Torts Game, The: Defending Mean Joe Greene

Innovation and Economic Growth

Article Snapshot


Jennifer K. Harrison and Jonathan Zittrain


Aspen Publishing, 2005


This book looks at a court case involving football star Joe Greene.

Policy Relevance

When an insurance company is involved in a lawsuit, the defendant and the plaintiff may have an interest to cooperate so that the insurance company will pay.

Main Points

  • Joe Greene, then an assistant coach, struck the driver of a sound cart after the driver ran over his foot. A lawsuit ensued.


  • The driver of the sound cart sued for battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress. Law students can be confused that the same lawsuit can involve intentional harms like assault as well as unintentional harms like negligence.


  • Greene’s insurance company will pay only if Greene harmed the driver by accident, because insurance will not cover injuries inflicted on purpose. So the driver must argue that Greene did not think enough before striking him to make the harm intentional.


  • The driver also sues the football team, arguing that they were careless in employing a man with Greene’s reputation for violent rages without supervision.


  • Greene and the driver agreed to pursue a negligence theory so that the claim would be paid by Greene’s insurance company. But the driver lost this case.

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