Mass Torts: State of the Art

Would Zombies Make Good Plaintiffs?

Before answering the question let's see if mind control is even possible. By now you're probably aware of the fact that a fungus (Cordyceps unilateralis) can zombify an ant; making it leave the colony and move to the perfect spot for the fungus to sprout out of its head and complete its life cycle. For this and other examples of hijacked brains see 10 Fascinating Cases of Mind Control.

You'll notice on that list the case of Toxoplasma gondii. It's a nasty little microbe that infects the brains of rats and tells them to find cats. Once gobbled up by a cat the T. gondii in the rat infects the new host and completes its own life cycle. Now that's unsettling. It's one thing for ants to be zombified, but rats? We've unhappily shared microbes with them before. Is there any evidence that T. gondii alters human behavior? Yep.

Is it possible that T. gondii is the cause of some cases of neuroticism, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder? Yep, yep, yep, yep and yep. See "Toxoplasmosis as a Cause for Behaviour Disorders - Overview of Evidence and Mechanisms". Neuroticism? What's the evidence? See "The Diagnosis of a Personality Disorder Increases the Likelihood for Seropositivity to Toxoplasma gondii in Psychiatric Patients" and "Manipulation of Host Behaviour by Toxoplasma gondii: What is the Minimun a Proposed Proximate Mechanism Should Explain?"

So, a new client walks into your office and she's a zombie. T. gondii infections come primarily from water or improperly cooked food and your client can be shown to have been wrongly exposed. The problem however, given the fact that 30% of all humans carry T. gondii, is that while 4 of your jurors are likely to be zombies themselves the other 8 aren't. In your jurisdiction you need 10 for a verdict. How do you convice the 4 that being a zombie is a bad thing while convincing the 8 that your client isn't a monster?

What a world.

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