In June of 2009, Jitsy Jetson was driving down the Gould State Beach wearing her Sandpiper flip flops. While advancing through an intersection, her flip flop got stuck behind the accelerator, causing her to lose control and crash head-on into Patrick McDuff. McDuff, 53, suffered a spinal cord injury during the crash, making him a quadriplegic. McDuff, now disabled and unable to work, may sue Jitsy for negligence, as well as the flip flop manufacturer, Sandpiper Footwear, for strict product liability. His job at the USPS had an annual salary of $48,000, in addition to a 3% raise per year with his union contract plus a yearly Cost of Living Adjustment. (calculate lump sum?). McDuff had planned to retire at 65, and his life expectancy was 77 years of age.
McDuff has hired Ms. Nicole Hahn as his lawyer, and Jetson has hired Mr. Ed Loafer as her lawyer. Our consulting firm has been hired by Ms. Hahn, McDuff’s lawyer, to find the strengths and weaknesses of the possible lawsuits that could arise from this incident. Our team will analyze the facts of the case, and determine the best course of action for McDuff and Ms. Hahn to take in court.
Negligence (COULD YOU GUYS MAKE SURE IT SOUNDS PRETTY CUZ IT SOUNDS UGLIER TO ME THAN MY FIRST CASE BUT IDK WHAT TO DO AND COULD YOU ALSO LABEL THE EXHIBIT SECTIONS BASED ON THE ORDER OF THE EXHIBITS AND LASTLY DONT FORGE
Mr. McDuff has a case for negligence against Ms. Jetson because of the accident. If Mr. McDuff decides to take Ms. Jetson to court for negligence, he must know that this is a prima facie case. This means that Mr. McDuff would have to prove all of the elements of negligence to hold Ms. Jetson liable. The elements are: duty owed to the plaintiff, breach of duty, causation, and damages incurred. We shall evaluate each element to show whether Mr. McDuff has a substantial case against Ms. Jetson.
Before we can dive any further into the case, we must first establish that Ms. Jetson owed a duty to Mr. McDuff. There are three sub-elements to proving whether there was a duty owed and they are relationship between parties, foreseeable harm to the person injured, and public policy.
“A duty of reasonable care is not owed to the world at large, of course, but stems out of a relationship between parties.” (Seamus v. Lavender) Ms. Jetson will argue that because of the accident being caused by the flip-flop, she has no relationship with the plaintiff. She would also establish that as not knowing the plaintiff, there is no relationship. The fortunate fact is that relationship is automatically established with all other drivers and pedestrians in Ms. Jetson’s vicinity when she decides to drive on the road. Due to this fact, Mr. McDuff would just clearly need to state that since she is a driver, she assumes a responsibility of reasonable care for all other drivers and pedestrians.
After proving relationship, we must establish that Ms. Jetson could have foreseen the harm that would ultimately befall Mr. McDuff. According to the regression line in exhibit (A OR B PLEASE CHECK), there is a positive correlation between flip-flops and accidents vs. other shoes and accidents. This is further backed by the R squared. R squared shows how much of the variability is described by the regression line. Since R squared is high (0.76), the regression line is significant. This means that the regression line proves that flip-flops are more dangerous than other shoes. Ms. Jetson would argue that she did not know that flip-flops were dangerous to wear on the road while driving because there are no warning labels. Mr. McDuff could easily establish that it is common knowledge that flip-flops are not sturdy and are thus not feasible for using while operating a vehicle. Ms. Jetson, using common knowledge, could easily foresee the risk that she puts other people at when she decides to wear flip-flops while driving.
Lastly, public policy states that we must look at whether moral blame falls on the defendant’s conduct. Ms. Jetson would argue that she cannot be morally responsible because, again, she did not know that the flip-flops were dangerous to wear while driving. She is morally responsible because she still caused the accident when she wore flip-flops and drove while putting other drivers at risk and, as established earlier, this information was common knowledge.
BREACH OF DUTY
We, now, must show that Ms. Jetson has breached the duty she had to Mr. McDuff. This element is broken down into three categories: probability of accident, magnitude of injury, and burden of adequate precautions. Ms. Jetson would state that the probability of an accident occurring is specifically due to flip-flops is unknown. Although she is right, using the regression line in exhibit (A OR B), we know that there is a higher chance of accident occurring while wearing flip-flops as opposed to other footwear. We also know that the chance is increasing over time. This leads into the next point, magnitude of injury. Mr. McDuff, a human being with reasonably normal arms and legs is now a quadriplegic. This injury’s magnitude was severe as shown by the consequences inflicted on Mr. McDuff. The burden of adequate precautions is very low as Ms. Jetson would just have to wear different shoes while driving.
Mr. McDuff now must establish causation to show that Ms. Jetson was liable. There are two types of causation: actual and proximate. Proximate causation is shown through whether Ms. Jetson’s proximity to Mr. McDuff was a factor in the injury. There is no dispute that this was a factor as it was Ms. Jetson who hit Mr. McDuff. Actual causation is established through disputing whether it was Ms. Jetson’s car accident that caused the injury. There is no dispute that it was Ms. Jetson’s car accident with Mr. McDuff that caused the injuries.
We found Ms. Jetson to be liable for negligence under this prima facie case. Mr. McDuff will receive compensatory damages for the injuries sustained by the accident. There was no “egregious” action taken as Ms. Jetson had no malice intention of harming Mr. McDuff. The compensatory damages entitle Mr. McDuff to receive the amount of income that is lost by his inability to work. Based on our financial and economic analysis, Mr. McDuff will receive (INSERT # OF DAMAGES), as shown by Exhibit (C OR B). This number was calculated using his income projected over the next 12 years until his estimated. This money will be awarded to Mr. McDuff as a lump sum at present value after adjustment for economic factors shown by Exhibit (C OR B).
Strict Product Liability
As a consequence of Jetson losing control of her vehicle, McDuff is now quadriplegic and unable to work ever again. In this case, McDuff’s claim would be grounded in strict tort liability. We will assess section 402A and review the components that tie to strict tort liability. In short, strict liability implicates injuries from defective products. In assessing the components of section 402A, we begin by analyzing Sandpiper Footwear to figure out if the business company sold its product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to Jetson, to which caused physical harm to the user or their property. Subsequently, we must analyze if Sandpiper Footwear expected the product to reach Jetson without considerable changes in the state in which it was sold. Finally, we will assess whether Sandpiper exerted all possible care in preparing the sale of their product or not. To be able to apply Section 402A, we must evaluate the relevant facts of the case to ensure that they satisfy the requirements of this section.
We must confirm that McDuff’s injuries were caused by the unreasonably dangerous state of the product. Nevertheless, we must understand that strict liability does not merely apply to the the user of the product, but also to bystanders who were harmed as result of the defective product. In the magazine article, “The Flip Flop Craze”, it is stated that “automobile safety experts warn that driving in loose-fitting footwear is dangerous because the sole can easily get caught under the brake, clutch or accelerator pedal resulting in a fatal accident.” Therefore, those who wear flip-flops while driving are at a higher risk of suffering car accident. Although flip-flops have proven to be hazardous footwear while driving, the defendant, Sandpiper Footwear can claim that their product was not flawed or unreasonably dangerous to the user. Sandpiper can also claim that it is not their responsibility to warn the dangers of their product because flip-flops are known to be loose-fitting footwear, it should be common knowledge that other footwear would be more appropriate for driving. In sense, a reasonable person knows flip-flops are hazardous footwear to use while driving, therefore it is in the hands of the user to take precaution in choosing suitable footwear. The cause of the accident was not a result from a defective product but was in fact Jetson’s lack of precaution. Sandpiper is involved in the footwear industry; their expectation was for their product to be received without any considerable changes from the original state in which it was sold. There is still no sufficient proof yet, to be able to conclude that the flip-flops were sold faulty.
Lastly, we have to assess whether Sandpiper exerted all possible care in preparation to the sale of their product. The plaintiff, McDuff can claim that Sandpiper failed to provide their users with a hazard advisement, that their product could result them into physical harm while conducting a vehicle. The magazine article, “The Flip-Flop Craze” explains the significant popularity and versatility of wearing flip-flops. Taking into consideration the high popularity of flip-flops, McDuff can claim that Sandpiper’s product was defective for failing to alert the user of a risk in potential harm in using the product. The defect in the flip-flop made them substantially dangerous to the user as well as other vehicle conductors. We can hold that Sandpiper was knowledgeable that applying a hazard label on its product could avoid possible car accidents from occurring. There is no doubt that flip-flops are a dangerous product to use while conducting a vehicle. If Sandpiper had provided a hazard label, Jetson could have probably prevented the accident.
We can affirm that Jetson failed to offer herself and other bystanders the adequate precaution to prevent an accident from occurring. Due to the obvious reason that flip-flops are not meant to be worn when conducting a vehicle, it is a complicated matter to verify from this standpoint that the flip-flops were the main factor in causing the accident. Sandpiper can make a claim that it is common sense to a reasonable person to use footwear that is suited for driving, thus, making it unnecessary to provide a hazard label on its product. Therefore, liability is nonexistent for failing to advise the user with a hazard label. Jetson should have known that flip-flops are not safe footwear to utilize when operating a vehicle. All in all, scientific or technological testing is not necessary to learn the hazards related to wearing flip-flops, it is to a person’s common knowledge that a flip-flop can slip off of a foot while conducting a vehicle. We conclude that Jetson knew the apparent risks of wearing flip-flops, so therefore it is not required to apply a hazard advisement on the product because it does not make it unreasonably dangerous to the user by not having one. Since Jetson failed to offer herself and other bystanders the adequate precaution by choosing to drive with flip-flops, this matter upholds that Sandpiper should be not be held for strict liability for the sufferings of McDuff.
GLENN WAYANS, Plaintiff/Appellee v. Albert Landon, Defendant, and BLACK & DECKER CORPORATION, Defendant/Appellant Supreme Court of the State Gould 35 Gou.3d. 1492, 895 P. 2d 718 (1995)
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A, cmt. g (196