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While most people may remember Ralph Nader for his quixotic presidential campaigns, the lawyer and political activist has been fighting as an advocate for consumer protection and environmental causes most of his life.
Now, after a decade of planning, Nader is nearing his goal of opening the country's first law museum, focused on injury lawsuits. The American Museum of Tort Law plans to open its doors next year in Nader's hometown of Winsted, Connecticut.
Tort law refers to the rights, obligations, and remedies that are applied by courts in civil proceedings to provide relief for persons who have been injured the wrongful acts of others. Tort lawsuits can cover anything from car accident injuries and workers' compensation to defamation and fraud.
As Nader pointed out, America lacks a single legal museum:
"I'm constantly astounded how a country can go over 200 years and not have a law museum and still brag about being a country with a rule of law. There are museums for major fruits, vegetables, garlic, every sport imaginable, lanterns, the most bizarre subjects you can imagine, and no law museum."
Nader's will be the first, and will focus primarily on consumer protection litigation.
Details on the price of admission have yet to be determined, but some exhibits have been decided on. The Wall Street Journal reports there will be a Chevrolet Corvair, a car about which Nader testified before Congress and wrote the book, "Unsafe at Any Speed." There will also be exhibits featuring recent tobacco litigation and discontinued toys.
How big of an attraction a museum dedicated to lawsuits will be is still up in the air. But the man who's spent his life trying to expose Americans to public interest issues hopes "once they see it, it will be exciting."
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