Weekly Obsession: Chutzpah

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 5:04pm

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. 

5 Comments on this post:

By: JayBee56 on 5/9/12 at 9:28

You've got that right. They have nerve. Most all insurance policies exclude acts of God. Interesting to see how this will be decided, especially since one of these parties had been warned repeatedly that their levee was not high enough.

By: itsmyfirstday on 5/10/12 at 6:21

I have often said the Army Corps was responsible for not releasing enough water soon enough. If this had happened Mon - Fri, the dams would have been opened sooner. With the heavy rains occurring late Friday into Saturday/Sunday someone was truly asleep at the wheel.
I pray for there success in this noble challenge.

By: jonescry on 5/10/12 at 6:58

I think it is good for Gaylord to sue the Corp - they deserve it and I hope this lawsuit refreshes their memory that their mission is to mitigate man-made and other disasters and in order to do that they kind of need a PLAN. I'm glad Gaylord is suing the Federal government maybe they will wake up to the fact that they no longer has the money to protect idiots who build in floodplains - this isn't New Orleans there is plenty of land around Nashville that isn't in a floodplain. I would LOVE to see Gaylord sue FEMA for failing to correct our maps to more accurately reflect where floodways and floodplains exists. This would give city planners the tools to prevent developer there (which would mean less tax dollars spent eventually) and for the flood insurance company to more accurately set rates. By the way FEMA STILL hasn't categorized Pennington Bend as a floodplain - a bend that prior to the dams was largely underwater for much of the year. Finally I would like to see the PEOPLE sued including the writer of this article who continually perpetuate the myth that this was a 500 year flood (remember when it was just a 100 year flood?). If this were true then I must be over 500 years old because in my 45 years I have seen the same flooding twice. With all of these lawsuits hopefully the Federal government and the Corp will wake up to the fact that no one should have ever built in a low lying area on the Cumberland River to begin with and shut down Opryland complex completely - THEN we will be getting somewhere. Until then the taxpayers will carry the burden for the good of "jobs".

By: PKVol on 5/10/12 at 8:22

I purchased a home in 1996 in the Pennington Bend area. At the time of my purchase, I knew I was near the floodplain (the 100 year floodplain runs through my back yard). My reasoning was that my home was at a slightly higher elevation than the (then) Opryland Hotel and I felt that Opryland had enough political sway and capital investment to influence the Corps of Engineers to keep flooding away from the hotel. This lawsuit would indicate that Gaylord officials felt the same as I did! Fortunately, the water level did not flood my home, coming to within about 18 inches of doing so.

By: Loner on 5/15/12 at 4:48

"Trope", "metonym", "Chutzpah".....hey Lind, this is Coonskin Cap country, not New York City....the locals have trouble with "big words"....better tone it down a bit, or they'll be calling you an "egg-head" or worse....intellectualism is frowned upon in the Bible Belt.