24 Wayne L. Rev. 1555 (1977-1978)
On Answering the Call of Nature

handle is hein.journals/waynlr24 and id is 1571 raw text is: ON ANSWERING THE CALL OF NATURE
RALPH SLOVENKOt
Legislation and court decisions abound, regulating all
manner of things. Doctors and other professionals may be
held accountable for their experiments, but legislators and
judges are shielded with immunity. Casting precedent aside,
they order and re-order without pause as to what they have
done, and without impact statements. With every liberal
legislative or judicial act comes a time of reckoning, the day
the real-world repercussions beyond those of the case at hand
become manifest. We live in a complex and highly integrated
world where every legislative or judicial action must have its
inevitable reaction on those things that affect the quality and
coherency of daily life. What is the effect of bussing on
schools and neighborhoods? What is the effect of product-
liability cases on manufacturing companies and businesses,
particularly small ones unable to afford rising liability protec-
tion costs? What is the impact of medical malpractice suits on
the cost of health care? What is the effect of mental-health
laws and suits on hospitals and staff? And what is the effect of
increasing liability on an owner or occupier of premises? By
way of illustration, this essay describes the impact on finding a
toilet.
Sigmund Freud in Civilization and Its Discontents' says
that life as we find it is too hard for us-it brings too many
pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. One of these im-
possible tasks is fast becoming that of finding a public toilet.
A clean, readily available toilet was once a touchstone of
American civilization. The facility, known as a restroom, of-
fered rest and comfort. While there has been no departure in
cleanliness, access to a public restroom is vanishing.
The threat of litigation and consequential insurance costs
account for this development. Vandalism, the planting of ex-
plosives, and sexual assaults are other factors prompting
landlords to lock up.
An owner or occupier of a building has been charged, by
the courts, with an affirmative duty to make the premises safe
for anyone who enters. Previously the duty was said to run only
tProfessor of Law and Psychiatry, Wayne State University School of Law;
author, PSYCHIATRY AND LAW (1973).
1. S. FREuD, CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS (1st Am. ed. 1962).

1555

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