The Problem of Multiple Defendants | Samantha Bates | April 25, 2017

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The Problem of Multiple Defendants

Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain Current Version: Samantha Bates Show/Hide
  1. 1 Show/Hide More Ybarra v. Spangard--"The Unconscious, but Injured Patient"
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain Current Version: Samantha Bates
    Are there situations where courts should apply res ipsa loquitur despite a plaintiff’s failure to satisfy the technical requirements of the doctrine?
    Notes:
    Plaintiff was placed under anesthesia for appendectomy. After waking the following morning, plaintiff felt a sharp pain near his right shoulder—an area unrelated to his surgery. Despite treatments for the pain, plaintiff developed paralysis and muscle atrophy. Expert testimony corroborated the plaintiff’s claim that the paralysis was due to trauma suffered during the surgery. Due to a lack of evidence, plaintiff’s suit applied res ipsa loquitur against a number of parties.
  2. 2 Show/Hide More Fireman's Fund American Insurance Cos. v. Knobbe--"The One-of-Four Smokers Case"
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain Current Version: Samantha Bates
    Should res ipsa loquitur be applied to a group of defendants when plaintiff has submitted no direct evidence that they had control over the dangerous instrumentality or were involved in the harm?
    Notes:
    Defendants were four guests who were smoking in a hotel room. After they had departed, a fire broke out in their room. The cause of the fire was determined to be a cigarette. However, plaintiff insurance company provided no evidence indicating which of the four guests had control of the cigarette which started the fire.
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April 25, 2017

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Samantha Bates

Research Associate

Harvard Law School, Berkman Center

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