1. Newman, a FedEx driver, has been delivering FedEx packages all day in his company provided truck. After being stuck in traffic for over an hour, Newman started to worry that he was going to be late for his neighbor’s performance at a comedy club that night. Taking a short cut, he speeds down a residential neighborhood. He drives well above the speed limit and flies over speed bumps.
Suddenly, he sees 10 year-old Elaine riding her bike across the street. Newman slams on his breaks and jerks the steering wheel, losing control of his car and glancing Elaine with the side of his truck. Elaine breaks her leg as she falls and her bicycle is destroyed.
Newman loses control of his car, hits a telephone pole, and is seriously and permanently injured. The telephone pole, owned by the local phone company
Vandelay Industries, shatters into a shower of sparks and pieces of wood. Kramer, a pedestrian, is stabbed in the leg by a flying piece of the pole, and suffers serious injury. Vandelay had never tested the strength of its telephone poles. The only factor used in manufacturing the poles was cost. The poles were made of low quality trees and were not treated in any significant manner except for a coating of tar. No reinforcement was used on the poles.
What are the rights and liabilities of the parties?
A. What if Newman had been off work for 4 hours?
B. What if Newman worked for Yellow Cab instead of FedEx and was an independent contractor?
C. What if Vandelay had tested its poles repeatedly, and they’d never seen a pole explode this way?
D. What if it would cost Vandelay $20 million dollars (100% of its 2012 net revenue) to make its poles safe?
2. Michael Scott, a local businessman, comes to you with an idea he believes is going to change the paper industry. He has invented a new chemical, Schrute-o-plasm.
When processed, Schrute-o-plasm perfectly imitates paper but causes virtually no environmental impact and requires 1/100 th of the production costs.
Distributors around the world are begging to sell Schrute-o-plasm. Before he goes forward Michael wants to develop a stronger legal strategy. The paper industry is a volatile world with strong personalities, and Michael has been involved in some painful legal disputes during his professional career. He wants to avoid going through a jury trial again if at all possible. What legal strategies would you advise
Michael use to avoid going to court should he have future conflicts with customers and/or suppliers?
3. Maverick Inc. is the world’s largest producer of military aircraft. Maverick employs several test pilots who fly prototype aircrafts in various experimental stages. The work is very risky, and a considerable proportion of pilots are maimed or killed every year. To compensate pilots for their scarce skills and the hazardous nature of their work, Maverick pays each pilot an annual salary of $1 million dollars.
Tom is one of Maverick's top pilots. On a test flight, Tom’s cockpit bursts into flames.
Although he could have saved himself by activating the ejection seat, the plane would have crashed into a heavily populated area. Tom, devoted to preventing mass casualties and devastating the public image of Maverick, Inc. stayed in the plane as it burned around him. Tom survives, but is blind and paralyzed for life.
While undergoing treatment, Tom receives a visit from Val, the president of
Maverick. Val assured Tom that Maverick would provide for Tom financially. While holding Tom’s hand in the hospital room Val said, "You've been our star pilot for more than 20 years. Because you've shown loyalty far above and beyond the call of duty, we'll never forget what you've done for us. Here is a check for $30,000. You'll be getting a check like this every month so long as we remain profitable."
Val wrote checks as promised for 2 years. At the end of the second year, Val changed his mind and told Tom that Maverick