Help with problem question on law of tort! :(

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Report Thread starter 8 years ago

hope you guys are all well

Really need some help with a problem question in tort. I will add in the question to make things easier

Problem question is:

"Homer worked at Springfield nuclear power plant. Due to the negligence of their employer, Monty, many of the employees were exposed to a radiation leak.

As soon as this was discovered, Monty arranged for a medical team of international experts to be flown in to assess the impact of radiation on the work force. The Latvian doctor who examined Homer did not appreciate the significance of the headaches Homer mentioned because of the inadequate translation given by an interpreter. Although Homer thought the interpreter might have made a mistake, he said nothing because he did not want to make a fuss.

Three months later, Homer was found to be suffering a degenerative brain disorder, one of the possible causes of which was nuclear radiation. His chances of recovery at that stage were said to be 25%, whereas proper diagnosis at the first examination would have given him a 50% chance. Homer was so upset by the news that he drank two bottles of vodka and set off in his car to Monty’s house in order to attack him. On the way, he crashed into a lamp post and was killed.

Consider the legal principles influencing the likelihood of any successful action in negligence."

I am a bit confused as this would under negligence am i right? however it could also fit under occupiers liability could it not? or would that not happen due to visitors not being classed as employees? Tort is the subject I struggle on really badly as in my other modules I am on track for a 2.1

Any help on this and any other suggestions would help greatly and I would really appreciate all your help as it would help me pass this module!
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Report 8 years ago
I'm not a law student yet and probably haven't understood the question properly so don't trust me one hundred percent on this.

But it seems to me the question is only asking about negligence, and negligence is the main problem here. The responsibility ultimately lies with monty, he exposed his employees to the leak and then resolved it by flying in an unsuitable team of medical experts- unsuitable due to the translators lack of ability to translate properly.

I think the fact that Homer died is irrelevant due to the fact that it wasn't the negligence that killed him, it was the drink driving. So was the brain disorder caused by Monty's negligence? Doctors are saying possibly and that is enough.

Monty has the responsibility to provide a standard of care to his employees, did he provide this in the case of the radiation leak? Well the standard of care rule says that if consequences of harm are greater than normal then there is a higher standard of care required. Nuclear radiation would require the highest standard of care because a leak could have catastrophic consequences. Monty failed in this resulting in a breach of duty.
We now have to prove that the damage was caused by the breach of duty.

The breach of duty did not cause Homer's death so there is no negligence here, but it could have caused his brain disorder. The thin skull rule states that the defendant 'Monty' is liable if the type of damage 'radiation leak resulting in brain disorder' was foreseeable, even though it occurs in an unexpected way. So the radiation leak was foreseeable and the type of injury 'injury due to radiation' was foreseeable, and a standard of care should have been provided, but wasn't.
The only thing I can see standing in the way of the case is the remoteness of damage rule, this states that the damage must not be too remote from the negligence of the defendant. It would therefore have to be proved that the brain disorder was caused by the leak and wasn't present before the leak.
One last thing that would help the achieve a prosecution for negligence is the rule of Res ipsa loquitur. Sometimes the claimant may find it difficult to know exactly what happened regarding a breach in duty of care in this case homer might not be able to show how the duty of care was breached due to lack of knowledge in that field. Using this rule he simply has to prove that Monty was in control of the situation which caused the injury (his plant, his responsibility to maintain it and provide suitable duty of care). And that the injury was more likely than not to have been caused by the negligence (we have to remember the brain disorder is the only injury we know of, there are all sorts of other possible side affects of radiation exposure). If homer can show these two things then the burden of proof moves to the defendant 'Monty', who would then have to prove he wasn't guilty.

Anyways that is my view on the question not sure that really helped but I had fun writing it . Hope you figure out the question.

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