Project 1-case brief and the case of the unfortunate pilot

Project One

General Instructions

There are two parts in Project 1, each worth 10 points (for a total of 20 points or 20% of your course grade)


Part 1 requires you to brief a case. You may select any of the cases listed so far during this course (found in the Instructor’s Notes or Cases modules) or any case of your choice. In preparing the brief, follow the format for case briefing as set forth in the Instructor’s Notes for Week 1.


Part 2 is a factual pattern covering Tort Law.

There are two questions that you must answer. The questions are designed to lead your thinking in developing your responses. The relevant legal issues are listed at the bottom of the assignment.

You may use whatever sources needed in order for you to answer the questions. However, bear in mind that this is an individual effort and not collaborative. 


Note that there are often more than one correct answer to the questions. What I am interested in is the why. How did you get to your answer and why it is the correct answer. The answer to a question can be both “yes” and “no”. It is the “why” that I am interested in and it is the “why” that you will be graded on.


A few tips:

I look very carefully at the presentation. That is, a paper with no misspellings, typographical or grammatical errors impresses me from the beginning, shows care on your part and is half way to a good grade. Proofread carefully!


Do not cut and paste from Wikipedia. There is a lot of information on the internet and I encourage research using that means, but be very careful. Oftentimes the information on the internet might be wrong or misleading. So be aware.


Use the proper APA format and cite your sources properly.


Please review the grading rubrics for assignments found in the Course Resource module in the Student Toolbox.


Your paper should be approximately 2000 words (7-8 pages).




(20 Points/20% of Final Grade)

PART 1 (10 points):

Select one of the cases listed in the Instructor’s Notes or a case of your choosing and write a Case Brief, following the case briefing format set forth in the Instructor’s Notes for Week 1.                                                      Case Brief: Sierra Club v. Morton

United States Supreme Court
405 U.S. 727 (1972)


PART 2 (10 points):

The Case of the Unfortunate Pilot

On December 13, 2013, Soar Airlines Flight 13, a Boeing 737, was scheduled to depart Baltimore BWI Airport (“BWI”) for a routine flight to New York Kennedy Airport (“JFK”).  Departure time was 7:00 a.m.  The aircraft along with the crew had laid over in Baltimore the night before.

At 0615, the pilots and flight attendants arrived at the airport and proceeded through security.  While passing through, a Transportation Security Agency (TSA) inspector thought he smelled alcohol on the breath of the captain of the flight, John Budweiser.  He told Capt Budweiser to wait a second and walked over to his supervisor for advice.   The supervisor told him to contact Soar Airlines’ Station Manager.  While the inspector was talking with his supervisor, Capt Budweiser became agitated and started yelling threatening remarks and charged toward the inspector swinging his flight bag at him.  The inspector tried ducking and fell backwards suffering an injury to his left arm.  When the Station Manager arrived on the scene Capt Budweiser was standing near the inspector.  With the exception of the First Officer, the rest of the flight crew had proceeded to the aircraft. 

The inspector explained to the Station Manager that he thought Capt Budweiser had been drinking.  This presented a major problem for the Station Manager.  The flight needed to depart and had a full day of operations ahead.  The Station Manager was also aware that two off-duty pilots of the airline were traveling on the flight back to New York.  Both were only qualified First Officers on the 737.

The Station Manager then contacted the airline’s Central Dispatch and explained the problem.  Because of the need to get the aircraft moving, Central Dispatch decided to make the original First Officer of the flight the pilot in command and assigned one of the off duty pilots as First Officer.

The flight departed one hour late.

Upon its arrival at New York Kennedy Airport, Flight 13 was ordered to taxi to gate 5 at Terminal 2.  As it approached the gate, the Pilot in Command, the original First Officer, was unable to stop the aircraft, causing it to roll into the side of the terminal.  The force of the crash shattered a large window overlooking the ramp and also caused a check-in desk to topple over.  A computer on the desk broke away and landed on the foot of a waiting passenger, breaking it.  In addition, several people were slightly injured from the flying glass.  At the same time a temporary power outage occurred and set off alarms throughout the terminal.  An escalator about 300 yards from the gate also suddenly stopped causing a heavy bag at the top of the escalator to fall back and injure a person just getting on the escalator.

All in all, two people were seriously injured:  (1) the passenger hit by the falling computer and (2) the person getting on the escalator who was hit by the heavy bag.  In addition, one of the passengers (3) on Flight 13, because of its lateness as well as the delay due to the incident at the gate, missed a connection to an overseas flight that only operated once a week, causing him to miss an important meeting with the government of a Central Asian republic that would have secured him a multi-million dollar contract for his company.  He claimed injury for the loss of the business deal.


You are a junior lawyer on the staff of the General Counsel for Soar Airlines.  Your boss has asked you to research the following:


1.      What civil action could the TSA inspector take against Captain Budweiser?  How?  Does Capt Budweiser have a defense under Intentional Torts against a civil action?  Why?  Describe in detail all aspects of this case.


2.      The accident at Kennedy Airport was a clear case of negligence under the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur.  What causes of action could the three injured parties at Kennedy Airport take for their injuries?  Why?   Discuss each plaintiff.  Identify each potential defendant. What kind of defenses would be available to each?  Describe in detail all aspects of each plaintiff’s case and the potential defenses that could be raised by the defendants.


To be applied in terms of both Plaintiffs and Defendants

Causation in Fact (Actual Cause)

Defenses to torts

Duty of Care


Intentional Tort


Orbit of Danger

Proximate Cause

Superseding or Intervening Event

Tort liability

Unforeseeable plaintiffs

Unintentional Torts/negligence



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