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The assignment must be typed and no longer than 2 -3 pages. Points for each question are outlined below
The case involved a large commercial grass cutter commonly known as a Bush Hog. This one was being pulled behind a John Deere tractor by Bill, a local farmer, when it struck an abandoned manhole cover hidden in the weeds of a vacant lot. A four-inch piece of jagged steel was launched from the swirling blades of the Bush Hog. Once airborne, it traveled 54 feet before striking a 12-year-old boy, Aaron, in the left temple. Aaron was an excitable boy with Attention Deficit Disorder and had been told many times by his mother to stay away from the vacant lot because he could get hurt. Aaron, like many other boys, was also fascinated with tractors and other farm machinery. At the time of the accident Aaron was running along the edgeof the vacant lot as Bill was mowing and trying to get Billâ€™s attention (running parallel to Billand yelling and waiving his arms). Aaron was grievously injured. In the four years since the accident he has almost died several times and undergone eleven operations. His medical bills arewell over the cap of $500,000 on the familyâ€™s health insurance policy. Expenses for his future care (from this point forward) are estimated at $750,000. But, that doesnâ€™t cover or account forthe excruciating pain Aaron feels in his face every time he eats, coughs, sneezes, talks, or does anything with his mouth or jaw. The Bush Hog in question here was fifteen years old at the time of the accident. It was not equipped with side rail guards, debris chains, or any other safety feature used by most of the industry for at least thirty years. The side rails and debris chains were standard equipment on this Bush Hog, and were fairly easy to remove with removal of a few screws and bolts. The side rails and debris chains were removed from this particular Bush Hog by previous owner(s). Bill (who owned other Bush Hogs, other mowing machines, and other farm equipment) noticed this when he bought this Bush Hog, but never did anything to replace those parts. It is impossible at this time to prove the chain of ownership or who removed the safety features. With or without the safety features, the Bush Hog is not a pretty machine; it is designed to one thing – cut down thick grass and brush through the use of a series of sharp blades rotating at high speeds. It is an extremely dangerous, but efficient, machine.
Aaron (through his mom) is going to sue Bill, the owner of this particular Bush Hog, for negligence. (Note: This question is only asking you to assess the negligence issues (duty, breach, causation, damages) against Bill. You do not need to discuss any intentional torts, products liability, or â€œstrict liabilityâ€ issues, or claims against other possible defendants like Bush Hog, the Bush Hogâ€™s prior owners, or the owner of the vacant lot). You can think about all that other stuff if you want. But, the answers below should just be about Aaronâ€™s case againstBill.
1) You are a junior lawyer at the Plaintiffâ€™s (Aaronâ€™s) law firm. The senior partner is trying to analyze potential claims for negligence against Bill (can Aaron put on a case against Bill for negligence?). The senior partner asks you the following questions to help her decide whether to file the case. (Use what you learned from the lecture and the text book).
a) What are Billâ€™s duties to Aaron? (4 points; up to an additional 3 points extra credit) (1 point per duty)
c) How did Bill cause the Aaronâ€™s damages (injuries)? Make sure you discuss both actual and proximate cause. (6 points)
d) What kind of damages would you claim in the complaint? (4 points)
2) You are a junior lawyer at the law firm that represents Bill. The senior partner has heard that Aaronâ€™s complaint is coming. She asks you to the following question to help her plan a defense. (Use what you learned from the lecture and the text book).
a) If Aaron sues for negligence, what are Billâ€™s possible defenses to the lawsuit? (4 points; with up to 2 points extra credit)(2 points per defense)