Discussion 1: Interpreting and Applying Statutes”, law homework help

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Discussion 1: Interpreting and Applying Statutes”

  • Some states have statutes which say that breach of the statute is negligence
    per se. This means that proof of a statutory violation is conclusive on the
    issue of an actor’s duty and breach.

    But even in some of these
    jurisdictions, the jury will listen to an “excuse,” such as a landlord’s lack of
    notice of a defect as in the Sikora v. Wenzel case at 727 N.E. 2d 1277 (Ohio
    2000) and at p. 148 of your textbook. Here, the second owner of condominium
    building had no notice that the building’s Certificate of Occupancy was issued
    without re-inspection, after plans were modified by first owner, to add decks. A
    deck collapsed and Sikora, a guest, was injured. An engineer concluded that the
    deck collapsed from improper construction and design, in violation of Ohio Basic
    Building Code.

  • Part
    A:
    Discuss whether or not a state’s statutory scheme should ever
    allow for excuses, such as a lack of notice, to be accepted to avoid a finding
    of negligence for building code violations, which result in injury.
  • Part
    B:
    Discuss whether or not states should draft public safety
    statutes on such topics as electrical fire safety, or use of smoke alarms, or
    sterilization of needles, or DUI, as strict liability statutes. Strict liability
    means that negligence is attributed regardless of fault and regardless of
    excuses.

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  •  

    “Discussion 2: Compliance with Custom”

    • In the classic T.J. Hooper case at 60 F.2d 737 (2d Cir. 1932) and at p. 155
      in your textbook, the court discusses the relevance of “industry custom” in
      determining negligence. Here, the court held the tugboat TJ Hooper
      liable for sunken barges, because they did not seek shelter in a storm and were
      not equipped with radio receivers to receive the weather reports. At that time,
      there was no industry-wide custom among coastal carriers to equip their tugs
      with radio receivers. The court discounted this custom and said: “Courts must in
      the end say what is required; there are precautions so imperative (important)
      that even their universal disregard will not excuse their omission.” The statute
      at the time called only for a transmitting radio to call for help, but not a
      radio receiver to get news.

      Discuss whether or not you believe that the
      court was right in ruling the tugboat “unseaworthy” and thus negligent, for not
      having radio receivers when it was neither a statute, nor a custom in the
      industry to have radio receivers.

      Can this case be used as precedent for
      the court to rule a corporation as negligent for not providing or possessing the
      latest technology, such as car back up cameras and security systems to prevent
      data breaches?

      Do you agree that “The court must in the end say what is
      required” or should these types of rules be made by the legislature?