The weight of 4,000 footnotes caused a ceiling to collapse at Fordham Law School over the weekend, injuring four law students who were studying for a contracts exam in a room below. The injuries were not considered serious, though a first-year law student was briefly hospitalized after being overwhelmed with the vast minutiae of detail contained in the footnotes.
The footnotes were part of an article being prepared for publication in the 2013 Winter issue of Fordham Law Review. After the accident, however, a senior editor said they considered the footnotes “a complete loss. We’re considering the article totalled at this point and have contacted the author and our insurer.”
This is the third known accident in as many years involving large collections of footnotes. In 2009, a defect in a holding tank led to the accidental release of approximately 3,900 footnotes, flooding administrative and student organization offices at Valparaiso Law School in Indiana. Two students were slightly injured in that incident, though both injuries were anxiety related.
Officials at the American Bar Association are now asking law schools to review existing footnote holding systems to inspect for any defects and to prevent further spills or accidents.