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Torts Quiz Questions

Terms in this set (41)

Jane is walking through a parking garage, carrying a six-pack of root beer held together with the usual plastic six-pack yoke that holds the cans together. Because the yoke is designed defectively (in a way that would have cost almost nothing to fix), one of the cans falls out while she is walking down the stairs. She trips on the can and, because the stairwell is designed defectively, she falls off of the side of the stairwell, ten feet down to the ground. She is seriously injured, and she sues the manufacturer of the plastic yoke. Assume that she uses negligence as the basis of her suit. Which of the following most resembles the sort of analysis used under Judge Hand's test for determining the standard of ordinary care?


1) The likely damages from "yoke failure" are high enough (even if not usually as high as in this case) that even discounting for the low probability of an accident occurring, the likely damages greatly outweigh the very minimal cost of designing the yoke properly. Therefore the failure to design it properly constitutes negligence.

2) It would have cost very little to manufacture the yoke properly, therefore the failure to do so constitutes negligence.

3) Jane's damages were high and greatly outweighed the minimal cost of constructing the yoke properly. Therefore defendant's failure to do so constitutes negligence.

4) This was a freak accident that owed more to the defective condition of the stairwell than to the condition of the yoke. Therefore, the yoke manufacturer was not negligent.
Jones is walking his little dog, Barkley, in the park. Smith is also in the park, listening to loud music while texting and not looking where he is going. Despite Jones shouting "stop!", Smith (who can't hear a thing) trips over Barkley. While the dog isn't hurt, Jones is very angry at Smith's carelessness. Jones orders Barkley to attack Smith, which the pooch dutifully does, biting Smith's pant leg and ripping it beyond repair. Smith sues Jones. Which of the following statements is true?

1) Jones has committed the tort of trespass to chattels, but none of this would have happened if Smith hadn't been walking around so negligently, so Jones will not be liable.

2) Jones has committed the tort of trespass to chattels, but none of this would have happened if Smith hadn't been walking around so negligently, so the jury will need to assess the parties' relative fault, and Smith's recovery will be reduced by whatever percentage the jury allocates him.

3) Jones has committed the tort of trespass to chattels, but none of this would have happened if Smith hadn't been walking around so negligently, so the jury will need to assess the parties' relative fault, and Smith's recovery will be reduced by whatever percentage the jury allocates him, unless it is more than 49 or 50%, in which case Smith will collect nothing.

4) Jones has committed the tort of trespass to chattels, but none of this would have happened if Smith hadn't been walking around so negligently. Nevertheless, Jones will be fully liable here.
Kalt invites Barnhizer, Staszewski, and Francis to his house for a card game. Midway through the game, Kalt remembers that he has a difficult contracts question that he needs Barnhizer's expert advice on. They take a break from the game and go upstairs to look at the contract. Barnhizer briefly looks at the contract and gives Kalt his expert opinion on the proper course of action. Their business complete, Kalt asks Barnhizer if she would like to take a quick look at his prized collection of state quarters, which is in another room, and Barnhizer agrees. As they walk down the hall to the other room, Barnhizer trips over an object that Kalt has negligently left on the floor. Barnhizer is injured and sues Kalt. Assume that this jurisdiction has kept the legal rules for landowners' limited duties of care. Which of the following is the most accurate statement?

1) Barnhizer is a "licensee" but Kalt owed him a duty of ordinary care because Kalt was conducting "active operations."

2) Barnhizer is a "licensee" because he was a social guest. Kalt owes him a reduced duty; most likely, he will be liable only if the presence of the object was actually known to him but somehow not obvious to Barnhizer.

3) Barnhizer is an "invitee" because he was upstairs for a business purpose. Therefore, Kalt owes a duty of ordinary care to Barnhizer and is liable for negligence here.

4) The state quarter collection is an "attractive nuisance," so Kalt owes a duty of ordinary care to Barnhizer and is liable for negligence here.
After years of research, Lisa determined two years ago that her debilitating skin condition was caused by her favorite soft drink. She continued drinking it anyway, because it was so tasty and refreshing. Eventually, though, she decided to sue the company. The jury awarded her $100,000 in compensatory damages based on the pain and suffering that her skin condition entailed. After determining that the soft drink company knew of the effect of its products but did nothing to fix them until Lisa sued, the jury also awarded her $1 million in punitive damages. Which of the following is a logically consistent result in the trial court?

1) Defendant files a motion for remittitur. The trial court eliminates the punitive damages award and finds that the compensatory damages award is excessive and that $20,000 is more appropriate. Lisa disagrees but the trial court overrules her and she is stuck with the lower award.

2) Defendant files a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The trial court finds that the compensatory damages award is not supported by the evidence, because the evidence showed that Lisa could have avoided her damages if she had acted reasonably and stopped drinking the soft drink after her initial discovery. However, the court affirms the award of punitives.

3) Defendant files a motion for remittitur. The trial court finds that the compensatory damages award is appropriate, but finds that the punitive damages are excessive in relation to Lisa's compensatory damages.

4) Defendant files a motion for remittitur. The trial court finds that the compensatory damages award is appropriate, but finds that punitive damages are not appropriate because Lisa's failure to mitigate her damages makes her unworthy of receiving such a huge award.