Torts and Criminal Law

1. What is the difference between a negligence claim and a strict liability claim? Strict liability claims often arise in the context of product liability cases. What do you believe is the policy behind that? ( 150-200 words)2. Think about white collar crime and the impact it has on the profitability of business. Do we need to be tougher than we are on this form of crime? ( 150-200 words)3.McDonald’s Coffee and Other Controversies( 150-200 words) Mitigating Risks in the Business Environment This week we will be discussing torts and their implication to businesses in today’s legal system. A discussion of tort law in the United States will almost inevitably wind up at a discussion of one case: Liebeck v. McDonald’s. The Liebeck case is the famous “McDonald’s Coffee” lawsuit from the 1990’s (1994, specifically) that many people cite as a supporting point in discussions about “frivolous lawsuits” and the need for tort reform. Before reading any of the materials in this post, make a list of five things you know about this case. The jury in the Liebeck case saw fit to award the plaintiff $2.9 million. In the aftermath of the trial, the Liebeck case became a lightning rod in the media and a talking point for many politicians and pundits calling for reform of the tort system. However, it is difficult to learn all the facts of any case without sitting through the trial, and, like many cases, the facts of this case were somewhat lost in the media uproar following the verdict. Here are some more in depth analyses about the case. The first is a summary of some of the evidence that was presented to the jury in the trial: https://www.caoc.org/?pg=facts The next is a FAQ prepared by attorneys in the product liability industry that has some specifics on the history of the case, including pre-trial motions, experts, and the testimony presented at trial: http://abnormaluse.com/2011/01/stella-liebeck-mcdonalds-hot-coffee.html After reading these materials, make a list of five NEW things you know about this case. Did your opinion about this case change in any way? Why or why not? Regardless of your opinion of this case, the most important aspect of evaluating tort cases in the business setting (especially in litigation) is evaluating risk and mitigating loss. It is often difficult for litigants to grasp that, despite how they feel about the case, the result will ultimately be decided by a group of strangers who come from mixed backgrounds (that is, a jury). Because of this, it is important to evaluate not only the strengths of one’s own case, but the strengths of the opposing party’s case as well. The purpose of this is to avoid the risk of an unforeseen result at trial. Do you think that McDonald’s did a good job managing its risk in this case? Why or why not? What would you have done differently, if you were managing this case?

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