But-For Cause

I am in the midst of bar review. And it’s intense. Recently I was reviewing for torts. For those who don’t know the law, the best way to describe a tort is to consider it an injury, whether to your person, your property, your reputation, or your mind. There are lots of different types of torts, but the one that got me thinking is the biggest area of torts: negligence.

Not to go into too much detail, one of the things that A has to prove when suing B for negligence is that B is a “but-for” cause of A’s injury. That is, if it weren’t for the B’s action, A would not have been injured.

Our review lecturer was adamant on reminding us that the action is a “but-for” cause. There are lots of causes, but the one in question is an important one.

Over the weekend someone asked me if I thought my time in Charlottesville, apart from law school, was worth it. This person worried that I may have thought that I did not think the last three years spent in central Virginia were well spent. This person went on to share with me that they would not be in the place that they are in their life if it weren’t for the fact that that I was a part of their life here. This person said that it was true for others in Cville too. I’m skimping on the details, and that’s okay. The point is this: This person says that I’m a but-for cause in their life. I know I’m not the only cause. Parents, friends, and the Lord have been major causes too. But I’m a cause.

I may be leaving this town with a new collection of letters behind my name, but really, though I paid a lot for them, those pieces of paper are near worthless. I can’t convey them to anyone else. Also, I hope I never will be determined the but-for cause in a negligence action in court.

But knowing that I’m a but-for cause in a positive direction in someone else’s life?

Yeah, my time here has been worth it.

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