California: Demise of a Novel Theory

Demise of a Novel Theory

In September 1987 protester S. Brian Willson lost both legs and suffered a fractured skull when a munitions train he was trying to block at the Navy's weapons station in Concord, Calif., plowed into an antiwar rally. Some witnesses stated that the train's three-man crew had increased its speed as it neared the demonstrators to scare them off the tracks. Yet the crew members, claiming they had suffered mental anguish because of the incident, filed a suit for damages against Willson and his wife.

Last week federal Judge Robert Peckham dismissed the crew's suit, tartly noting that despite the "novel legal...