Should the common law excuse harmful contact made in self-defense? If so, how do we decide which harmful acts fall within the scope of self-defense?
Notes: Defendant was woken one night by parties who were trying to break into his jewelry store. After the group gained entry, defendant scared them away by shots into the air. Plaintiff—a policeman—approached the defendant, identified himself as an officer, and called out for the defendant to stop shooting. The defendant mistook the plaintiff as one of the trespassing parties and shot him.
In order to accommodate plaintiff’s need to protect his/her own life or property, should society privilege him/her with the right to interfere with another’s property?
Notes: Plaintiff, his wife, and children were out on a lake in plaintiff’s boat during sudden storm. In order to avoid the risk of harm to his family and property, the plaintiff moored his boat to the defendant’s private island in the middle of the lake. Defendant’s servant unmoored the boat, causing the boat to be destroyed and casting the plaintiff, his wife, and children into the water.
How should the court evaluate defenses that come from different sources of law?
Notes: Defendant—an attorney—represented the plaintiff in matters related to a divorce. During his representation of the plaintiff, defendant tricked the plaintiff into engaging in sexual intercourse by suggesting that he was sterile. Plaintiff became pregnant, and eventually underwent surgery to save her life when the pregnancy was discovered to have severe complications. As a result of the surgery, plaintiff’s Fallopian tube was removed and she was thereby rendered sterile.
Does the nature of a rough-and-tumble activity like professional football excuse potential tort liability arising from the game?
Notes: Parties were football players on opposing teams. Frustrated with his team’s poor performance, the defendant used his arm to strike plaintiff in the back of the head. No foul was called and both players immediately resumed play without complaint. Soon after, plaintiff discovered that he had a serious neck fracture injury.
Should defendants be privileged in protecting their own property at the expense of another’s property? If so, does the court “demand” anything from the plaintiff in exchange for the privilege?
Notes: Defendant’s vessel was trapped in a harbor due to a violent storm. Rather than risk his boat being destroyed, defendant repeatedly tied and retied his boat to the plaintiff’s dock, despite an awareness that his boat was smashing into and damaging the dock.
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