July 23, 2014

April 1995 - Unaccompanied By My Awareness


From Jerry D. Cain of Blacksburg, Va. (Jerry is general counsel of Virginia Tech), this handwritten demand letter from a person who had never been a student at Virginia Tech - but who, because of his Obvious Flair With Words, deserved "to have his hospital bills paid, which the university did in exchange for a release of all claims":

Risk Management Office:

On the day of Oct. 28, 1988, just prior to 5 p.m., exiting Newman Library, turning left down the walk-ramp and coming out of underneath the overhanging face of the library, i [sic] experienced a very overwhelming sensation. A tremendous and sudden blow, perceived as a blinding flash, sent me flailing to the ground.

There seems to have been a slight blank out - several seconds I cannot recall. I remember up to immediately following the impact. Very next, I remember lying in bushes near the entrance area of the library, yelling out, wriggling with pain. By then several people had gathered around in concern. Since the crowd could not have appeared there immediately, at least several seconds had elapsed unaccompanied by my awareness; I cannot remember how long.

Just as I had revived perception, I glanced on the walk what I consider to be a smashed flower pot, plant matter, and soil. When asked by a passer-by what had happened, I declared that something had fallen on me. I cannot rightly say with conviction the nature or exact location of the strike with regard to my form. At first I was sure I had been hit squarely atop the head; but this seems unlikely as no superficial injury to the head resulted. Because I was quite unsettled and dazed and then led directly away from the scene to the infirmary and then to the hospital, my recollection of details is vague.

Based on my own feeble understanding of culture as lived by this community, I see no reason that the wealthy university couldn't help, at least with the hospital bills, persons caused injury by the frivolous neglect of employee.

Sincerely, etc.

Jerry adds: "I have never been certain whether frivolous neglect is more or less egregious than ordinary negligence.