Torts Question

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r973
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:08 pm

Torts Question

Postby r973 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:55 pm

Would like others opinion if there are any torts to assert in this scenario:

A photo shoot is taking place on a sidewalk in NYC. Assume a permit is needed and they have obtained one to take the shoot at the designated location. A worker on the crew directs pedestrians onto the street nearby in order to not get in their shoot. One pedestrian that was directed to avoid the photo shoot and walk into the street is hit by a car from behind. Can the pedestrian sue the photo shoot worker for any torts? Negligence? Shouldn't the worker have set up some cones to something to allow for pedestrians to safely walk into the street and around the photo shoot?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks

helfer snooterbagon
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:04 pm

Re: Torts Question

Postby helfer snooterbagon » Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:18 pm

Rather than sue the worker, the injured pedestrian should sue the photo shoot company and hope that the photo shoot company has insurance.

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Arrow
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Re: Torts Question

Postby Arrow » Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:23 pm

r973 wrote:Would like others opinion if there are any torts to assert in this scenario:

A photo shoot is taking place on a sidewalk in NYC. Assume a permit is needed and they have obtained one to take the shoot at the designated location. A worker on the crew directs pedestrians onto the street nearby in order to not get in their shoot. One pedestrian that was directed to avoid the photo shoot and walk into the street is hit by a car from behind. Can the pedestrian sue the photo shoot worker for any torts? Negligence? Shouldn't the worker have set up some cones to something to allow for pedestrians to safely walk into the street and around the photo shoot?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks


Real life scenario? Anyways, here's my nerdy epic tort thoughts.

First of all, who is the "photo shoot worker"? Does that refer to the camera man? The worker directing traffic? Any employees? If you are going to sue anyone for negligence, I would start with the photo shoot company (in addition to the driver of the car or the city, which may be much stronger cases). There is no indication of any negligence by any individual employee. The worker directing traffic directed the pedestrian already. The only potential liability for him depends on speculation. For example, if the worker directing traffic was able to see the incoming car, then he may have a duty to warn.

For negligence, the photo shoot company seems to have complied with its duty and not breached it. It hired an extra worker, who acted accordingly. It got the permit, so the city seems to agree that it was "reasonable." Cones may have definitely helped the cars and for telling the pedestrians were to go. My guess is that cones should have been put up, but depending how the "scene" looked, it may not have been needed (for example, if there's a bike lane or something, then pedestrian could have walked there).

Causation is a bigger problem, as there is actual but for cause (pedestrian would have stayed on sidewalk but for the photoshoot) but proximate cause is more iffy. It is unreasonable to foresee that a car would hit the pedestrian though, as such accidents are rare. Then again, it is NYC, where there are a lot of cars and epic traffic with crazy/aggressive driving, so it could be foreseeable. As always, proximate cause is room for discussion.

Damages. Yes. Ouch.

Strict Liability likely does not apply. It may be dangerous to block a sidewalk, but these are not dangerous animals or explosives. Any danger can likely be avoided and there was a guy directing traffic. The fact that you need a license may suggest it is dangerous, but a photoshoot on the sidewalk by itself just doesn't cause any "inherent" danger.

Contributory negligence is also a problem, since that pedestrian probably could have and should have looked both ways, considering it is New York City. While they knew they were being directed on the street, there could have been space between the sidewalk and the road (like maybe a "parking zone" for the sidewalk). However, defendant is also likely facing forward, so a car hitting him likely came from behind, making the car far more liable (especially if he was stopping to check out the hot photoshoot).

Also, the pedestrian was directed into the street to avoid the photo shoot. This likely means he takes one step on the road and walk right by the curb (like on a bike lane) to avoid the photo shoot, not walk into the middle of the street. If this is the case, and pedestrian walked farther than he needed to, then there is contributory negligence.
Last edited by Arrow on Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

Miniver
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:13 pm

Re: Torts Question

Postby Miniver » Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:35 pm

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Last edited by Miniver on Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

r973
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:08 pm

Re: Torts Question

Postby r973 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:28 am

true, it would be better to sue the car driver or the photo shoot company, but i just wanted to focus on the individual worker. anyway, to go after the company on respondeat superior, it would still come back to analyzing the actions of the individual worker to determine if a tort was committed, no? The employer would be responsible for the torts committed by the employee within the scope of employment. therefore, we must find a tort for the individual employee.

cars hitting pedestrians in NYC is NOT rare, so I think proximate cause is satisfied and it was foreseeable.

no bike lane...the pedestrians are directed to walk in the only space, which is a car lane on a one-way street.

SSSxS[photo shoot]SS[worker]xSSS = sidewalk
CCxCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCxCC = curb
PPPxPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPxPPP = parked vehicles
TTTxxxxxxxxxx<----xxxxxxTT = traffic lane (cars traveling in one way direction <--- )
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPxPP
CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCxCC
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSxSS

pedestrians walk along the X and can either walk across the street or walk down the block and continue on their original path

helfer snooterbagon
Posts: 203
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:04 pm

Re: Torts Question

Postby helfer snooterbagon » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:39 am

r973 wrote:true, it would be better to sue the car driver or the photo shoot company, but i just wanted to focus on the individual worker. anyway, to go after the company on respondeat superior, it would still come back to analyzing the actions of the individual worker to determine if a tort was committed, no? The employer would be responsible for the torts committed by the employee within the scope of employment. therefore, we must find a tort for the individual employee.


No, you can go after the company directly without going after the employee. The film shoot company has a duty to conduct its operations in a reasonably safe manner. If you can show that the actions of the film shoot company amounted to negligence than you can go after the film company directly without the need to go after an individual worker.

transplantedbuckeye
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Re: Torts Question

Postby transplantedbuckeye » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:26 pm

helfer snooterbagon wrote:
r973 wrote:true, it would be better to sue the car driver or the photo shoot company, but i just wanted to focus on the individual worker. anyway, to go after the company on respondeat superior, it would still come back to analyzing the actions of the individual worker to determine if a tort was committed, no? The employer would be responsible for the torts committed by the employee within the scope of employment. therefore, we must find a tort for the individual employee.


No, you can go after the company directly without going after the employee. The film shoot company has a duty to conduct its operations in a reasonably safe manner. If you can show that the actions of the film shoot company amounted to negligence than you can go after the film company directly without the need to go after an individual worker.


Yep....what is the industry practice with photo shoots on the sidewalks of NY? Did the company train the employee? Did the company look at the employee's qualifications? Were rules/regulations/ordinances and the like followed in obtaining the permits and in setting up the photo shoot? Should the company have used a police officer to help with traffic and direct pedestrians? What time of day was it? Etc....




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