The purpose of this assignment is to
apply the information learned about tort law, negligence, and the admissibility
of scientific evidence in the courtroom.
Answer the following questions
using the information from readings, videos, and slide sets. No outside information is required to
successfully answer the questions; however, if you use outside information, use
proper citations in AMA formatting.
The following questions may
describe a hypothetical situation. They
may be based on real-world events but are not actions currently being
undertaken by any individual or groups of individuals.
When writing your responses, be
objective. Do not argue for one side or
another. If the question includes a
hypothetical situation, remember to clearly state the issue, the standard being
used, and a complete analysis of the issue.
Finally, exact words are important. Do not create your own terms or
interchange terms between standards.
assignment can be downloaded as a Word document, and answers can be written
immediately below each question. Essay
format is not required, although complete sentences, correct spelling, and
proper grammar are necessary. There are
no minimum or maximum word counts or page limits. Use your discretion to determine whether
enough information is provided to successfully answer each question. A cover page is not needed. Once complete, upload the assignment as a
Word document to ulearn.
Part 1 (Questions 1-3)
Several news stations have interviewed a researcher who believes there
is an association between living near high capacity power lines and an increased
risk of certain kinds of childhood cancer. The news stories always highlight two recent
publications by the researcher. These
news stories are very concerning to some residents of Neighborhood X.
Thirty-five years ago, high capacity power lines were built over 1
mile away from Neighborhood X located in city Y. Since then, the city and neighborhood has
grown substantially, and now residents of Neighborhood X live right next to the
power lines. In some cases, houses were
built almost directly underneath the power lines. The most recent homes in Neighborhood X,
which are located nearest the power lines, were built about 10 years ago.
Having read these news reports, several neighborhood residents
start to think that cases of cancer among adults and children living in that
area might have been caused by the high capacity power lines. These residents have identified 10 persons
diagnosed with cancer in the last 10 years.
Information about these cases are in the table* below.
is the person’s name?
How old was the person at
diagnosis? (in years)
Do they live within ½ mile of
the power lines?
Does the person smoke
Does the person work in a
factory that uses cancer-causing chemicals?
this is not a case where you need to worry about the actual risks, the number
of people in the community, the real rate of the cancers, etc. Focus on the
Assume you are a local lawyer.
The resident come to you, describe their concerns, and say they want to
sue the electric company for negligence in causing this dangerous exposure, for
failure to warn them of the dangers, and for given local residents cancer
What do the plaintiffs have to prove to establish their tort case?
element(s) that the plaintiffs have to prove will be most difficult to prove?
is/are the element(s) difficult to prove?
Why is this true or not true for other “toxic torts”?
Part B (Questions 4-6)
The plaintiffs’ have obtained a team of lawyers to represent them. When it is time for the trial, they decide to
present the following types of testimonies as evidence:
professor at the state university who believes that power lines can cause
author of the 2 studies suggesting an association between high capacity power
lines and cancer that were published in respectable peer-reviewed medical
astrologist who published a book 10 years ago claiming that electricity causes
local director of public health who will describe extensive epidemiological
data on the actual number of cancer cases and the rates of cancer in the neighborhood,
city, state and the country
Assume you are the judge in this case.
the standard of Frye, would you allow
each of these pieces of evidence to be presented at the trial? Why or why not?
the standard of Daubert, would you
allow each of these pieces of evidence to be presented at trial? Why or why not?
Briefly, describe at least two potential public health benefits and two potential social costs if the
plaintiffs win the case.