Of torts and termites

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


It’s always tempting to blame the government for your problems — but suing Uncle Sam over the termites in your carport? That’s what New Orleans’ Harry Hoskins is doing, according to the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. Why? His city’s termites tend toward the extra-voracious Formosan variety, which were brought over by a US Navy ship during World War II.

To jump-start a lawsuit oddly reminiscent of the massive tobacco settlements, Hoskins claims the government knew there was a problem as far back as the 1950s but failed to solve it. Now, the MONITOR-dubbed “world’s hungriest termite” causes more damage every year than fires, floods, and tornadoes.

To put the termite invasion in perspective, though, Formosans have been spreading from port to port since at least the 1600s, munching as they go. The little devils may be annoying — but this is one class-action suit that makes tort reform start to sound appealing, especially when you consider whose tax dollars will pay for Hoskins’ crumbling carport.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate