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Case Application of the Tort of Negligence Case Study

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Updated: May 13th, 2022

Susie is suing officer Ruthless and The State of Elsewhere on grounds of negligence with the goal of receiving damages equitable to the injuries she incurred and the time lost while undergoing treatment. However, for her claims to succeed it is vital for the definition of negligence to be outlined. Negligence as defined by law is the breach of a duty of care (Herrera v Quality Pontiac, 2003). The plaintiff further has the responsibility of proving how the defendant was negligent and how that negligence caused her to suffer injuries.

Susie marks’ injuries were as a direct result of Jerry’s driving. However prior to this incident Susie and Jerry were at the park past curfew where officer Ruthless ordered them to leave the park as it was past curfew. Under Susie’s argument in court, she mentions that the officer did not give her an option other than riding in the back of the track. She emphasizes on the fact that she tried pleading with officer Ruthless to let her walk home or simply wait for Orson to pick her up, and regarded that as a clear indication that she did not consent to riding at the back of the track. She believes, the act by officer Ruthless of ordering her to get into the back of the track or if not enforce curfew, made her to be but a victim and consequently had to comply hence blaming officer Ruthless orders as the proximate cause of her injuries.

The defendant (Officer Ruthless and The State) under their counter claims gave a factual reasoning on how the actions of the officer were not negligent but a responsible act of law enforcement. It was the officer’s duty to enforce curfew upon closure of the park. He ordered Susie to ride with at the back of the Jerry’s truck because he considered it safer rather than letting her walk home alone or sit alone in the dark park alone awaiting Orson. He considered it a decision any reasonable man of sound mind would have made. On the other hand there was no law of the Elsewhere city that prohibited riding at the back of camper trucks. Officer Ruthless directed Susie into riding with Jerry and Kate on a genuine basis free of any malice aforethought. Susie lived about a mile away from the park and the fact that the accident occurred about an hour and a half after they left the park was highly insignificant.

As the judge presiding over this case, I would be inclined to ruling in favor of the defendant and dismiss the plaintiffs’ case. This is because the officer adhered to the standards’ of duty of care owed to the plaintiff. The fact that he ordered the plaintiff to the back of the track was in no way a breach of that duty since the plaintiff only lived a mile away the probability of her having an accident was highly inconsequential. The chain of causation was also broken (McCollum v. CBS, Inc.,1988). The officer’s responsibility over the ordering of Susie to the back of the track ended the moment Jerry made the second stop. Jerry made the second stop a place near Susie’s home and Susie had the option going home but chose to continue riding at the back of the track and the accident ensued. This fact is proved by the one and a half hour time difference of the occurrence of the accident and the moment they left the park. The actual cause of the accident was but a proximate entity of causation on Jerry’s part.

Reference

Herrera v Quality Pontiac 134 N.M. 43 (2003) McCollum v. CBS, Inc., 249 Cal. Rptr. 187, 198 (Cal. Dist. Ct. App. 1988)

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