Help with Torts

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
jjlaw
Posts: 299
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:43 pm

Help with Torts

Postby jjlaw » Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:10 am

Does anyone have tips for applying concepts to new fact patterns? I'm having trouble thinking on my feet when my prof brings in new fact patterns in class. I know and understand all the concepts, but I just can't seem to apply them.

For example, we had a fact pattern involving monkeys spitting on visitors at the zoo. The prof asked us the zoo could have done to prevented this that was low burden. I understand the BPL concept, but I couldn't think of examples to give of what was considered "low burden." Other people brought up "warning signs" or "moving the audience back from the exhibit." These answers were right, but I'm concerned that I couldn't come up with them on the spot. Does anyone have any tips on this? Thanks.

User avatar
ph14
Posts: 3225
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Help with Torts

Postby ph14 » Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:36 am

jjlaw wrote:Does anyone have tips for applying concepts to new fact patterns? I'm having trouble thinking on my feet when my prof brings in new fact patterns in class. I know and understand all the concepts, but I just can't seem to apply them.

For example, we had a fact pattern involving monkeys spitting on visitors at the zoo. The prof asked us the zoo could have done to prevented this that was low burden. I understand the BPL concept, but I couldn't think of examples to give of what was considered "low burden." Other people brought up "warning signs" or "moving the audience back from the exhibit." These answers were right, but I'm concerned that I couldn't come up with them on the spot. Does anyone have any tips on this? Thanks.


In dealing with a B<PL situation, always look for any easy things one could due to prevent the accident and they will often reappear many times. Signs will make an appearance in a ton of hypos. Other things like fences will appear a lot as well. Then think about more situation specific things, like in the monkey spitting hypo perhaps replacing the fence with a glass enclosure. Then think if the burden of replacing with a glass case would outweigh the [probability * loss]. If for example the monkeys can transmit a disease to humans via the spit, then you're most likely looking at a B<PL situation. But if it's just harmless spit and a glass enclosure would be very expensive, it may really be a B>PL situation and a sign, or prohibiting people from standing close to the exhibit would be more appropriate.

User avatar
I.P. Daly
Posts: 920
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:27 pm

Re: Help with Torts

Postby I.P. Daly » Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:11 am

I'm missing out. None of my professors would engage the class in a discussion about spitting monkeys.

jjlaw
Posts: 299
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:43 pm

Re: Help with Torts

Postby jjlaw » Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:19 am

ph14 wrote:In dealing with a B<PL situation, always look for any easy things one could due to prevent the accident and they will often reappear many times. Signs will make an appearance in a ton of hypos. Other things like fences will appear a lot as well.


Thanks - that was really helpful. What other kinds of things reappear in hypos? I guess I'm just not as familiar with the typical "low burden" examples. Can you suggest anything about custom, especially in medical malpractice suits? In medical malpractice, I feel that I'm not familiar with hospital settings enough to come up with any good counterarguments. For example, our prof has talked a lot about signing consent forms before surgery, and that never popped into my head because I've never had surgery before. I'm just afraid of overlooking something specific in a hypo simply because I'm not familiar with a specific situation. I haven't been to a zoo since I was 7...

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Help with Torts

Postby Renzo » Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:45 am

jjlaw wrote:
ph14 wrote:In dealing with a B<PL situation, always look for any easy things one could due to prevent the accident and they will often reappear many times. Signs will make an appearance in a ton of hypos. Other things like fences will appear a lot as well.


Thanks - that was really helpful. What other kinds of things reappear in hypos? I guess I'm just not as familiar with the typical "low burden" examples. Can you suggest anything about custom, especially in medical malpractice suits? In medical malpractice, I feel that I'm not familiar with hospital settings enough to come up with any good counterarguments. For example, our prof has talked a lot about signing consent forms before surgery, and that never popped into my head because I've never had surgery before. I'm just afraid of overlooking something specific in a hypo simply because I'm not familiar with a specific situation. I haven't been to a zoo since I was 7...


You're thinking too hard. If I ask you a question about an antimatter explosion that kills an intergalactic tourist, you should be able to come up with the same sorts of answers, despite the fact that you've never been an intergalactic tourist.

The professor isn't testing you on your knowledge of best practices in zooloogy and animal husbandry; and if you suggest something that for some fluke reason wouldn't work, but you didn't know enough about monkeys or surgery to know it, you won't be missing points. It's more like a logic problem--don't try to remember things you've seen in zoos, but think, "what's the easiest way to not get monkey spit on people. I know, maybe if they didn't stand so close! So, what could I do to get them to move back? I know, a velvet rope!"

jjlaw
Posts: 299
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:43 pm

Re: Help with Torts

Postby jjlaw » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:59 am

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'm starting to get the hang of issue spotting. I've been practicing with the E&E and Torts Q&A (published by Lexis), but was wondering if anyone knew of other good hypo publications? These seem a little too easy, and the explanations don't seem as nuanced as I'd like them to be.

JD2014
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:45 pm

Re: Help with Torts

Postby JD2014 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:35 am

but was wondering if anyone knew of other good hypo publications?


Tag. The E&Es and Crunchtime books have some questions, but none seem to be of the length or intensity of actual exam questions.

shock259
Posts: 1737
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:30 am

Re: Help with Torts

Postby shock259 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:38 am

Tagging too. I'm going to start using practice tests that I have found randomly online. Most school test banks (with answers) are password protected, so it's not easy. However, there are a couple that are still available. I can't really remember where I found a bunch of them, but I think some WashU professors had a bunch with answers.

JD2014
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:45 pm

Re: Help with Torts

Postby JD2014 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:45 pm

Tagging too. I'm going to start using practice tests that I have found randomly online. Most school test banks (with answers) are password protected, so it's not easy. However, there are a couple that are still available. I can't really remember where I found a bunch of them, but I think some WashU professors had a bunch with answers.


I wish you did remember. Old exams are everywhere, but it's actually really hard to find model answers.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”