Case Study 1
Members of Students for Fair Tuition (SFT) decide to protest rising tuition costs at Gigantic State University (GSU) by taking over Dunfee Hall, the location of GSU president Dalton Chandler’s office. As they storm into the reception area of Chandler’s office suite shouting, “Down with fascist tuition increases,” Chandler’s faithful secretary, Prudence Pimply, picks up a phone to call the campus police. Steve Steel, radical leader of the SFT, slaps the phone, knocking it from Prudence’s hand without ever touching her. He then pulls out an amazing lifelike squirt gun and threatens to blow Prudence’s head off if she so much as moves an inch toward the phone or the door. Prudence collapses in a sobbing heap on her desk. Unfortunately for their purposes, the students find the only door to Chandler’s third floor office locked from the inside. After a few feeble attempts to break it down, they contend with barricading his door with filing cabinets and singing “We Will Overcome” until the police arrive shortly thereafter. The total time elapsed from the moment the students entered the building until the police arrive is 10 minutes. President Chandler was taking a nap and slept through the entire incident. Prudence was so upset that she couldn’t return to work for a week, and then only managed to do so under heavy doses of tranquilizers prescribed by her doctor, Morton Mallard.
Consider the following when writing this essay:
- Was a crime committed?
- Was there any negligence involved in this case?
- What laws and rights were violated?
- Who should be held liable for the damages (physical and mental)?
- Discuss the possible tort liability in this incident. Assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment all should be explored.
Case Study 2
Steve Simple is a pledge in Zeta Iota Tau (ZIT) fraternity at Minor State Teachers College (MSTC). As part of his pledge duties, he is sent to climb the campus water tower to repaint the fraternity’s Greek letters, which had faded in the last year. (The tower has been covered, virtually throughout its existence, with graffiti placed on it by students.) The night Steve climbs the tower, a tremendous thunderstorm is in progress, making the steps quite slippery and exposing anyone climbing the tower to a great danger of being hit by lightning. Fortified by a six-pack of warm Hudepohl beer ($1.89 at the local convenience store), Steve nonetheless decides to make the attempt. Unfortunately, Steve is electrocuted halfway up the tower by a short circuit in the tower’s pumping mechanism. The short circuit was the result of a failure to perform proper maintenance (this being deferred by MSTC so that it could pay higher faculty salaries) and was something that had happened before (although only pigeons had been fried in the past).
Discuss the potential liability of all parties in this case. Consider the following when writing this essay:
- Chain of causation
- Proximate cause
- Assumption of risk
- Contributory negligence
- Comparative negligence