Please carefully read the following story and identify and explain all the tort liabilities that… 1 answer below »

Please carefully read the following story and identify and explain all the tort liabilities that may exist for all involved parties. For each, be sure to identify the tort, the plaintiff and defendant and say how likely it is that each could be won or lost. Titan Fireworks, LLC is owned by Bill Smith. It operates a retail location just off a busy expressway and has by its own advertising "The Largest Assortment of the Most-Powerful Consumer-Legal Pyrotechnics East of the Mississippi". On April 1 at noon there are 3 people in the store, Smith, and a young newlywed couple, John and Tina Brown, who are shopping for fireworks to use for a prank they plan to play on their neighbor later that day. A few minutes later, they are joined by Smith's ex-wife, Lucinda, who is carrying a baseball bat and who walks directly up to Bill and tells him that she will "wreck the entire store, and his life" if Smith doesn't immediately give her $1000 out of the cash register. Bill Smith has a restraining order against Lucinda that precludes her from coming to the store. Bill tells Lucinda to leave or he will call the police. In a fit of rage, she swings the bat wildly at Bill, which he manages to block with his arm, the act of which dislocates the bat from Lucinda's grip and sends the bat flying through the air. The airborne bat hits John Brown in the back of the head and he falls to the floor, unconscious. Tina Brown suffers from a diagnosed emotional imbalance and falls to the floor in a silent fetal position at the sight of her unconscious husband. Bill Smith grabs Lucinda and drags her back to the office and locks her inside and calls 911 for both police and medical aid. in the meantime, John Brown regains consciousness and tries to console his young wife. Upon getting Tina back to her feet, John begins to walk her out to their car. Bill Smith runs to the doorway and physically blocks their exit, telling them they must wait for the police to arrive and lifts his shirt to show a handgun in his waistband. The police and ambulance arrive within 15 minutes. The police take statements, haul Lucinda to jail, and render care on site to Bill, John and Tina. Over the next few weeks, Tina needs extra psychiatric counseling and John writes a letter to the editor of the local paper saying that Bill Smith deliberately injured the Browns and that he shouldn't be allowed to operate his business in the community. Immediately after the letter is published, Smith's landlord terminates his lease contract for the Titan Fireworks location and his membership in the local Chamber of Commerce is suspended.
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1. Sarah

When reading the scenario of our discussion this week. My first thought was WOW, there is a lot going on in this situation. However, there were about 6 instances where I believe there were tort liabilities that could be won.

“they are joined by Smith's ex-wife, Lucinda, who is carrying a baseball bat and who walks directly up to Bill and tells him that she will "wreck the entire store, and his life" if Smith doesn't immediately give her $1000 out of the cash register” this is an example of intentional tort. Within the intentional tort, Bill could potentially go after Lucinda with assault and battery. “Assault is (1) the threat of immediate harm or offense of contact” (7.2) because Lucinda is threatening to wreck his life, Bill could potentially win this case in the fact that he also had a restraining order against her.

“She swings the bat wildly at Bill, which he manages to block with his arm, the act of which dislocates the bat from Lucinda's grip and sends the bat flying through the air.” This is another example of intentional tort with assault/battery. Lucinda aggressively and intentionally tried to harm Bill. I believe he could win this.

“. The airborne bat hits John Brown in the back of the head and he falls to the floor, unconscious.” This would be an example of Negligence. Within the elements of negligence, physical harm does not need to be intentionally caused. So, even though Lucinda meant hit Bill, the fact that she lost control of the bat and unintentionally hit John means that he can still most likely win the case with negligence.

“Tina Brown suffers from a diagnosed emotional imbalance and falls to the floor in a silent fetal position at the sight of her unconscious husband.” & “Over the next few weeks, Tina needs extra psychiatric counseling” Tina having emotional distress from the situation would be an example of negligence, standard of care. While this one may be harder to win, she still as the ability to claim . However, the fact that she has a diagnosed emotional imbalance gives her a better shot at being able to win this. At the very least, Tina could get reimbursement/money for the extra counseling she needs.

“Bill Smith runs to the doorway and physically blocks their exit, telling them they must wait for the police to arrive and lifts his shirt to show a handgun in his waistband.” I see this being an example of intentional tort. Although he did not physically harm Tina and John, he had intention by blocking them in and showed aggressiveness by blocking them his gun. This could definitely be used against Bill in the case.

“Smith's landlord terminates his lease contract for the Titan Fireworks location and his membership in the local Chamber of Commerce is suspended.” This would be an example of Smiths landlord using strict liability. While this is also a 50/50 if his landlord would win, he does have reasonable cause to terminate Smiths contact for his business because of the incidents that happened. Even though Bill did not mean to cause any problems or have any of this happen, it still did. Just as someone who innocently or unknowingly trespasses can be liable for damages, this is the same type of scenario.

I’m interested to hear all of your thoughts and opinions on this week’s case. All in all, I would say Lucinda is in some big trouble!!

2. Theresa Hurley

This is an interesting and a scary, realistic possibility. From what I gather, there are many different Tort scenarios here. For simplicity sake, I will break it down per tort instance that I believe exists.

1. Plaintiff: Bill Smith vs Defendant: Lucinda. Tort: Intentional Case: Winnable

Lucinda would be accused of assault and battery, since she both threatened Bill and then caused bodily harm by hitting him with the bat.

2. Plaintiff: Brown’s Neighbor vs Defendant: John & Theresa Brown Tort: Intentional Case: Not Winnable

Brown’s were purchasing fireworks as a prank to their neighbor. The prank could be considered an assault defined as “the threat of immediate harm” (Mayer, et al., 2014,, p 156). But because the plan was not followed through and there is no clear plan outlined to know what the prank was going to be – there is no case.

3. Plaintiff: Brown vs Defendant: Lucinda Tort: Intentional Case: Winnable

Brown’s have a case for assault and battery and infliction of emotional distress. Lucinda did not mean to hurt the Brown’s, however, through her willful conduct she posed a threat against them when she entered with a bat. When the bat broke free and hit the John Smith she committed battery as well. Plus, the mental distress of Theresa for witnessing her husband get hit by a bat. Combined this is a winnable case.

4. Plaintiff: Brown vs Defendant: Bill Smith Tort: Negligence Case: Winnable

Because Smith knew his wife was a threat, based on his need for a restraining order he could be found negligent. The Brown’s entered the property on the premise it was safe, however, Bill Smith was negligent for not protecting his property and guests. There are four elements to being found guilty of negligence and they include: “duty of due care the defendant had…breach of duty of due care…connections between cause and injury…actual damage or loss” (Mayer, et al, 2014, p. 161).

5. Plaintiff: Brown vs Defendant: Bill Smith Tort: Intentional Case: Winnable

Smith forcibly kept the Brown’s captive in his fireworks location. This crossed the line when he showed them his gun and told them not to leave until the police arrived. This could be considered false imprisonment since the Brown’s were not permitted to leave.

6. Plaintiff: Bill Smith vs Defendant: John Brown Tort: Intentional Case: Winnable

Bill Smith has just cause for Defamation against John Brown who made statements that were not true. Bill did not intentionally harm the Brown’s. If anything, even though his ex-wife entered the property, he removed her and locker her in his office to prevent her from further damage. He will win this case and probably a lucrative reward for punitive damages after losing his location, and membership to the Chamber.

References:

Mayer, D. et. al (2014). Business Law and the Legal Environment: Executive MBA Edition (Version 1.0). Washington: Flat World Knowledge.

3. Thomas L

Tort Law holds individuals responsible for their behavior and wrong doings against any other individual. By Lucinda entering the store carrying a baseball bat she is guilty of assault without battery. Assault is the threat of immediate harm or offense by contact, and any act that would arouse any reasonable apprehension of immediate harm. By carrying the baseball bat into the store Lucinda is implying that she has an intent to harm Bill. By Lucinda actually swinging the bat and hitting her ex-husband, Bill, and causing physical harm, Lucinda is guilty of Assault and Battery. By actually swinging the bat, Lucinda’s threat to Bill is no longer implied, but a reality to do harm. When the bat dislodged from her hands and flew through the air and hit John in the back of the hand, Lucinda is now also guilty of transferred intent.

Not every unintentional act that causes injury is negligent but in this case the Standard of Care would not apply. Although, Lucinda’s intent was to harm Bill, ultimately her actions caused John to be knocked unconscious. At this point who knows the extent of the physical harm inflicted on John and now Lucinda is also guilty of inflicting emotional distress on John’s wife, Tina. Lucinda, could also be guilty of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress by inflicting physical harm to John, which ultimately affected the physical well-being of Tina.

By Bill taking Lucinda and locking her into a room he is potentially guilty of False Imprisonment. False Imprisonment was originally was thought of actually locking someone up in a prison type of environment. However, as the interpretation of False Imprisonment has evolved, the tort is considered to include whenever a person is retained in a room, or a car, against their personal will. False Imprisonment can also include obstructing the path of a person who is walking down the street or anywhere for that matter. People have the freedom to go as they please and anyone who restricts this freedom is guilty of a tort.

Bill could also be guilty of False Imprisonment, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and Assault by blocking John and Tina’s path out of the store and showing his gun, which was to imply that he was able to inflict harm on the two of them. By showing the gun, Bill is willingly participating in an act that would cause John and Tina to think they are in physical danger if they do not obey his commands. John could be guilty of Defamation and Libel because of spreading false rumors about Bill. Bill did not mean to inflict personal harm on John and Tina, in fact, John and Tina, were injured as a direct result of Lucinda’s actions. Additionally, John and Tina could be guilty of Intentional Interference with Contractual Relations and Malicious Prosecution for spreading untruth comments about Bill resulting in the landlord and chamber to react against Bill (Mayer, 2014).

References

Mayer, D. (2014). Business Law and the Legal Environment. Irvington: Flat World Knowledge, Inc.

4. Thomas-Hi Marcus, great job on your post. I am curious if this was an actual real life event or just an example to make us think. Either way, it clearly indicates how quickly our day can go sideways if we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. I completely missed the prank element and would think that unless there is an injury or destruction of property after the prank was completed how can a person be guilty of an implied prank. I believe Lucinda is in serious trouble for violating a restraining order and for taking a swing at Bill with a baseball bat. That is a little over the top, no?

There are three forms of torts; intentional, negligent, and strict liability. All three can result in the defendant being punished by jail time, fines, and death, Tort law ultimately holds an individual responsible for their behavior and as a result the plaintiff may be awarded some compensation for the damages against them (Mayer, 2014). I also believed that Lucinda was guilty of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress on Tina for causing her to collapse after seeing her husband, John injured as a result of the flying bat. I enjoyed your post.

Mayer, (2014). Business Law and the Legal Environment: Irvington, Flat World Knowledge, Inc.

5.-Tiffany

Titan Fireworks, LLC is owned by Bill Smith. It operates a retail location just off a busy expressway and has by its own advertising "The Largest Assortment of the Most-Powerful Consumer-Legal Pyrotechnics East of the Mississippi". On April 1 at noon there are 3 people in the store, Smith, and a young newlywed couple, John and Tina Brown, who are shopping for fireworks to use for a prank they plan to play on their neighbor later that day.

John and Tina were potentially committing an intentional tort which are intentional acts of pranking their neighbor. The tort liability for the prank could have been the following:

1. Fault-Intentional

2. Injury to property-private trespass

3. Injury to person-mental distress

4. Types of Damages-Punitive

5. Excuses-Assumption of Risk

A few minutes later, they are joined by Smith's ex-wife, Lucinda, who is carrying a baseball bat and who walks directly up to Bill and tells him that she will "wreck the entire store, and his life" if Smith doesn't immediately give her $1000 out of the cash register. Bill Smith has a restraining order against Lucinda that precludes her from coming to the store. Bill tells Lucinda to leave or he will call the police.

Lucinda was committing an intentional tort since she intentionally breached the restraining order and attempted to extort money. In addition, Lucinda is committing a tort of assault by swinging the bat at Bill and wrecking his store. Types of tory are the following:

1. Fault-Gross Negligence

2. Fault-Intentional

3. Injury to person-Assault and battery

4. Injury to property-Trespass

5. Injury to property- public nuisance

6. Types of Damages-Expenses-Pain and Suffering

7. Excuses-Assumption of risk

In a fit of rage, she swings the bat wildly at Bill, which he manages to block with his arm, the act of which dislocates the bat from Lucinda's grip and sends the bat flying through the air. The airborne bat hits John Brown in the back of the head and he falls to the floor, unconscious.

Swinging the bat had intentional consequences but the outcome was an unintentional acts of hitting John in the head and rendering him unconscious. In addition, to the event cause Tina to have an emotional episode. Tort liability include the following:

1. Fault-Gross Negligence

2. Fault-Intentional

3. Injury to person-Assault and battery

4. Injury to person-Mental distress

5. Types of damages- Compensatory-Pain and Suffering

Tina Brown suffers from a diagnosed emotional imbalance and falls to the floor in a silent fetal position at the sight of her unconscious husband. Bill Smith grabs Lucinda and drags her back to the office and locks her inside and calls 911 for both police and medical aid. In the meantime, John Brown regains consciousness and tries to console his young wife. Upon getting Tina back to her feet, John begins to walk her out to their car. Bill Smith runs to the doorway and physically blocks their exit, telling them they must wait for the police to arrive and lifts his shirt to show a handgun in his waistband.

Bill was attempting to render aid by removing Lucinda from the area to prevent further harm and immediately call the police and medical attention. Lucinda could site Bill for false imprisonment for locking her in the office. Also Bill is at risk of tort liability intentional fault since he showed of a gun to make the Brown’s stay in the building could cause additional psychiatric stress and is false imprisonment. Tort Liability include:

1. Fault- Negligence

2. Injury to person-Mental Distress to Tina and John

3. Injury to person-False imprisonment

4. Types of Damages-Compensatory Pain and suffering

The police and ambulance arrive within 15 minutes. The police take statements, haul Lucinda to jail, and render care on site to Bill, John and Tina. Over the next few weeks, Tina needs extra psychiatric counseling and John writes a letter to the editor of the local paper saying that Bill Smith deliberately injured the Browns and that he shouldn't be allowed to operate his business in the community.

John has defamed Bill’s and Titan Fireworks name stating falsehood of the actions during the event. His account to the paper is as if Bill intentionally hit him and caused his wife’s psychiatric condition. I would say this report was created to obtain redress. Tort liability include:

1. Fault-Intentional

2. Injury to person-Libel and slander

Immediately after the letter is published, Smith’s landlord terminates his lease contract for the Titan Fireworks location and his membership in the local Chamber of Commerce is suspended.

The landlord and the Chamber of commerce faces breach of contract with terminating Bill’s lease and membership due to hear say and not facts.

 

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