South University Online Liabi

Discussion Question 1: Liability in Injuries Caused by Pest Control

The following discussion question touches on vicarious liability, as well as strict liability and product liability.

Acme Pest Control Co. is called in to fumigate the Wheatley Apartments, which have developed a serious roach infestation. Wheatley is in a heavily populated city block and shares a wall with an adjacent apartment building. Acme recommended a chemical that is widely used to treat roach infestation. The chemical is toxic and can be fatal to humans and animals; therefore, it can be used only in vacant premises by specially trained technicians. It takes about 10 hours to dissipate and leaves no residue.

Prior to spraying the building, Eldon, an Acme employee, spends hours at Wheatley to ensure that the chemical they are going to use will not spread to the adjacent building through the shared wall. Eldon determines that the wall is a fire wall about three feet thick. The owner of the neighboring building assures Eldon that the wall is impenetrable. Other Acme staff members examine the blueprints to confirm their findings. They examine the entire visible wall for cracks or faults and find none. Acme ensures that Wheatley is vacant and begins to fumigate. Unknown to anyone, there is a crack in the wall, but it is located below the floor and is undetected. The fumes leak into the neighboring building, unobserved by any of the Acme staff. During the next hour, several residents of the neighboring building begin to collapse or go into seizures. The building manager calls the fire department and the paramedics for help. Fortunately, none of the injured people succumb to the dangerous chemical; however, several of the tenants suffer permanent internal injuries.

After reviewing the assigned course materials and conducting brief research, analyze who is liable for the injuries, if anyone, and under what theory. Provide suitable explanation to justify your answer.

Discussion Question 2: Liability for Pitching Machine Malfunction

The following discussion question touches on vicarious liability, as well as strict liability and product liability.

Lisa and Renee are at a batting cage practicing for their upcoming softball tournament. The pitching machine allows the batter to set the speed of the pitch anywhere from 20 mph to 95 mph. Lisa is one of the best batters in the country and can regularly hit balls thrown over 80 mph. Renee sets her pitches for a more sedate 50 mph. The girls are in the batting cage together and Lisa is up to bat. Both athletes have individually handcrafted bats made to their specifications by a local bat maker. Lisa bats twenty pitches and then turns the bat over to Renee. After resetting the pitching machine, Renee takes her stance and gets ready. The pitching machine malfunctions, however, and pitches to Renee at 80 mph. She swings wildly and the bat cracks in half. The bat hits Lisa on the head knocking her unconscious. The ball hits Renee on the head knocking her unconscious.

After reviewing the assigned course materials and conducting brief research, examine who is liable to whom in this case and for what. Provide a suitable explanation to support your answer.

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