Thursday, April 26, 2007


NOW READING: The Buffalo Creek Disaster by Gerald M. Stern

OK, so I have been trying to be a Good Student, and to that end I have not been reading The Name of the Rose. I have not touched it for more than a week. And frankly, I have not really found myself accomplishing all that much more for my classes and final exams than I was previously accomplishing. So maybe I will allow myself to read a few Umberto pages per day, even during this dreaded exam period. After all, let's be realistic here. It's hardly The Name of the Rose that's to blame for what are sure to be some hideous grades on these finals.

But for the moment, I'm quite engrossed in my Civil Procedure reading, and that is largely because we are reading The Buffalo Creek Disaster and it is a book! An actual book, not a casebook, text, appendix of supplementary legal materials, etc. And it is my favorite thing I have read for Civ Pro in two semesters of the class.

I think it's really interesting even if you're not a law student, and it's a quick read. The "disaster" in question was that the coal mining company had nasty refuse pile "dams" and one day when it rained it was just too much and tons of black water and debris flooded the Buffalo Creek Valley wiping out entire towns, settlements, and hundreds of lives. I'm curious if any of you "old fogies" who read my blog remember when this happened. I'm curious about the news coverage it got outside of West Virginia. I'm curious about your recollections. Please, recollect away.

As law students, we are reading this in Civ Pro as a kind of synthesis/review of the entire semester's worth of material, tracing all the procedural mechanisms of launching (and winning!) an enormous lawsuit. I actually think it's a brilliant teaching move on the part of my professor, and I'm rather enjoying it.

Here are some places you can learn more about the disaster...

West Virginia Division of Culture and History

The Charleston Gazette

...but I highly recommend the book!

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