Friday, February 20, 2009

Yes, the answer is 43

A lawyer friend of mine told me law school sucked because it really comes down to opinion and how well you argue it. There are no absolutes, there are no ultimate truths. You're not right or wrong. You're just persuasive. So, in this hypo, is there a right answer in terms of an exact number of liabilities to be identified?

(from here) ... Finding Nemo tort hypothetical:

Marlin, a clown fish, discovers a pair of snorkeler goggles. Marlin's friend Dory, greatly desirous of the goggles, grabs the goggles from him; Marlin grabs back. In the course of the struggle, Marlin accidentally lets go of the goggles. They hit Dory in the face, causing a nosebleed. Assume that Dory has no title to the goggles.

Blood from Dory's nose wafts up to Bruce, a shark and recovering blood addict. Marlin and Dory are well aware of Bruce's addiction. They are further aware that blood causes sharks to go crazy. The blood induces an insane rage in Bruce, who then chases after Marlin and Dory, destroying property from a derelict ship (owned by Ships, Inc.) along the way. Bruce's chase also causes enormous emotional distress to Marlin. Dory, a more relaxed fish, simply takes Bruce's insane rage in stride.

Marlin and Dory flee into a torpedo shaft. Neither of them are aware that the metal cylinder behind them is a torpedo; nor are they aware that the "balloons" outside the derelict ship are mines. They are in no danger within the torpedo shaft, but Bruce continues to rage outside. Rather than waiting for Bruce's blood lust to wane, Dory triggers a switch that causes the torpedo to slide out, jamming itself in Bruce's mouth and causing at least one broken tooth. (Bruce, however, regularly regrows broken teeth.)

In an attempt to rid himself of the torpedo, Bruce swings his head back and forth. Unfortunately, his final swing hurls the torpedo out over the minefield. Unlike Marlin and Dory, Bruce is aware of the mines outside the derelict ship. The torpedo hits one of the mines, and they all explode. The derelict ship, which already lies on the bottom of the sea floor, is knocked into a nearby trench, causing more destruction. The mines are all obliterated. On the surface of the ocean, a pelican is disturbed by the gaseous discharge from the explosion.

Who may be liable to whom, for what, and why? Please note: Dory is perhaps mentally incapacitated due to her lack of short-term memory, and Bruce has a history of childhood neglect. If your legal conclusion depends on additional facts not provided here, identify those facts and discuss how they would affect your analysis.


Patois said...

Does it matter that there are no lawyers left because they've all been drowned in the ocean? (Said in jest by a sister of a lawyer.)

gudnuff said...

Oh Patois, what dreams may come! In the meantime...can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em seems to be my thinking lately...

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Hmmm. I'd have to know under which subject this exam hypo was posed to say very much. But it sounds like the old Palsgraff Pandora's box, at least at first blush.

For law school exams there truly are some tried and true tricks. Email me when you've got some coming up and I'll happily share.

Sounds like right now you are studying for LSAT, yes? The "who sits next to who when everyone hates each other and red heads may not sit opposite white males" logic questions on the LSAT almost kept me flipping burgers. Good luck. Keep the faith!

Hyphen Mama said...

I just want to know if Mr Ray is being held responsible for the part where Nemo was allowed to swim out to the open sea. I demand that Mr Ray's teaching credentials are revoked immediately, because if he'd been watching Nemo closely, none of the rest would have happened.

gudnuff said...

Hahahaha! Hyphen-Mama, is that how it happened? It's been so long since I've watched Finding Nemo. Very good question, if so. In Loco Parentis, right?