Several [Quick, I think] Questions about Torts

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los blancos
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Several [Quick, I think] Questions about Torts

Postby los blancos » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:05 am

One-line answers should do here; hopefully this helps others. I feel like I have the doctrine down for this course, just want to better understand the underlying themes.

1. I know this is a dumb question, but in Boyles v. Kerr, wtf does the court mean when it says that a claimant may recover mental anguish damages only in connection with defendant's breach of some other legal duty? They go on to hold that NEID is not a cause of action on its own but that you also don't need to show physical injury as a result of emotional distress to recover.

2. Camacho v. Honda, the court says that the fact that the dangers of a product are open and obvious does not constitute a defense to a claim alleging that the product is unreasonably dangerous since this would elevate assumption of risk to a matter of law. I kind of get it, but can someone explain to me why that result is so unacceptable? The dissent appeals more to me here.

3. JazzOne touched on this in another thread, but does anyone care to restate for me the difference between medical/scientific and legal causation? I'm thinking about a comment in Daly v. Bergstedt here.

Thanks :D

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Re: Several [Quick, I think] Questions about Torts

Postby Renzo » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:28 am

1. There are several approaches to who can cover for NIEMD in the various states, and if I recall correctly, Boyles v. Kerr introduced the "zone of danger" approach. So, if you witnessed the death of a loved one from so close that it nearly could have been you killed, you can recover. This is less permissive than the "impact rule" but less restrictive than the Hawaii approach.

2. The unacceptability is that the court feels that some things are just too dangerous to be sold, even if people theoretically understand that danger. From an economic point of view, you can say that if a machine is so inherently dangerous that it causes more social harm than benefit, it shouldn't be produced--so if you can't make something "reasonably" safe, you shouldn't make it at all.

The court feels that the current assignment of risk creates an incentive for manufacturers to constantly be making safer products, which is good for society. But, if they could escape liability for "open" dangers, they would have less incentive to develop safer (and thus more socially desirable) products, and instead just make sure that the dangers were well-known.

(I'm not familiar with the case in #3)

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