open the floodgates

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A metaphor used by jurists to reflect the fear of opening up one area of law to a flood of litigation. Such an opening can easily be created either by statute or by case law and judges often express their fear of “opening the floodgates,” – that is, to claims in law “undeterminant in amount, time and class” (Ultramarine Corp. v Touche 174 NE 441 (NY 1931) per Cardozo J at 444).

Subjects: Law.

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