Read the fact patterns below. In each case, discuss whether a tort has been committed. If so, name the tort and how the elements of the tort were met.
1) Frank, a student at Anne Arundel Community College, is on his way to class one day. He enjoys his class very much and is looking forward to this particular class on tort law, but did not get a chance to finish his reading. He is hoping to get to class a few minutes early and finish his reading before class starts. As he is driving along Route 100, the car in front of him insists on doing the speed limit, so Frank tries to get around him. In doing so, he collides with another car driven by Dan. He did not see Dan’s car, but admittedly, did not look that hard. Although Dan was not injured, approximately $2,000 of damages to his car resulted from the collision.
2) Myra, another student, was very unhappy with her grade on the midterm. The following week, she arrived at the class about 20 minutes early and waited for the instructor to arrive. Myra then closed the door and stood in front of it, and told the instructor she wanted to discuss her grade. She said she wanted ten points added to her grade and would not open the door until he changed the grade on her paper. When he tried to get past her, she picked up the stick she had in her school bag and lifted it up as though she was going to strike him. Just before it would have hit him, Myra reconsidered and decided her test score was really not that bad, so put the stick away and got out of the instructor’s way so he could open the door and leave. All in all, she had blocked the door for about two minutes.
3) Irene walked into a store carrying a bottle of soda she had purchased a few days earlier. While in the store, she opened the bottle of soda and was drinking it while she was shopping there. As she is leaving, store security stops her and asks for the receipt for the soda. Irene said she did not have the receipt. Irene said she had the soda when she entered the store. Security obtains the video of people entering the store and on the video, saw Irene entering the store and carrying the soda. They apologized to her and she left. All in all, she had been problemed for about 20 minutes.
4) Patrick works in the same office as Marian and they do not work well together. One day, Marian got credit for a job well done and Patrick got angry over it. He walked into her office, shut the door and started accusing her of stealing his ideas and accusing her of all kinds of things she had never done. Patrick did not realize that Marian had been using her speaker phone at the time and several people heard every word he had said. The people on the phone were concerned about his comments and terminated their contract with Marian.
5) Sue owns a car that has 150,000 miles on it, but otherwise looks to be in very good condition. She advertises to sell the car and Ken asks her how many miles are on the car. Sue answers 50,000, figuring Ken would never know the difference. Ken buys the car for $8,000, feeling it is not a bad price for a car with only 50,000 miles on it. However, he gets about six blocks away and the car falls apart.
6) Betty and Veronica always fell in love with the same men. Veronica got very jealous of Betty for stealing Archie away from her and decided to start sending her anonymous letters, using words cut out of magazines. These letters threatened Betty and told her she was not safe anywhere. These letters were sent for about six months and Betty was so upset, she could not eat or sleep and eventually lost her job because she could not function.
7) Joe is walking down the street and Sue comes up behind Joe, aims a gun at him, but stops just before shooting. Joe did not know Sue was coming up behind him.
8) Cal Ripken owns a Jeep Cherokee. In an effort to increase business, Jeep manages to get a picture of Cal Ripken driving his Jeep and uses it in their campaign. Cal Ripken did not realize they took the picture and did not give anyone permission to take or distribute the picture.
9) Chuck walked into a room. As a joke, Matt stuck his leg out so that Chuck would trip Chuck tripped and in so doing, dropped the bottle of soda he was carrying. In the fall, he broke his elbow and cut his hand on the broken glass. Matt said it was just a joke and he did not intend to hurt Chuck.
10) Tim and Faith used to date, but of late, had not been getting along. Tim decided to go to visit Faith, but when he arrived, she asked him to leave. He refused to leave when asked.
11) Justices in the U.S. Supreme Court are appointed for life. Unless they choose to retire, they have the right to remain in office and cannot be removed by congress or by the President. Do you agree with this law or do you believe that they should be subject to removal? Why?
12) Members of congress can continue to serve as long as they continue to be elected by their constituents. Do you believe that they should be allowed to continue to serve or should they be subject to a limited number of terms, such as the presidency? What would you suggest and why?
13) Most legal conflicts are settled outside of court, frequently using some sort of dispute resolution. There are times when a party cannot take a case to court until they have made an attempt to resolve the case using mediation or arbitration. Do you agree with mandatory arbitration or mediation? In what situations is alternative dispute resolution advisable? Are there situations where you think that alternative dispute resolution should not be mandatory? Have you had any experiences with any form of alternative dispute resolution? If so, how would you evaluate the experience and would you use it again?
14) When operating a business, an owner has to make numerous decisions on a daily basis. In some cases, a decision may increase profits, but the owner is uncomfortable making such a decision because it may not be the right thing to do. In what kinds of situations might such a dilemma occur? How do you think an owner should address such a decision?
15) When operating a business, management is responsible to a number of groups of people. Name at least one responsibility and to whom it is owed.
16) Sometimes laws are created that are done for ethical reasons. For instance, it is wrong to pollute, so Congress passed the Environmental Protection Act, which punished those that did pollute. However, the Act and the regulations set levels above which it is pollution and below which it is not. In situations like these, do you believe the law supercedes any ethical standard that may have existed? For instance, before the EPA, any pollution was considered to be wrong, but after EPA, below a certain level is not illegal, so may be acceptable, but above can be punished by law. What are some other exs of laws that were created to force ethical behavior?
17) Maryland is one of a few states in which contributory negligence is a complete defense, barring the plaintiff from any recovery. What is contributory negligence? How does it compare to comparative negligence? Do you believe that Maryland should change its law and move to comparative negligence? Why or why not?
18) Tort reform refers to proposed changes in the civil system that would reduce tort litigation or damages. Proposals include, among other things,putting a cap on the amount a plaintiff can recover in a civil suit or limiting amounts for pain and suffering. Do you believe tort reform is warranted or do you believe it will fail to discourage wrong doing?
19) Most executions take place using a lethal injection. The company that manufactures the drug that is most used has now announced that it is choosing to no longer produce that drug. Without it, it is unlikely that there will be a sufficient supply of the drugs to carry out the planned executions and other methods, such as hanging and electrocution may need to be used. Although there are other potential drugs that can be used, some are considered to be less effective and some are considered to be less effective. For those states that have been using this drug, a change in the drug or a change in method may actually require a change in law. Do you believe executions should be delayed until such time as a suitable replacement drug is found.
20) The U.S. Constitution provides certain procedural safeguards to an accused, including protections from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. If the accused is not informed of the right to remain silent, then a confession may not be admissible in court. If evidence is found as a result of an unwarranted search, the evidence may not be admissible in court. Do you believe that these safeguards interfere with law enforcement and if so, should these safeguards be relaxed?
21) A landowner has a duty to protect a person that enters his/her property from injury. If the person is a guest or licensee, then it is a higher duty of care. However, the landowner must also provide a minimal level of care to a trespasser. What are exs of the level of care that must be provided? Why do you believe the law requires some level of care, even to a trespasser? Do you agree that there should be a duty to keep a trespasser safe