-made lake burst through a dam. A wall of water three stories high ripped through Johnstown, Pennsylvania, destroying the town and killing more than 2,000 people.

Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham University, says attempts by townspeople to sue dam owners were unsuccessful.

“No one ever paid a penny through a legal claim to any of the victims,” he states.

After that tragedy, many states around the country changed their laws. Today, landowners are held strictly liable for accidents caused by dangerous behavior – like storing large amounts of water behind poorly maintained dams.

Get Schooled:

Hear More:

How could nobody be financially responsible for such a disaster? Hear Jed Shugerman discuss:

The fine print:




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