Project 3: Statutory Analysis Memo
The following is the fact pattern for Major Project 3:
PLEASE NOTE THE STATUTES BELOW.
CLIENT INTERVIEW: JENNA ROBERTS
You are a paralegal at the firm and have been assigned to work on the following personal injury case. The following is a transcription of a client interview that you conducted on October 10, 2015. This fact pattern should be used when writing the Synthesis Memo.
Paralegal: Good morning, Ms. Roberts. My name is (insert your name here). I am a paralegal and will be working with Tricia Zunker on your case. Before we discuss your incident, I would like to ask you some background information. What is your full name and address? Also, what is your work number? What is your home number?
Roberts: Jenna Marie Roberts. I live at 456 State Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. My home number is 410-843-1295. My work number is 410-992-3232.
Paralegal: What is your social security number and date of birth?
Roberts: 321-54-8970 and my date of birth is June 12, 1984.
Paralegal: Are you married? Do you have any children?
Roberts: I am married. My husband’s name is Matt Roberts. We do not have any children.
Paralegal: Where do you and your husband work?
Roberts: I teach at an elementary school in Baltimore County and my husband is a teacher at a high school in Baltimore City.
Paralegal: What is your salary?
Roberts: I make approximately $59,000 a year. My husband makes approximately $65,000.
Paralegal: OK, thank you for that additional information. We need to talk about the incident now. What exactly happened at the city courthouse?
Roberts: Well, on March 4, 2014, I went to Main Superior Courthouse located in Baltimore County.
Paralegal: Excuse me, where is this located?
Roberts: Oh, of course. It is located at 456 Main Street.
Paralegal: Ok, thanks. Please continue.
Roberts: I just wanted to pick up an application for a parking permit. So, I parked my car and went inside. Once I went through the metal detector and headed toward the elevator, when I slipped and fell. At first, I thought I just maybe twisted my left leg somehow. But when I tried to stand up, I couldn’t put any weight on the ankle.
Paralegal: Was there anyone near you when you fell?
Roberts: There was a man named Charles Lindsay. He rushed over to help me up. I told him I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg. He was so helpful helped me get over to a bench. A clerk coming back from his break, Jeff McHale, came over to me. He asked if I needed an ambulance or if there was anyone I wanted him to call. I said I couldn’t walk or put weight on my leg and to please call and ambulance. I was a little teary at this point because I was in a lot of pain and it really hurt. Then I looked down and saw that my pants were soaking wet. Turns out, there was a huge puddle where I slipped.
Paralegal: What happened while you were waiting for the ambulance?
Roberts: Well, while we were waiting for the ambulance, Mr. Lindsay told Mr. McHale that he had told a guard about the puddle of water when the employee walked by her in the aisle. That happened about 10 minutes before my fall. The guard had told Mr . Lindsay that he would be back with a mop. The guard’s name was Tonya, I think.
Paralegal: Did anything else happen while you were waiting?
Roberts: I don’t recall anything else.
Paralegal: And what was the weather like that day?
Roberts: It was really raining hard that day.
Paralegal: What hospital did the ambulance take you to?
Roberts: I was taken to County General Hospital. They took x-rays of my left ankle. They told me that I had broken my left ankle and put it in a cast. I had the cast on for 7 weeks.
Paralegal: Did you miss any work?
Roberts: I missed three weeks of work.
Paralegal: Why did you miss work?
Roberts: I was on crutches for a bit and it was difficult to move around. I was also in a lot of pain the first couple of weeks.
Paralegal: Did you take anything for the pain?
Roberts: No, I couldn’t. I don’t like taking aspirin or ibuprofen and I refused my doctor’s offer to write me out some other pain medication.
Paralegal: Who else treated you for this incident?
Roberts: I saw an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ryan Adams.
Paralegal: How is your ankle now?
Roberts: Well, it’s better. But I still have pain. For instance, it hurts when the weather is bad – raining, snowing, or sleeting.
Paralegal: Did the store fill out an accident report? Do you know?
Roberts: Actually, I don’t know.
Paralegal: Ok. Well, I think that is everything for now. Thank you for coming in to see me today. I’m going to discuss this with Ms. Zunker. If you have any questions regarding your case, please contact me.
ISSUE: Whether the U.S. Government may be held liable for Ms. Roberts’s slip and fall injury if they had notice of the dangerous condition?
CASES AND STATUTES:
28 U.S.C.A. § 1346
28 U.S.C.A. § 2671
108 F.Supp. 751
1992 WL 198874
282 F.Supp. 364
In this project, you will demonstrate your skill in analyzing a legal issue and explaining that analysis in a legal memorandum. Your memo will use the statutory law, cases, and facts. The memo must follow the IRAC format. For the given issue, you will explain the relevant law from the statutory provision(s), apply the statutory provision(s), and cases to the facts, and set out a reasoned conclusion.
Your explanation of the statutory law and cases must be accurate and thorough.
Your application of the statutory law and cases to the client’s situation must be thorough and from both perspectives.
Your conclusion must be supported by the application.
Citations must follow The Bluebook rules for citation and style.
You memo must provide sufficient context and logical organization.
Your memo must exhibit correct sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. .
SAMPLE IRAC MEMO – THIS ANALYSIS MEMO MUST FOLLOW THIS FORMAT!
Below is a sample IRAC memo. I have included the headings to emphasize their proper placement. Pay careful attention to the few facts included in the application – you don’t need to include the entire narrative provided by the client, witnesses, documents, etc. You just need the facts that are legally significant – meaning, the ones that pertain to the resolution of the issue.
Whether under District of Columbia law, Bill Brown is liable for Sarah Darwin’s injuries under a theory of negligence when he suddenly lost control of his car, in which Darwin was a passenger, and crashed into a tree during a narcoleptic episode, a medical condition he has successfully controlled with medication since his last narcoleptic episode over three years ago.
In the District of Columbia, a driver who is suddenly stricken by an unforseeable illness that renders it impossible for him to control the car is not considered negligent. Cohen v. Petty, 65 F.2d 820 (D.C. 1933). In Cohen the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia held that a defendant whose passengers were injured in a car crash caused by the defendant’s sudden fainting was not liable for negligence when he never fainted before and was in good health at the time of the accident. Id. at 821. The court reasoned that under those facts, the defendant had no reason to think that he might become ill while driving and that thus should not be responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. Id.
Here, like the defendant in Cohen, Brown was in good physical health at the time of the accident and had never before fallen asleep while driving. Darwin may argue that the present case is distinguishable because unlike in Cohen, Brown has a history of narcolepsy. Thus Darwin may argue that Brown should have known that he might suffer a narcoleptic episode while driving. But Brown has successfully controlled his narcolepsy for the past several years with medication, and his last narcoleptic episode was over three years ago. Thus he had no reason to think that he might suffer another narcoleptic episode on the day of the accident.
Darwin is likely not liable under a negligence theory for Darwin’s injuries because his fainting episode was not forseeable.