Assignment Week 2: Land safe services

Assignment Week 2: Land safe services

Assignment Week 2: Land safe services

1. Mary Dobsa owned a home in Biloxi, Mississippi, in which she and Neil Paul Resided. Countrywide home loans, Inc., was the mortgage lender on the home. Before financing and in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Act, Countrywide selected Landsafe to determine whether Dobson’s was located in a federal flood zone. Dobsa paid for Landsafe’s services. Landsafe indicated that the home was not suited in a flood-hazard area. Accordingly, Countrywide provide financing without requiring Dobsa to obtain flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina struck and caused substantial damage to this residence for which no flood insurance coverage existed. It was then learned that the home was actually located in a flood-hazard area. Dobsa and Paul sued Landsafe, alleging negligence and negligent misinterpretation. The district court granted Landsafe’s motion for summary judgment. Dobsa appealed. How did the court rule on appeal? Why? [Paul v. Landsafe Flood Determination, Inc., 550 F.3d 511 (5th Cir. 2008).]
2. Dr. Robert Lee Berry worked for Lakeview Anesthesia Associates but was fired when Lakeview discovered that he was practicing medicine under the influence of narcotics. Berry sought employment elsewhere and obtained a job as an anesthesiologist at Kadlec Medical Center. Kadlec hired Berry in part due to positive written employment references from Lakeview, which did not disclose Berry’s drug problem. Then, while under the influence of narcotics, Berry improperly administered an anesthetic to a patient, causing her to suffer extensive brain damage. The patient’s family brought a successful malpractice suit against Kadlec. Kadlec, in turn, brought a negligence suit against Lakeview, alleging that Lakeview breached its duty to disclose Berry’s prior adverse employment history. How do you think the court ruled in this case? Why? [Kadlec Med. Ctr. v. Lakeview Anesthesia Assocs., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9221 (2005).]

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3. David Glenn Koch and Roderick Cook were employees of International Technology Corporation (InTents), a company that provides and installs equipment for events and parties. InTents set up a tent for the Chile Pepper Festival that is held in an open field at the University of Arkansas. Koch and Cook, as well as four other employees of InTents, were moving a large, fully assembled hexagonal tent across the field. To avoid a temporary mesh fence in their path, they attempted to lift the tent over it. The aluminum center support pole of the tent hit an energized overhead power line and three of the men, including Koch and Cook, were fatally electrocuted. Three others were severely injured. The administrators of the estates of Koch and Cook sued Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO). SWEPCO maintains and operates the power line traversing the field. The line is at least 25 feet above the ground and complies with National Electric Safety Code clearance requirements. The line was installed at a time when the area was much more rural than it is today, and the estates contained that SWEPCO was negligent in not elevating, burying, or insulating the line now that the field is occasionally used for major public events. The district court granted SWEPCO motion for summary judgment on the ground that it had no legal duty because it had not received written notification that work would be occurring near the power line. The estates appealed, conceding that no notification was sent to the utility but arguing that SWEPCO owed the decedent’s a duty of care. Did SWEPCO owe a duty of care to anyone using the field for public events? Was the failure to change the line enough to constitute negligent? Why? [Koch v. Southwestern Electric Power Co., 544 F.3d 906 (8th Cir. 2008).] Assignment Week 2: Land safe services

Chapter 10
1. Boutte fell asleep at the wheel while driving his car, struck a cement wall, and broke both of his ankles. He sued Nissan Motor Corp., alleging that the improper placement of the lap belt constituted negligent design. In testimony, the plaintiff’s expert explained that a proper seat belt is positioned over the pelvis. Boutte’s seat belt was positioned over his thighs, and the improper placement allowed him to slide forward and injure his ankles. The expert also explained that a passive restraint system, which was used by other manufacturers, would have kept the lap belt in the correct position. The expert for the manufacturer disagreed and argued that even with a passive restraint system Boutte would have sustained the same injuries. Initially, the jury attributed 84 percent of the fault to the plaintiff. On appeal, the defendant argued that Boutte’s injuries were not a result of the seat belt placement and that the plaintiff’s expert testimony should not have been considered in the trial court. How do you think the appellate court ruled in this case and why? [Boutte v. Nissan Motor Corp., 3d Cir. (1995) 48 ALR 5th 86.]
2. Plaintiff Darren Traub was playing basketball and tried to dunk the ball, but his hand hit the rim and he fell down, hurting both wrists. He sued the manufacturer and the university, claiming that the rigid rim caused his injury or made it worse. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Do you think it should have been granted? [Traub v. Cornell, 1998 WL 187401 (N.D. N.Y.) (1998).]

Introduction to IRAC
All homework case problems and essay answers on the examinations must be answered in IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion) format. This is a specialized format that is used in the law to help us analyze legal questions and develop our critical legal thinking skills. It helps teach us how to look at a set of facts, determine the rule of law that applies, apply the law to that set of facts, and then develop a legally defensible conclusion.
Example:
Beulah walked up quietly behind Verna and hit her in the head with a textbook causing serious injury to Verna.
Verna will end up suing Beulah. The ISSUE is the fundamental/basic question that Verna will be asking the court to answer. It should be specific as to the cause of action upon which Verna is suing–in essence:
Issue: Whether Beulah is liable to Verna for battery.
The next step is the RULE. This is the rule of law that applies to the case. How can you tell whether Beulah is liable unless you know what the definition of battery is? The rule is the definition of the cause of action.
Rule: Battery-an unauthorized and harmful or offensive physical contact with another person.
The next step is the toughest–the APPLICATION. Students normally struggle with this section initially but eventually get the hang of it. It takes lots of practice by spending time on your homework answers and reviewing the model answers–practice, practice, practice. The application is where you take the elements of the rule (definition of the cause of action) and match it with the facts of the case. The best way to determine the elements is to look at the adjectives used in the definition. For example, the first thing that’s required for a battery is an unauthorized contact. The next thing that’s required is that the contact be harmful or offensive. The next requirement is that there be a physical contact. The last requirement is that the contact be with another person. Assignment Week 2: Land safe services
What facts indicate to you that this contact was unauthorized? The fact that Beulah walked up quietly behind Verna. What fact indicates that the contact was harmful (let’s go with harmful as opposed to offensive in this case)? The fact that Verna suffered serious injuries. What fact indicates that there was a physical contact? The fact that Beulah hit Verna. What fact indicates that Verna is a person? Well, the facts aren’t specific, but it’s a reasonable presumption.
Application: This contact was unauthorized because the facts state that Beulah walked up quietly behind Verna indicating that she did not want to be discovered. The contact was harmful because the facts state that Verna suffered serious injuries. The facts also state that Verna was hit by Beulah which means that there was physical contact. Finally, while the facts don’t state specifically that Verna is a person, it is a reasonable assumption given the circumstances.
The next section is the CONCLUSION which is the answer to the question asked in the issue–yes or no.
Conclusion: Yes. (It’s also okay to write a one sentence affirmation of your conclusion like “Yes, based on the facts presented, Beulah is liable for battery” if you choose to do so)

In IRAC you are not advocating one side or the other–you are to look at each scenario like a judge and analyze the facts leading you to develop a “ruling” so to speak.
Do not provide “cut and paste” analyses. These are analyses where the student simply gives back the facts given without any analysis. For example:
Issue: Whether Beulah is liable to Verna for battery.
Rule: Battery-an unauthorized and harmful or offensive physical contact with another person.
Application: Beulah walked up quietly behind Verna and hit her in the head with a textbook causing serious injury to Verna.
Conclusion: Yes.
This is not a good IRAC–and will result in very few points. It does not explain how you came to your conclusion. Basically, the student is taking the facts given and saying to the professor–“Here are the facts you gave me. I’m giving them back. I don’t know how to figure out this problem–you do it.” Don’t make your mother cry by getting a low score on your IRAC. Give me a good IRAC using proper form and analysis and get points for your efforts on an exam.
Also, if you are struggling to make the facts fit the rule, step by and ask yourself whether or not you are using the correct rule. Assignment Week 2: Land safe services

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