Professor Coven’s Intentional Torts Hypothetical (1 Hour)
The following hypothetical was excerpted from Professor Coven’s original.
Horace, or Peabrain as he was known to his friends, was admittedly a somewhat
It was well known in the small town in which he lived that Peabrain
developed quite a strong fear of what he called “orange devils.”
Ever since he returned
from Tennessee, he became quite agitated around people wearing orange shirts.
On an otherwise boring afternoon, Larry and his buddy Larry put on bright orange
shirts and went looking for Peabrain.
When they found him, Peabrain was riding his new
Rockbanger 6000 mountain bike over the Charles River Bridge.
The Larrys waived large
sticks over their heads and yelled “when the moon is full, we turn you orange!”
lept off his bike and ran away in hysterical fear, bumping into lampposts as he went.
As he was running down the street, Peabrain say Daryl, who was wearing an
orange shirt, walk into Paul’s Camera Shop.
Intending to trap what he assumed was one
of the orange devils who had just threatened him, Peabrain ran to the shop, slammed the
door with great force, and quickly barricaded the door with several large recycling drums.
Unfortunately, at that very moment, Martha, who had been in the store, started to leave.
The slamming door hit Martha in the face, immediately knocking her unconscious and
abruptly terminating her modeling career.
Paul, thinking the store was under attack by international terrorists, drew his duly
licensed .44 magnum (the most powerful handgun in the world) and fired several rounds
through the door, through parts of Peabrain (who survived) and through several members
of a passing band of rock musicians.
John, who was standing inside the store next to the
door, was struck by several splinters and developed a permanent fear of loud noises as a
result of the experience.
Identify all of the claims and defenses that might reasonably be asserted by all
of the participants in this regrettable drama and explain which claims are likely to
prevail and why.