Reference no: EM131239809
At 11:30 p.m., on November 1, 2013, H.A. Tack, age 82, grabbed his son's car keys off the kitchen counter in an apartment that he shared with his son and, against doctor's orders, headed out for a late night spin. H.A. recently had suffered a minor heart attack and was warned by doctors not to operate a car while he was getting adjusted to his new blood pressure medication, as extreme dizziness and disorientation were two of its many known side effects. H.A. proceeded north on Biscayne Boulevard in the general direction of Midtown. Fortunately, traffic was light. In fact, the only other car within a mile of H.A. was a 2012 Corvette driven by Tara Blee Mistaken. Tara was on her way home from work and was trailing H.A. by 200 yards or so in the same (center) lane of travel.
All of a sudden, Tara noticed that H.A. had begun to weave in and out of the center lane. Initially, she thought nothing of it, assuming the driver had simply had a little too much to drink. However, her indifference turned to panic as she looked in the distance, approximately a mile away, and saw that she and H.A. were approaching a bus bench crowded with people, including children, on the right hand side of the road. Fearing for their safety, Tara hopped on the accelerator to catch up with H.A. As she approached the vehicle at a high rate of speed (i.e., well in excess of the posted speed limit), she saw H.A. with what appeared to be a dazed look on his face. Concluding she had no choice but to take immediate action, Tara rammed into the left front fender of the vehicle H.A. was driving.
The impact between the two vehicles forced H.A.'s vehicle off the roadway, where it slammed into (and destroyed) two unoccupied parked cars and an aluminum light pole before coming to rest 200 yards from the bus bench. Unfortunately, however, the combination of the collision with H.A. and the excessive speed needed to catch up with him, in turn, caused Tara to lose control of her car. Ironically, but quite unintentionally, she slammed into the crowded park bench, killing a young boy, who was accompanied by his parents, and severely injuring several other bystanders. Paramedics later arrived and rushed the injured to several local hospitals. Among the injured was H.A., who, it turns out, had simply suffered an adverse reaction to his medication that caused him to become only momentarily disoriented.
The following morning the local newspaper ran a photograph of Tara standing next to her totaled car under the headline: "SUSPECTED DRUNK DRIVER CAUSES LATE NIGHT CHAOS!"
You work for a small personal injury firm that is the only game in town and over the next two weeks your phone is ringing off the hook with the plethora of potential claims arising out of this "accident." The firm's senior partner has asked you to prepare a short memo sorting all of this out, so that he can decide who to represent (i.e., who has a good claim and who does not). The partner wants short answers to these questions:
1. What torts, if any, did H.A. commit and who is likely to have a viable claim against him (explain).
2. What torts, if any, did Tara commit and who is likely to have a viable claim against her (explain).
3. What torts did the local newspaper commit, if any, and who is likely to have a viable claim against it (explain).