The “Dravert Affair”: Paperwork and the Administration of Negligent Street Maintenance in Modern Paris

The “Dravert Affair”: Paperwork and the Administration of Negligent Street Maintenance in Modern Paris
S Weiss
9/24/19 12:45
Journal of Urban History
This essay examines the role of paperwork in an official investigation into a claim made by Madame Suzanne Dravert for an indemnity from Paris’s municipal government, after she sustained an injury from stepping in a pothole in 1903. The city then engaged municipal engineers, charged with managing the cleaning, lighting, paving, and general upkeep of the city’s streets, to advise on the validity of indemnities related to negligent street maintenance. Although such claims reflected personal liability’s new bearing on the city, the administration of the claims was contested. They placed financial burdens on the municipal government, which therefore resisted granting them. Moreover, the engineers’ role raised questions concerning their capacity to provide unbiased counsel, since the claims sought compensation for the same agency’s alleged negligence. By showing how the paperwork of this case established a defense for the city, this essay demonstrates how it diffused the administration’s purported negligence and mediated urban experience.
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0096144219876609
S3.M9

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