midterm_answer_2006 - Business Law I Fall 2006 Midterm Exam...

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Business Law I Fall, 2006 Midterm Exam Answer (25 points; 30 minutes) 1. The Home Depot is a huge home-improvement store that sells everything from lumber and plumbing supplies to potted plants and lamps for your living room. While most of the inventory is kept in the store itself, some items are stored in an area outside, either to make it easier to load a customer’s vehicle or because the products are messy or have a strong odor. Phil purchases several bags of sand to provide ballast in the back of his pickup truck so he can get traction in the snow and ice in Ithaca. He pays for his merchandise inside and goes out to the loading area to pick up his sandbags. After parking the truck, Phil gets out to move stuff in the truck bed so the Home Depot employee can put the sandbags over his rear tires. After the sandbags are loaded, Phil walks back to get in the cab and he is hit in the face by a baseball. It turns out that some kids whose family is having dinner at the restaurant next door got bored with the adult conversation and walked over to play baseball in the Home Depot parking lot. One boy pitched to his friend and the friend hit a line drive right at Phil, not realizing that there were any people in that part of the parking lot. Phil is severely injured and requires reconstructive surgery on his face as a result of the accident. Since the family of the children who caused the accident does not have much money, and only a small insurance policy to cover such accidents, Phil would like to name the Home Depot as an additional defendant in his lawsuit. Please advise him as to whether the store is likely to be held liable, explaining briefly the reason[s] for the conclusions that you reach. A customer is injured while shopping at Home Depot. The injury is caused by kids playing baseball while their parents finish dinner at a nearby restaurant. The issue is whether Home Depot is liable for negligence . This question is actually pretty easy so I would hope that you can be generous with the points. Even a short, sketchy answer that hits the basics should probably be in the 20-22 pt. range. In order to be liable, Home Depot must breach a duty of care owed to Phil and that breach must be the proximate cause of Phil = s injury. The facts state that Phil is injured because the child hit him with a baseball while on HD’s property, so the real issue is whether Home Depot is legally responsible for the child = s action. While good form suggests and answer lists the elements of the cause of action to begin, discussing them without listing them is okay. Does Home Depot owe Phil a duty of care ? Since Phil is a paying customer of the business, he is a business invitee and as in Love v. Hardee = s Food Systems, Inc . [Case 8-2, text at 148] where a customer slipped and fell in the restaurant restroom, Home Depot owes Phil a duty of reasonable care to protect him from dangers on the property. See also
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Restatement Section 343, discussed in the text at 141. It is enough that the answer note the “special relationship” created by the business-customer relationship.
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