Saturday, January 07, 2006

Torts Final

Yes, I'm back. Yes, I had a good break. Now, to catch up just a bit.

The Torts final was a bit of a killer. It was structured as two essay questions and a slew of multiple choice questions. The essay portion was worth two-thirds of the final. The first was a fact pattern designed for issue-spotting, and was centered around negligence and its attendant subjects, such as assumption of the risk, joint and several liability, to say nothing of the core, which, as Professor Nockleby has ingrained in us, is "duty, breach, liability, and damages". The smarter students managed to stuff a couple of intentional torts in there; I tried adding assault (since it does not require actual contact between parties), but didn't expand on it much, nor did I even get to thinking about intentional infliction of emotional distress (although that would have been really weak, compared to emotional harm from negligence).

Also, I attacked the issue-spotting by taking a look at all of the possible two-party suits, despite the admonition that joint and several liability applied. That would have been the correct way to attack an essay question about intentional torts, perhaps, but was quite unwieldly here. I found myself running out of time just trying to manage to cut and paste. I should have, instead, done what Shirley and Krystle did, which was to break down the negligence analysis for each party, and then addressed joint and several liability.

The second question was pretty much patterned on Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. v. American Cyanamid Co., 916 F.2d 1174. However, here, Professor Nockleby asked us not to regurgitate the arguments as we learned them in that case, but to articulate our own arguments, for both a strict liability regime and one based on negligence.

Unfortunately, I spent so much time on the first essay that I barely had enough time to type down what I had written in outline for the second essay. That's actually one point in which this exam was good: By mandating us to outline before we start typing, Professor Nockleby essentially gave us a fighting chance by forcing us to focus on the core instead of the fringes.

Anyway, the important thing is, it's over. And now, tune in for second semester!

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