This Article provides a comparative analysis of Judge Benjamin Cardozo’s tort decisions in Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co., one of his most famous tort decisions, contrasted with a lesser-known tort opinion in Hynes v. New York Central Railroad Co. The Author attempts to address Cardozo’s humanistic and intellectual dichotomies which are exemplified by these two real-life tort precedents—one of which, Palsgraf, most practitioners may only have a distant recall. A historical overview of Cardozo’s life is also discussed. These two decisions portray Cardozo as an emotive human being exercising hit-or-miss judging. This theme provides a differ viewpoint from Cardozo’s historical image as a rigid, cold, and detached Jurist. It was this latter image that Cardozo sought to publicly display during his lifetime. These internal enigmatic personality conflicts are what memorialize Benjamin Cardozo in the Law almost a century later. Cardozo remains perceived in legal historicism as some distant Moses-like, true to his Jewish faith “Lawgiver.” In the larger sense, however, at least Biblically, Cardozo did not view himself that way since despite an Orthodox family he was not religious. Any judgment the Reader reaches after analyzing this hypothesis will provide, at a minimum, an updated, more modern vision of Benjamin Cardozo. If this occurs, then my efforts have not been in vain.
Roth, Larry M.
"The Tort Whisperer: Nine Decades Later–My Perspective,"
Touro Law Review: Vol. 38:
4, Article 13.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.tourolaw.edu/lawreview/vol38/iss4/13