This is an essay assignment and will require a series of expository responses.
You are permitted to use only your notes from class and your textbook in answering these questions, and you are forbidden from consulting outside sources and reference materials – including the Internet and your classmates.
The first section of the assignment comprises (short) essay questions in the traditional sense; each question will require answers ranging in length, but certainly not to exceed a single typewritten page. Be sure to address the call of the question, and to answer each part of the question(s) asked.
The second section of the exam (the last two questions) is contains narrative fact patterns (law-school style questions), and requires lengthier answers. Read each question carefully and submit your answers in the order in which the questions appear on the examination. As each question progresses, it will implicate multiple areas of tort law (civil — not criminal) claims arising from the fact pattern. Your job is to identify every possible legal issue and apply the law (spotting each issue, articulating the rule of law by discussing the elements of each claim in the context of burdens of proof, provide thoughtful analysis of the applicable facts to the rule of law, raising any legal defenses that might exist, and suggesting a likely outcome).
Note, this implicates the so-called “IRAC” method that we have discussed several times now — I(ssue)-R(ule)-A(nalysis)-C(onclusion). For each part of each question, you should note the facts in the question that apply to the legal issue and rule of law implicated, break it down to the elements, apply the relevant facts to the rule of law, and draw a legal conclusion (essentially, who wins and why?). It’s not uncommon to have multiple IRAC-style analyses in the same answer where the fact pattern triggers multiple legal questions/issues.
To the extent that a question implicates one of the statutes or cases that we have studied (in class, or from the text) cite the relevant sources and explain how each applies to the facts of the question. (An answer that fails to cite and analyze relevant sources, as well as highlight the elements of any common-law or statutory claim is incomplete and will not receive full credit.) If you believe that additional facts are needed to answer a question fully, note exactly what additional facts/information you need and how they would affect your answer; if you observe that a question is ambiguous, it likely is drafted that way intentionally and you should note the ambiguity and how it affects your answer, addressing multiple possible solutions to the question where appropriate. Good luck!
* Identify and explain each of the four primary sources of modern United States law. What role does precedent (and/or stare decisis) play? (Chapters 1,4)
* Various agencies have great effects on global business, and operate under the umbrella of the United Nations. Identify and describe these organizations and their purposes. Additionally, define and describe the WTO, and briefly discuss how it relates/compares to the United Nations agencies. (Chapter 3).
* Identify one consumer product (any item bought and sold) that you believe should be, or could be the subject of a products-liability negligence lawsuit, and explain why you believe a lawsuit is appropriate. Identify your would-be defendant(s) and describe the civil (not criminal) litigation process with respect to your lawsuit from the Plaintiff’s perspective (you are the lawyer filing the lawsuit). You should briefly discuss each of the stages of the civil litigation process from the filing of the complaint, any exchange of information among the parties and what kinds of information you might be seeking (including the legal tools that lawyers have to uncover any missing facts), the resolution of some issues prior to trial, the trial phase where you prove the elements of the counts of the complaint, and the possibility of challenging the trial court’s decision if you are unsuccessful. Are there any ethical considerations for the business here, in terms of corporate social responsibility? What, if any, alternatives to litigation/trial might exist for the parties? (Chapters 2, 6, 9)
* Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, once wrote: “The communication technologies we use today are invasive by design, collecting our photos, comments, and friends into giant databases that are searchable and, in the absence of outside regulation, fair game for employers, university admissions personnel, and town gossips. We are what we tweet.” Is this a problem? How can the law address the issues raised in Schmidt’s statement? What law applies to issues of privacy, and how? Are there Constitutional implications? (Chapter 10)
* Radley Utschman is a baseball player for a local minor league baseball team, the Salisbury Seagulls. Utschman formerly played college baseball for a state university on the west coast, performed well, and was selected first overall in the June 2019 Professional Baseball League amateur draft. Recently, Utschman’s Seagulls played for the league championship. With the Seagulls suffering a 1-0 defeat in 10 innings in their final game of the season, Utschman had zero hits in five plate appearances, failed to reach base even once in the game, committed two errors defensively, and struck out looking as his team’s last out. In the next day’s edition of the Salisbury Free Press newspaper, sportswriter Danny Dennison wrote the following in his column for the paper: “Utschman looked the part of someone throwing the game, if not the entire series. The Seagulls should waste no more time with this cheater, the club should release him outright, he should be fined by the league and forced to return his [$8.1 million] signing bonus, and he should be banned from the sport of baseball for the rest of his life.” Naturally, the message has caused Utschman immense grief as fans turn against him, and he now seeks your advice as to what legal action, if any, he may take. Under what theory or theories, if any, might Utschman bring a civil lawsuit against Danny and/or the paper? What defense or defenses might exist, and what is the likely result? Discuss thoroughly, including all possible tort law implications.
* Bobby, sixteen years of age, was suspended from school for punching his teacher in the face after he was corrected for getting out of his seat during English class. During several disciplinary meetings, the school principal told Bobby’s parents that, in the opinion of the school therapist, Bobby should be admitted to a facility where he could be treated for his anger problem; the principal gave the parents a copy of the school psychologist’s report, which stated unequivocally that without proper treatment, Bobby’s behavior indicated a high risk for future harm to others. During the disciplinary meetings, Bobby’s parents admitted they had known about his anger problem for about a year, but that Bobby had gone untreated because they did not want Bobby to have to take medicine. Instead of seeking treatment, Bobby’s parents sent Bobby to stay with his uncle Don during his 30-day suspension from school. On his first day at Uncle Don’s, Bobby waited for Don to leave for work and took the keys to Don’s second car – a Chevy Corvette – that were hanging on a key hook in Don’s kitchen. Bobby opened the garage door, dropped the ‘Vette into gear, and tore off toward the street, cutting across the front lawn of Peter (Don’s next door neighbor), the Corvette’s rear wheels spinning, tearing two distinct lines the entire way to the street. After a solid half hour of joyriding, Bobby realized that he was hungry. Bobby pulled the Corvette up outside of a 7-Eleven store and ran into the store. Inside of the store, Bobby grabbed two bags of chips, a bottle of soda, and some beef jerky, exited the store without paying, and ran back to the Corvette. Anxious to get away, Bobby threw the food/drink into the passenger seat, started the car up, and took off out of the parking at a high rate of speed. Bobby was too busy looking into his rear-view mirror to see if he’d been caught leaving the 7-Eleven and didn’t see Paula stopped at a red light a few blocks up the road until it was too late; Bobby hit the brakes, but skidded into the back of Paula’s Prius. Paula was reaching forward to adjust her radio as her Prius lurched forward, her head snapping backward into her headrest. Livid, Bobby got out of the Corvette and approached Paula. “Can’t you [expletive] drive?!?!” Bobby opened Paula’s door and started to attempt to pull her out of her car, threatening her all the while. The entire incident was captured on two cameras — (1) a police “blue light” pole camera on top of the intersection that rotates around the intersection (and can be physically monitored/operated by police, or set to slowly pan the intersection and record what’s happening in 24-hour cycles), and (2) a private closed-circuit video camera attached to a nearby business. Once things have calmed down, all parties also get out their cell phones, apropos of any 2020 incident, and take photos/videos of the scene and one another. Penny was driving the third car to arrive at the intersection, and she arrived just as Bobby got out of the Corvette. Penny watched Bobby run up to Paula’s car, screaming and yelling, and immediately feared for Paula’s wellbeing. Penny, a second-degree black belt, ran up to Bobby and grabbed him; Bobby threw a punch at Penny, but missed and hit Paula instead. Paula fell to the ground. Paula was transported to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with severe whiplash and a concussion. Paula missed nine months of work following the accident, underwent six months of physical therapy, and her car was totaled. While she is recovering, Paula gets copies of the police blue-light camera video and the closed-circuit video so that she can use them in court. Under what civil law theories (note, not criminal law), if any, might various people bring an action against Don? Under what theories, if any, might various people bring an action against Bobby? Bobby’s parents? What causes of action, if any, might the various players have against what parties? Other than these, are there any other potential defendants? Here again, discuss thoroughly each and every tort law implication. Are there any privacy law issues at play?
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