Hannabalson v. Sessions

Brief Fact Summary.

Neighboring parties sought court action in a battery dispute.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A property line extends from the center of the earth to the sky in a trespass.

Facts.

The plaintiff and defendant, who did not get along, lived beside each other with a fence separating the properties. When the defendant’s ladder was hanging on the fence, the defendant claimed that the plaintiff tried to remove the ladder. The plaintiff stated that her arm was merely resting over the fence and the defendant struck her arm. The defendant claimed that he gently touched the plaintiff’s arm, asking the plaintiff to stay on her side of the fence. The plaintiff sued the defendant for assault and battery. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff.

Issue.

Does the property line extend from the center of the earth to the sky in a trespass?

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. The force used by the defendant to remove the plaintiff’s arm was reasonable.

Discussion.

A property line extends from the center of the earth to the sky in a trespass. A person does not need to walk onto the property of another to be held liable for trespass. Any part of the body that is over the property line constitutes trespass. A property owner may use reasonable force to remove a trespasser from his property.

Hutchinson v. Proxmire

Brief Fact Summary.

Hutchinson sued Proxmire for defamation because Proxmire gave Hutchinson’s federal sponsors an award for sponsored work that is considered a waste of tax dollars.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

The Speech or Debate clause does not protect statements made by members of Congress, outside of Congress, if the statement is not critical for legislative considerations.

Facts.

Hutchinson sued Proxmire for defamation because Proxmire gave Hutchinson’s federal sponsors an award for sponsored work that is considered a waste of tax dollars. The court of appeals held that the Speech or Debate clause protected Proxmire’s statements.

Issue.

Whether the Speech or Debate clause protects statements made by members of Congress, outside of Congress, if the statement is not critical for legislative considerations?

Held.

No. The judgment of the court of appeals is reversed. Statements that are made that are not critical for legislative deliberations are not protected by the Speech or Debate Clause.

Dissent.

(Brennan, J.) Public criticism of unnecessary expenditures should be protected by the Speech or Debate clause.

Concurrence.

(Stewart, J.) Phone calls to federal agency officials are routine and should be protected.

Discussion.

The Speech or Debate clause does not protect statements made by members of Congress, outside of Congress, if the statement is not critical for legislative considerations.

Impellizerri v. Jamesville Federated Church

Brief Fact Summary.

The Impellizerries brought suit against Jamesville Federated Church (Church) when their son who suffered from a neurological disease was kept awake by the Church’s bells.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

An action must cause an unnecessary effect on the health and comfort of an ordinary person in a similar situation in order to constitute private nuisance.

Facts.

Impellizerri lived in close proximity to Jamesville Federated Church where the church’s bell rang loudly three times on Mondays-Saturdays and four times on Sundays. The Impellizerris brought suit against Jamesville Federated Church (Church) when their son who suffered from a neurological disease was kept awake by the Church’s bells. The Church filed a motion to dismiss when the Impellizeris classified the Church’s bells as a nuisance.

Issue.

Whether an action must cause an unnecessary effect on the health and comfort of an ordinary person in a similar situation in order to constitute private nuisance?

Held.

Yes. The Church’s motion to dismiss the claim is granted. The Church is not liable for nuisance due to the Impellizerri’s son’s hypersensitivity.

Discussion.

An action must cause an unnecessary effect on the health and comfort of an ordinary person in a similar situation in order to constitute private nuisance. Hypersensitivity is not calculated into the determination of whether a nuisance is unreasonable. Rather, the determination of an unreasonable nuisance is based on the experience of an ordinary person.

Johnson v. Stratlaw, Inc.

Brief Fact Summary.

Johnson’s parents sued for wrongful death after their son got into a car accident and died when he worked for a pizza shop owned by Stratlaw, Inc.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

An employee is acting within the scope of employment if the employment creates a special risk, and the employee sustains injury within that risk.

Facts.

Johnson got into a car accident and died when he worked for a pizza shop owned by Stratlaw, Inc. (Stratlaw). Johnson’s parents sued for wrongful death. Johnson’s parents argued that the shift was not under the scope of employment because Johnson worked longer than eight hours in violation of the state’s labor laws. The trial court granted Stratlaw’s motion for summary judgment.

Issue.

Whether an employee is acting within the scope of employment if employment creates a special risk, and the employee sustains injury within that risk?

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. Johnson would not have been on the road at 2:00 am if it had not been for his shift at the pizza shop. Similarly, Johnson working an excess of eight hours and being tired on the way home is a risk distinctive to Johnson and greater than the risk to the general public.

Discussion.

The special risk exception of the going-and-coming rule deems an employee to be acting within the scope of employment if the employment creates a special risk, and the employee sustains injury within that risk. The special risk exception applies where: (1) the employee would not have been in the area where the injury took place without the employment, and (2) the risk is greater to the employee than to the general public.

Kaplan v. Newsweek Magazine, Inc.

Brief Fact Summary.

Kaplan filed suit for libel against Newsweek Magazine, Inc. (Newsweek) after Newsweek published an article listing a course taught by Kaplan as one that requires little work to achieve a good grade.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

An opinion does not constitute defamation.

Facts.

Kaplan filed suit for libel against Newsweek Magazine, Inc. (Newsweek) after Newsweek published an article listing a course taught by Kaplan as one that requires little work to achieve a good grade. The district court granted Newsweek’s motion to dismi

Issue.

Whether stating an opinion constitutes defamation?

Held.

No. The judgment of the district court is affirmed. A critique of a course is not indicative of the professor of that course. The article did not discuss Kaplan or Kaplan’s professors.

Discussion.

An opinion does not constitute defamation.

Kelley v. R.G. Industries, Inc.

Brief Fact Summary.

Kelley filed a tort suit against R.G. Industries, Inc. after being shot during the robbery of a store.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A defendant can be held strictly liable for an activity that is abnormally dangerous in relation to the area that the activity occurs.

Facts.

Kelley was shot while he was working in a store in Maryland. The gun that was used was assembled by R.G. Industries, Inc. (R.G.). Kelley filed a tort suit against R.G. Industries, Inc. after being shot during the robbery of a store.

Issue.

Whether adefendant can be held strictly liable for an activity that is abnormally dangerous in relation to the area that the activity occurs?

Held.

Yes. The defendants are not liable on a theory of strict liability. The manufacture and marketing of a gun is not abnormally dangerous in respect to where the activities occurred.

Discussion.

A defendant can be held strictly liable for an activity that is abnormally dangerous in relation to the area that the activity occurs. The abnormally dangerous activity only occurs where the defendant is an owner of land.

Knight v. Jewett

Brief Fact Summary.

Knight filed a negligence suit against Jewett for injuries during a football game.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A person active in a sport breaches a duty of care to other participants if the participant injures another player and it is outside of the normal activity of the sport.

Facts.

Knight filed a negligence suit against Jewett for injuries during a football game. Knight claimed that Jewett ran into her and stepped on her hand after Knight caught the ball. The trial court granted summary judgment to Jewett and the appellate court affirmed.

Issue.

Whether a person active in a sport breaches a duty of care to other participants if the participant injures another player and it is outside of the normal activity of the sport

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. Jewett did not breach any duty that was owed to Knight.

Discussion.

A person active in a sport breaches a duty of care to other participants if the participant injures another player and it is outside of the normal activity of the sport.

Krebs v. Corrigan

Brief Fact Summary.

Krebs filed suit and against Bronson and his principal, Corrigan, after Bronson destroyed four of Krebs’ sculptures.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A prima facie case of negligence is established under the doctrine of res ipsaloquitor if the cause of the accident is known, the instrumentality causing the accident is under the exclusive control of the defendant, and the instrumentality is not likely to do harm without the negligence of the person in control of the instrumentality.

Facts.

Bron’s car was parked in Krebs’ art studio when Krebs’ spotted Bronson and his car flying through the air. Bronson and the car fell on four of Krebs’ sculptures.Krebs filed suit and against Bronson and his principal, Corrigan, after Bronson destroyed four of Krebs’ sculptures. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for a directed verdict.

Issue.

Whether a prima facie case of negligence is established under the doctrine of res ipsaloquitor if the cause of the accident is known, the instrumentality causing the accident is under the exclusive control of the defendant, and the instrumentality is not likely to do harm without the negligence of the person in control of the instrumentality?

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the trial court is reversed. The cause of the accident was known, as Bronson fell on the sculptures; Bronson’s body was under the control of Bronson; and a person’s body is not likely to do harm without the control of the person. Kreb has presented enough evidence to support the doctrine of res ipsaloquitor.

Discussion.

A prima facie case of negligence is established under the doctrine of res ipsaloquitor if the cause of the accident is known, the instrumentality causing the accident is under the exclusive control of the defendant, and the instrumentality is not likely to do harm without the negligence of the person in control of the instrumentality.

Lowell v. Mother’s Cake & Cookie Co.

Brief Fact Summary.

The trial court dismissed Lowell’s complaint after Lowell brought suit against Mother’s Cake & Cookie Co. for intentional interference with prospective business advantage.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A claim for intentional interference with prospective business advantage cannot be dismissed for failure to state a claim based on the defendant’s justification of privilege, unless the facts in the complaint do not show justification or privilege.

Facts.

Lowell performed delivery services for Mother’s Cake & Cookie Co. (Cake) for over five years. When Lowell sought to sell the company, an offer was contingent upon Lowell’s business relationship with Cake. Lowell told the prospective buyer that their business relationship with Cake will terminate after Lowell sold the company. All of Lowell’s potential offers withdrew shortly thereafter. The trial court dismissed Lowell’s complaint after Lowell brought suit against Cake for intentional interference with prospective business advantage.

Issue.

Whether a claim for intentional interference with prospective business advantage be dismissed for failure to state a claim based on the defendant’s justification of privilege?

Held.

No. The judgment of the trial court is reversed. Lowell claimed that Cake interfered with Lowell’s sale of the company by driving down the market price of the company so that Cake may purchase the company for itself. No justification or privilege existed on the face of the complaint.

Discussion.

A claim for intentional interference with prospective business advantage cannot be dismissed for failure to state a claim based on the defendant’s justification of privilege, unless the facts in the complaint do not show justification or privilege.

Maniaci v. Marquette University

Brief Fact Summary.

Manaici filed suit for false imprisonment against Marquette University after the Dean of Women had Maniaci institutionalized when they were unsuccessful in keeping Manaici from withdrawing from the university.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A defendant is liable for abuse of process if the defendant uses legal process to serve a defendant for any purpose other than what the process is meant for.

Facts.

Maniaci, a freshman at Marquette University, did not like college, bought a train ticket, and began to pack. The Dean of Women was unsuccessful in convincing Maniaci to remain at the school. When they were unable to reach Maniaci’s father, the doctor of the college had Maniaci institutionalized. Maniaci was released from the hospital when her father was reached. Manaici filed suit for false imprisonment against Marquette University after the Dean of Women had Maniaci institutionalized when they were unsuccessful in keeping Manaici from withdrawing from the university. The trial court granted judgment to Maniaci.

Issue.

Whether a defendant is liable for abuse of process if the defendant uses legal process to serve a defendant for any purpose other than what the process is meant for?

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the trial court is reversed. The confinement was lawful and did not constitute false imprisonment because the Deans followed the rules prescribed by the state. Maniaci may be able to plead a claim of abuse of process because the defendants followed Wisconsin law to place Maniaci in the hospital, but they did not institutionalize Maniaci out of concern for her mental health.

Discussion.

A defendant is liable for abuse of process if the defendant uses legal process to serve a defendant for any purpose other than what the process is meant for. Abuse of process includes using legal procedures to obtain an ulterior motive hat the process was not designed for.

Mavrikidis v. Petullo

Brief Fact Summary.

Mavrikidis filed suit after an independent contractor hired by Petullo crashed into Mavrikidis and spilled hot asphalt on Mavrikidis’ car.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A company is not liable for the negligent acts of an independent contractor if the company controls the equipment to be used, the way the work is supposed to be performed, and the employees of the independent contractor.

Facts.

Pascarello hired the Petullo Brothers, Inc. to supply asphalt and concrete for the purpose of renovating the station’s parking lot and service area. Petullo crashed into Mavrikidis and spilled hot asphalt on Mavrikidis’ car causing Mavrikidis to burn injuries. The trial court attributed 89 percent of the fault to Pascarello and the appellate court reversed.

Issue.

Whether a company is liable for the negligent acts of an independent contractor if the company controls the equipment to be used, the way the work is supposed to be performed, and the employees of the independent contractor.

Held.

No. The judgment of the appellate court is affirmed. Pascarellos’ acts had to do with the renovation the service station’s parking lot and not on the specific work being done by the Petullos. Pascarello cannot be held vicariously liable for the injuries caused to Mavrikidis.

Discussion.

A company is not liable for the negligent acts of an independent contractor if the company controls the equipment to be used, the way the work is supposed to be performed, and the employees of the independent contractor.

Miller v. Arnal Corp.

Brief Fact Summary.

Miller filed suit against Arnal Corp. when he suffered from hypothermia as a guest at the Snow Bowl Lodge.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A person who aids another person can abandon the aid unless they put the other person in a worse position than they were in prior to the aid.

Facts.

Miller and four friends left a snow lodge to go on an overnight hiking trip. When a snowstorm hit, the four friends left Miller to seek assistance for Miller as she contracted frostbite. Although Clay stayed with Miller, the four friends were not able to get a sheriff to locate Miller and Clay until the following morning. When Miller suffered severe hypothermia, and got his feet and his finger amputated, he filed suit against Arnal Corp. (Arnal) the owner of the lodge. The trial court granted judgment to Arnal.

Issue.

Whether a person who aids another person can abandon the aid unless they put the other person in a worse position than they were in prior to the aid?

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. Miller was left in the same position he would have been in if there was no rescue mission. Arnal is therefore not liable for the harm suffered by Miller between the abandonment and when he was found by the sheriff.

Discussion.

A person who aids another person can abandon the aid unless they put the other person in a worse position than they were in prior to the aid. If the actor puts the victim in a worse position than they were in prior to the aid, the actor has a duty to provide reasonable care to continue the aid or abandon the aid so that the victim is not subject to an unreasonable risk of harm.

Nader v. Allegheny Airlines, Inc.

Brief Fact Summary.

Nader filed a suit for fraudulent misrepresentation after being removed from his flight with Allegheny Airlines, Inc. in accordance with the airline’s overbooking policy.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A statement in a business transaction constitutes fraudulent misrepresentation if the information is materially misleading due to the lack of a qualifier.

Facts.

Nader bought a ticket with Allegheny Airlines, Inc. (Allegheny) and received a flight confirmation. Nader filed a suit for fraudulent misrepresentation after being removed from his flight with Allegheny Airlines, Inc. in accordance with the airline’s overbooking policy.

Issue.

Whether a statement in a business transaction constitutes fraudulent misrepresentation if the information is materially misleading due to the lack of a qualifier.

Held.

Yes. Alleghany is liable to Nader for fraudulent misrepresentation. Without information indicating that a passenger is subject to removal due to an overbooking policy, a passenger has reason to believe that a ticket confirmation will ensure their seat on a flight.

Discussion.

A statement in a business transaction constitutes fraudulent misrepresentation if the information is materially misleading due to the lack of a qualifier. A defendant is guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant made a false representation regarding a material fact, the defendant knew that the statement was false, made the statement in order to deceive the plaintiff, and the plaintiff relied on the false representation.

Neff v. Time, Inc.

Brief Fact Summary.

Neff filed suit against Time, Inc. when a picture of him in Sports Illustrated showed him with his “fly down” at a Pittsburgh Steelers game.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A person can be held liable for invasion of privacy if an individual uses the name or likeness of another person for his own benefit.

Facts.

Neff filed suit against Time, Inc. when a picture of him in Sports Illustrated showed him with his “fly down” at a Pittsburgh Steelers game. Neff claimed that the image was embarrassing and Time moved for summary judgment.

Issue.

Whether a person can be held liable for invasion of privacy if an individual uses the name or likeness of another person for his own benefit?

Held.

Yes. Time’s motion for summary judgment is granted. Sports Illustrated in protected for the publication of Neff under the First Amendment.

Discussion.

A person can be held liable for invasion of privacy if an individual uses the name or likeness of another person for his own benefit.

Neumann v. Shlansky

Brief Fact Summary.

Neumann sued Shlansky for negligence after being hit with a tee at a golf course.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A child engaging in adult activities are held to the standard of care of an adult.

Facts.

Neumann sued Shlansky for negligence after being hit with a tee at a golf course. The defendant was an 11-year-old at the time of the incident but played golf approximately three times a week. The defendant played better than most adults and the jury was instructed that Shlansky should be held to the standard of care to adults.

Issue.

Whether a child engaging in adult activities are held to the standard of care of an adult?

Held.

Yes. The defendant acted as an adult when he hit the plaintiff with a golf ball. It was not an error for the court to hold the defendant to the standard of care of an adult.

Discussion.

A child engaging in adult activities are held to the standard of care of an adult.

New Jersey Carpenters Health Fund v. Philip Morris, Inc.

Brief Fact Summary.

New Jersey Carpenters Health Fund filed suit against Philip Morris, Inc.for fraudulent misrepresentation.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A plaintiff’s injuries have to be closely related to a falsification in order to sustain a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation.

Facts.

New Jersey Carpenters Health Fund (NJ) filed suit against Philip Morris, Inc. (Philip) for fraudulent misrepresentation claiming that Philip withheld information about the risks associated with smoking. NJ claimed that Philip directed the falsification to them to increase the plaintiff’s healthcare costs associated with the risks of smoking. Philip filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

Issue.

Whether a plaintiff’s injuries have to be closely related to a falsification in order to sustain a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation?

Held.

Yes. The defendant’s motion to dismiss is denied. The defendants knowingly withheld the risks associated with smoking, causing the plaintiffs to suffer the increased healthcare costs associated with smoking.

Discussion.

Known as remote cause, a plaintiff’s injuries have to be closely related to a falsification in order to sustain a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation.A defendant is guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant made a false representation regarding a material fact, the defendant knew that the statement was false, made the statement in order to deceive the plaintiff, and the plaintiff relied on the false representation.

Northington v. Marin

Brief Fact Summary.

Northington filed a negligence suit against Marin claiming that Marin spread rumors in Denver County Jail that Northington was a snitch, resulting in various assaults from the other inmates.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

An actor’s negligence is a substantial factor in bringing about harm if two forces are sufficient enough to bring each other harm individually, and ne of the two forces exists due to the actor’s negligence.

Facts.

Northington was assaulted in jail several times after inmates accused Northington of being a snitch. Northington filed a negligence suit against Marin claiming that Marin spread rumors in Denver County Jail that Northington was a snitch, resulting in various assaults from the other inmates. The district court founded in favor of Northington.

Issue.

Whether an actor’s negligence is a substantial factor in bringing about harm if two forces are sufficient enough to bring each other harm individually, and one of the two forces exists due to the actor’s negligence?

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the district court is affirmed. Marin and the other deputies were a substantial factor in causing the assaults against Northington. Because there was no determination regarding the extent to which Marin or the other deputies contributed to the harm, Marin was held liable for the entire harm.

Discussion.

An actor’s negligence is a substantial factor in bringing about harm if two forces are sufficient enough to bring each other harm individually, and ne of the two forces exists due to the actor’s negligence. If two forces cause a harm, and it cannot be determined which of the two forces caused the harm, then the actors behind each of the forces can be held liable for the harm.

Pillars v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Brief Fact Summary.

Pillars filed a products liability suit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. when Pillars was poisoned after ingesting chewing tobacco that contained a human toe.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

The manufacturer of a product can be held liable to the consumer for the negligent production of a product.

Facts.

Pillars was poisoned after ingesting chewing tobacco that contained a human toe. The tobacco was manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (R.J.). Pillars filed a products liability suit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and the trial court issued a directed verdict to R.J.

Issue.

Whether the manufacturer of a product can be held liable to the consumer for the negligent production of a product?

Held.

Yes. R.J. can be held liable for the negligent manufacture of the chewing tobacco because although tobacco is not a food, chewing tobacco is ingested through the mouth.

Discussion.

The manufacturer of a product can be held liable to the consumer for the negligent production of a product.

Pitre v. Employers Liability Insurance Corporation

Brief Fact Summary.

Pitre died at a fair operated by the Thibodaux Fire Department and his parents filed a negligence suit against Employers Liability Insurance Corporation, the insurers of the fair.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Failure to prevent injury to another person does not constitute negligence if the precaution would not have been taken by a reasonable person under the same circumstances.

Facts.

Pitre died at a fair operated by the Thibodaux Fire Department and his parents filed a negligence suit against Employers Liability Insurance Corporation, the insurers of the fair. Pitre was hit by a guest when the guest was preparing to throw a baseball, and the fair made a practice out of operating this kind of stand without ropes or barriers. The trial court found for Pitre.

Issue.

Whether a failure to prevent injury to another person constitutes negligence if the precaution would not have been taken by a reasonable person under the same circumstances?

Held.

No. The judgment of the trial court is reversed. There was no danger associated with the baseball concession stand because the thrower was out in the open and bystanders should have known to stand clear. A reasonable person would not have taken precautions to prevent the harm that was inflicted upon Pitre.

Discussion.

Failure to prevent injury to another person does not constitute negligence if the precaution would not have been taken by a reasonable person under the same circumstances. The risk must be foreseeable and unreasonable in order to constitute negligence.

Ralphs Grocery Co. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board

Brief Fact Summary.

Moeller’s with filed for worker’s compensation benefits after her husband died from a heart attack following being laid off from Ralphs Grocery Co.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

An employee is not entitled to worker’s compensation for an injury that does not arise out of the course of employment.

Facts.

Moeller was laid off after being on disability leave from Ralphs Grocery Co. (Ralphs). Ralphs called Moeller the next day, informing Moeller that he could return to work the next day with lower pay, part-time, and without benefits. Moeller suffered a heart attack and died after the phone call. Moeller was suffering from colon cancer at the time of the phone call. Moeller’s doctors claimed that Moeller died after finding out that he could only work part-time without benefits. Moeller’s wife filed for  and was awarded worker’s compensation benefits after her husband died from a heart attack following being laid off from Ralphs Grocery Co.

Issue.

Whether an employee is entitled to worker’s compensation for an injury that does not arise out of the course of employment?

Held.

No. The decision of the Workers’ Compensation Board is annulled. Mueller suffered the heart attack outside of his employment with Ralphs  because he was laid-off at the time of the phone call, and even if he was still employed by Ralphs, Mueller would not be due to return to work until the next day.

Discussion.

An employee is not entitled to worker’s compensation for an injury that does not arise out of the course of employment. The injury suffered by the employee must be linked to the employment in some manner. The going and coming rule suspends an employee’s employment from the time he leaves work and the time he resumes his work.

Rodgers v. Kemper Construction Co.

Brief Fact Summary.

Rodger sued Kemper Construction Co. when he was beat up by two of Kemper’s employees.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

An employer is liable for torts under respondeat superior if committed by employees under the scope of employment.

Facts.

Rodgers was the employee of a general contractor for a construction project and Kemper Construction Co. (Kemper) was the subcontractor for the project. When Herd and O’brien, employees of Kemper, were off-shift but called in to do some extra work, they beat up Rodgers when he refused to drive them across the job site in the bulldozer. Rodger sued Kemper Construction Co. when he was beat up by two of Kemper’s employees. The trial court granted judgment to Rodgers.

Issue.

Whether an employer is liable for torts under respondeat superior if committed by employees under the scope of employment?

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. Herd and O’Brien’s presence on the job site was beneficial to Kemper because Kemper needed employees to work overtime. Herd and O’Brien were also given permission to remain on the job site and their presence was routine to their employment.

Discussion.

An employer is liable for torts under respondeat superior if committed by employees under the scope of employment. An employer is responsible for a tortious act that occurs after an employee’s shift if the employee’s premises benefits the employer, if the employee had permission from the employee to remain on the premises and routine to the employment.

Roysdon v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Brief Fact Summary.

Rosdon filed a products liability suit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. after having his leg amputated due to severe peripheral atherosclerotic vascular disease.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A plaintiff can maintain a products liability suit if the product is defective or unreasonably dangerous.

Facts.

Roysdon regularly smoked cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (R.J.). Rosdon filed a products liability suit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. after having his leg amputated due to severe peripheral atherosclerotic vascular disease. The District Court granted judgment to R.J.

Issue.

Whether a plaintiff can maintain a products liability suit if the product is defective or dangerous.

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the district court is affirmed. Roysdon provided no evidence that smoking cigarettes manufactured by R.J. was more dangerous than smoking any other cigarettes. Similarly, any consumer would expect the consequences that come along with smoking cigarettes. R.J. is not liable to Roysdon because Roysdon failed to prove that the cigarettes were defective or unreasonably dangerous.

Discussion.

A plaintiff can maintain a productsliability suit if the product is defective or unreasonably dangerous.

Rulon-Miller v. IBM Corp.

Brief Fact Summary.

Rulon-Miller sued IBM Corp. (IBM) after being terminated for dating an employee of an IBM competitor.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A discharge of an employee is wrongful if the discharge violates the employer’s rules and regulations.

Facts.

Rulon-Miller worked for IBM, Corp. (IBM) and her boyfriend, Blum, worked for an IBM competitor. After receiving a raise, Rulon-Miller’s manager inquired about her relationship. Rulon-Miller asserted her right to privacy based on IBM’s employment policies, although an IBM memorandum stated that they were only concerned with an employee’s behavior outside of the job if it interfered with the employee’s ability to perform the job or affected the reputation of the company. Rulon-Miller sued IBM Corp. (IBM) after being terminated for dating an employee of an IBM competitor. The trial court granted judgment to Rulon-Miller.

Issue.

Whether a discharge of an employee is wrongful if the discharge violates the employer’s rules and regulations?

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. Rulon-Miller’s relationship did not pose a conflict of interest because Rulon-Miller did not have access to sensitive information as a low-level manager. IBM had no right to inquire about Rulon-Miller’s relationship with Blum.

Discussion.

A discharge of an employee is wrongful if the discharge violates the employer’s rules and regulations.

Sipple v. Chronicle Publishing Co.

Brief Fact Summary.

Sipple brought suit against Chronicle Publishing Co. (Chronicle) for publishing articles claiming that Sipple was gay.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A person cannot be held liable for publicizing a fact of someone’s private life if the issue is of public concern.

Facts.

Moore shot at President Ford in attempts to kill him. Sipple grabbed Moore’s arm, potentially saving his life. Sipple brought suit against Chronicle Publishing Co. (Chronicle) for publishing articles claiming that Sipple was gay. The trial court granted judgment to Chronicle.

Issue.

Whether a person can be held liable for publicizing a fact of someone’s private life if the issue is of public concern?

Held.

Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. The publications were protected by the First Amendment because Sipple was a public figure and his sexuality was of legitimate public interest. Sipple’s sexual orientation was not so offensive that it shocked public notions of decency.

Discussion.

A person cannot be held liable for publicizing a fact of someone’s private life if the issue is of public concern. Publishers are protected for liability for invasion of privacy as long as the publication does not offend public notions of decency.

Spears v. Blackwell

Brief Fact Summary.

Spears filed a negligence suit against Blackwell when Spears collided into an oncoming car in front of the Blackwell property.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A landowner does not owe a duty to citizens using the public road to protect them from harm from the natural conditions of the land.

Facts.

Spears was driving by the Blackwell property, and vegeatation by the property made it difficult for passersby to see clearly. Spears filed a negligence suit against Blackwell when Spears collided into an oncoming car in front of the Blackwell property. The trial court granted summary judgment to Blackwell.

Issue.

Whether a landowner owes a duty to citizens using the public road to protect them from harm from the natural conditions of the land?

Held.

No. The judgment of the trial court is reversed. The vegetation was not a natural condition because the Blackwells and their predecessor modified the land by planting shrubs and mowing the area. The Blackwells owed a duty to Spears.

Discussion.

A landowner does not owe a duty to citizens using the public road to protect them from harm from the natural conditions of the land. A condition of the land will not be considered a natural condition if it was changed by the act of the landowner or the landowner’s predecessor.