Defamation. Richard is an employee of the Dun Construction Corp. While delivering materials to a con- struction site, he carelessly backs Dun’s truck into a pas- senger vehicle driven by Green. This is Richard’s second accident in six months. When the company owner, Dun, learns of this latest accident, a heated discussion ensues, and Dun res Richard. Dun is so angry that he immedi- ately writes a letter to the union of which Richard is a member and to all other construction companies in the community, stating that Richard is the “worst driver in the city” and that “anyone who hires him is asking for legal liability.” Richard les a suit against Dun, alleging libel on the basis of the statements made in the letters. Discuss the results. (see page 122.)
6–3. liability to Business invitees. Kim went to Ling’s Market to pick up a few items for dinner. It was a stormy day, and the wind had blown water through the market’s door each time it opened. As Kim entered through the door, she slipped and fell in the rainwater that had accumulated on the oor. The manager knew of the weather conditions but had not posted any sign to warn customers of the water hazard. Kim injured her back as a result of the fall and sued Ling’s for damages. Can Ling’s be held liable for negligence? Discuss. (see page 131.)
6–4. spotlight on intentional torts—Defamation. Sharon Yeagle was an assistant to the vice president of student affairs at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). As part of her duties, Yeagle helped students participate in the
Governor’s Fellows Program. The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech’s student newspaper, published an article about the university’s success in placing students in the program. The article’s text surrounded a block quotation attributed to Yeagle with the phrase “Director of Butt Licking” under her name. Yeagle sued the Collegiate Times for defamation. She argued that the phrase implied the commission of sodomy and was therefore actionable. What is Collegiate Times’s defense to this claim? [Yeagle v. Collegiate Times, 497 S.E.2d 136 (Va. 1998)] (see page 123.)
6–6. Business torts. Medtronic, Inc., is a medical technol- ogy company that competes for customers with St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. James Hughes worked for Medtronic as a sales manager. His contract prohibited him from work- ing for a competitor for one year after leaving Medtronic. Hughes sought a position as a sales director for St. Jude. St. Jude told Hughes that his contract with Medtronic was unenforceable and offered him a job. Hughes accepted. Medtronic led a suit, alleging wrongful interference. Which type of interference was most likely the basis for this suit? Did it occur here? Explain. [Medtronic, Inc. v. Hughes, __ N.W.2d __ (Minn.App. 2011)] (see page 127.
7–1. Strict Liability. Danny and Marion Klein were injured when part of a reworks display went astray and exploded near them. They sued Pyrodyne Corp., the pyrotechnic company that was hired to set up and discharge the re- works. The Kleins alleged, among other things, that the company should be strictly liable for damages caused by the reworks display. Will the court agree with the Kleins? What factors will the court consider in making its deci- sion? Discuss fully. (See page 141.)
7–2. product Liability. Jason Clark, an experienced hunter, bought a paintball gun. Clark practiced with the gun and knew how to screw in the carbon dioxide cartridge, pump the gun, and use its safety and trigger. Although Clark was aware that he could purchase protective eyewear, he chose not to buy it. Clark had taken gun safety courses and understood that it was “common sense” not to shoot any- one in the face. Clark’s friend, Chris Wright, also owned a paintball gun and was similarly familiar with the gun’s use and its risks.
Clark, Wright, and their friends played a game that involved shooting paintballs at cars whose occupants also had the guns. One night, while Clark and Wright were cruising with their guns, Wright shot at Clark’s car, but hit Clark in the eye. Clark led a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of Wright’s paintball gun to re- cover for the injury. Clark claimed that the gun was de-fectively designed. During the trial, Wright testi ed that his gun “never malfunctioned.” In whose favor should the court rule? Why? (See page 142.)
7–3. Defenses to product Liability. Baxter manufactures elec- tric hair dryers. Julie purchases a Baxter dryer from her local Ace Drugstore. Cox, a friend and guest in Julie’s home, has taken a shower and wants to dry her hair. Julie tells Cox to use the new Baxter hair dryer that she has just purchased. As Cox plugs in the dryer, sparks y out from the motor, and sparks continue to y as she oper- ates it. Despite this, Cox begins drying her hair. Suddenly, the entire dryer ignites into ames, severely burning Cox’s scalp. Cox sues Baxter on the basis of negligence and strict liability in tort. Baxter admits that the dryer was defective but denies liability, particularly because Cox was not the person who purchased the dryer. In other words, Cox had no contractual relationship with Baxter. Discuss the valid- ity of Baxter’s defense. Are there any other defenses that Baxter might assert to avoid liability? Discuss fully. (See page 151.)