TORTS: Clown town USA-reliability of an amusement park for roller coaster injuries.
a. Under what doctrine could the children’s parents sue Linda for damages? What would Linda's lawyer assert as a defense? Who would be likely to prevail?
The children’s parent can sue Linda for damages under the doctrine of negligence as having failed in the duty of care and under the doctrine of vicarious liability for the acts of employees if they had acted within the scope of their employment. Under the doctrine of negligence, there is no element of intent. But it focuses on the reasonableness of the defendant’s conduct. Negligence would show that the responsible people failed to take care in a given situation. Whether the defendant was fully aware that his failure to take sufficient care would cause serious harm or whether the defendant was full of concern for the plaintiff’s safety, he is considered negligent if harm occurs. If the defendant has acted carelessly creating an unreasonable risk of harm, it is sufficient to conclude he acted negligently.
However, to establish liability for negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care which was reasonable under the circumstances, the duty was breached by the defendant, and there existed a reasonable proximity of relationship between the injury of the plaintiff and the defendant’s breach of duty and there was an actual loss or injury. In Linda’s case, all the above ingredients are present for the children’s parents to make a claim of negligence on the part of Linda. Linda knew that the roller-coaster was unsafe for people less than four feet tall, her employee failed to follow her instructions not to allow people less than four feet tall, she failed to put up a warning sign to be visible to the prospective riders, and the roller coaster should have had fool-proof arrangement not to automatically allow people less than four feet tall. It is immaterial whether she failed or her employee failed to take care. Result would be the same. And both can be held liable. The employee will not be spared just because his employer is liable. Children’s parents can invoke the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur “the thing speaks for itself “which enables the plaintiff to prove failure in duty of care and causation indirect manner.
Thus, it is not even necessary to show that the machine was not fit for people less than four feet tall. The doctrine implies that the accident would not have occurred without someone’s negligence for which the occupier Linda alone would liable. However, the doctrine requires three elements to be present to assist the plaintiffs their claim. First, their injuries must have been caused by a condition that was with the exclusive control of the defendant. This excludes persons not named as defendants as responsible for the injury. Hence, the children’s parents must name Linda, her company and her employee as the defendants. Second, the accident would not occur without the negligence by the …