Officially, the defendant is the United States of America, so bonus points to A.O. Smith, Gaylord and their attorneys for thumbing their noses at the trope that no one can fight city hall — or the White House or Capitol Hill or Washington, D.C., or whichever metonym is most appropriate here.
Specifically, the water-heater manufacturer and Opryland entertainment conglomerate, unlikely co-plaintiffs tossed together by virtue of flood damage, are taking on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service, charging negligence during the May 2010 floods led to zillions of dollars in damage.
Let’s admire the gastrointestinal fortitude for a moment.
Not only are they taking on the feds in a federal trial, they are seeking damages because the National Weather Service didn’t accurately predict — or at least inform people about — a catastrophic natural event.
The attorneys argue the weathermen had a duty to tell the public how high the water was going to get.
Yes: Gaylord is suing weathermen for meeting the ancient legal standard of the cliché: “You can’t predict the weather.”
But, plaintiffs argue, if you’re the weather service, you can and you should, and when you do, you should tell us all.
And what, pray tell, would Gaylord and A.O. Smith done had the NWS come out with the “ZOMG 500 YEAR FLOOD” forecast? Moved their hotel and industrial operations to higher ground in a matter of hours? Sounds like a tough ask.
And what’s next? The Sounds taking on Leland Statom for a rainout that never came? School systems suing Sky Arnold because he botched a snow forecast?
Here’s an idea: a class-action for everyone who washed their cars after Justin Bruce incorrectly called for a dry weekend.
Sorry, Bruce, you owe everyone five bucks.
If nothing else, the chutzpah from Gaylord and A.O. Smith is admirable.