individual liability of defendants Discussion Question, law homework help

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  • Part A: What is the individual liability of defendants under the theory of joint and several liability? Under this theory, how might a plaintiff choose to collect damages where there are two defendants, one who is relatively poor and one who is relatively wealthy? 
  • Part B: What is the individual liability of defendants under the theory of several liability? What type of rules do some states use to enable the plaintiff to collect an insolvent defendant’s “orphan share?” 
  • Part A: Determine whether or not an employer will be held vicariously liable for an employee’ s tortious acts if the act was determined to be “incidental” to employer’s employment? What if the tortious act was determined to be “during the scope of employment”?

    Please read for a reference Trahan-Laroche v. Lockheed Sanders, Inc. at 657 A. 2d 417 (NH. 1995) 

  • Part B: Consider these circumstances, “special errands,” and “complete abandonment of special errands,” and determine in which circumstances the employer may be potentially vicariously liable. Provide a rationale for your response. Please read for a reference, O’Connor v. McDonald’s Restaurants of California at 269 Cal. Reptr. 101 (Cal. Ct. App. 1990)

State references…

  • Part A: Discuss why the Indiana court In Vergara vs. Doan, at 593 N.E. 2d 185 (Ind. 1992) decided to replace the modified locality rule in favor of adopting the national standard rule re: the standard of care at applicable to doctors in determining liability in medical malpractice cases.
  • Part B: Give your opinion on what standard of care is appropriate for doctors who provide patient advice over the internet and telephone to patients in any, or all, of the 50 states?
  • Part A: Describe the “trial within a trial” method of determining damages caused by a lawyer’s malpractice. See Fishman v. Brooks at 487 N.E.2d 1377 (Mass. 1986) 

    In this case, Fishman charged attorney Brooks with legal malpractice for urging that Fishman settle, when in fact the attorney was not prepared for trial, and for mistakenly representing that driver’s insurance policy limits were $250,000. Brooks urged Fishman to settle for $160,000 when the policy limits were, in fact, $1,000,000.00.

    Assuming the hypothetical facts that you knew that this single successful malpractice action had happened 20 years ago, while this attorney was going through a personal divorce, would you trust him to handle a traffic accident in which you were involved?

  • Part B: The court in Carbone v. Tierney at 864 A. 2d 308 (N.H. 2004), discusses the requirements for a plaintiff to collect on a malpractice claim against an attorney.

    That is, this court decided that to successfully prove that the lawyer’s malfeasance was the proximate cause of plaintiff’s loss, he would have to demonstrate two (2) things. First, that if the defendant would have performed adequately, and then the plaintiff would have succeeded on the merits in the underlying case. And second, that the plaintiff would have succeeded in collecting on the resultant judgment.

    This means that if the attorney can prove that the judgment, if won, would not have been collectible, then this uncollectability is a complete defense to the malpractice action and the plaintiff receives nothing.

    Give your opinion on whether or not you believe collectability should be a complete defense to legal malpractice actions. Provide a rationale for your response.

State references…

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