( Buried away in the Law Reports one might unearth this very obscure and unusual case. This involved one of Bigot's earliest partners, who decided to sue Bigot for damages under the heading of actionable nuisance. This law of tort test case received little publicity, but the precedent that it set should serve as a stark warning for all bridge players who have become too big for their boots . Bigot, of course, elected to defend himself, as seen from this extract from the trial's transcript. )
Counsel for the Plaintiff ( CP ) : Bigot, would you please tell the court how long you and Small have been partners, having been paired together for the club's A-team
B-J : About 4 months...... ever since that ridiculous captain thought it would be a good idea to put us together......What a plonker !
CP : Hmmm...but are aware of the tort of private nuisance in English law ?
B-J : No....and that's because I'm a bridge player.....and not a namby pamby lawyer
CP : Well, allow me to fill you in......A private nuisance can be established when the actions of the defendant cause a substantial and unreasonable interference with the claimant's use or enjoyment of the land he or she is occupying.
B-J : How the blue blazes has any of this got to do with playing bridge ?
CP : I'm glad you asked that question. As a bridge player you are obliged to pay table money. This entitles one to occupy a particular seat or place at the table. Small , who nearly always took up the South seat , became the paid-up lawful occupier of that tiny piece of land....... on that side of the table. For the time he sat there, his rights under nuisance law entitled him to the quiet, peaceful enjoyment of that land.......which I might add includes a right to light.
B-J : This is a load of poppycock. What has " light " got to do with us playing together in a team's match ?
CP : Ahh.....I knew you would ask that question. You see....the "right to light " has been an established part of English law for the last four centuries. Every occupier of land has a right to natural light, which can enforced against those who attempt to block it out by physical means.
B-J : But how can I be blocking any one's light out..... when we are in a room full of windows, and with ceiling lights all switched on ?
CP : The crux of my argument is this. You Bigot-Johnson were forever keeping Small in the dark , with your off-centre and anti-system bids.....not to mention a whole barrage of psyches and shaded overcalls. On no occasion did you shed any light on what these bids were supposed to mean. You constantly over-shadowed Small with your gross pomposity, inflated ego, and overwhelming arrogance.
B-J : Oh dear....
CP : Moreover your complaints to the captain about Small's inadequacies cast a real shadow over both his credentials and reputation as a competent bridge player.
B-J : Is that it.......?
CP : No..... you were forever putting Small in the shade. So much so..... you are guilty without a shadow of doubt of giving Small a psychological disorder, known as The Mushroom Complex...
B-J : What's that ?
CP : Feelings of being kept in the dark and fed on bullshit. In my mind Bigot, you are made up of different personalities all of which are shades of the devil himself. Never can a more shady character exist in the world of bridge than you. The shadow you cast around you is one of moral darkness and gloom.
B-J : That bad ?
CP : Yes....when Small teamed up with you ......for him it was like taking a leap in the dark. His time with you were the darkest hours of his life. Never again should you be allowed to darken his door. Never has a man been so deprived of " light ", so much so that his bridge experience with you was one destined never to be enlightening.....never to be enjoyable. But now comes the time Bigot for you to face your darkest hour, when the judge decides.....as I know he will......on what damages to impose upon one of biggest nuisances I have ever come across....
Judge : Too right !
B-J : Ooops ......
Judge : Yes......having reduced poor Small to a shadow of his former-self, I can only conclude that you Bigot are a monstrosity of a human being......an unmovable mountain.......a permanent eyesore on the bridge scene.....a nuisance of the highest order. And irrespective of my stretching the interpretation of the law a tad too far, I am awarding Small £20,000 in damages....so there
B-J : Bugger.....