Critical Legal Thinking Cases

| March 14, 2016

Question
Business Law

Critical Legal Thinking Cases

2.1 Standing To Sue

Four Friends, John Bertram, Matt Norden, Scott Olson, and Tony Harvey, all residents of Ohio, Traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to go snowmobiling. On their first day of snowmobiling, after going about 135 miles, the lead snowmobiler, Olson, Came to a stop sign on the snowmobile trail where it interested a privated driveway. As Olson approached the sign, he gave the customary hand signal and stopped his snowmobile. Harvey, second in line, was going too fast to stop, so Olson pulled his snowmobile to the right side of the private drive way. Harvey, to avoid hitting Olson, pulled his snowmobile to the left and went over a 5- of 6-foot snow embankment. Bertram, third in line, going about 30 miles per hours, slammed on his brake, turned degrees, and slammed into Olson’s snowmobile. Bertram was thrown from his snowmobile. Norden, fourth in line, could not stop, and his snowmobile hit Bertram’s leg. Bertram’s tibia and fibula were both fractured and protruded through his skin. Bertram underwent surgery to repair the broken bones.

Bertram filed a lawsuit against Olson, Harvey, and Norden in a trial court in Ohio, claiming that each of his friend was liable to him for their negligent snowmobile operation. A Michigan statute specifically stated that snowmobilers assumed the risks associated with snowmobiling. Ohio law did not contain an assumption of the risk rule regarding snowmobiling. The three defendants made a motion for summary judgment.

**Question: Does Michigan or Ohio law apply to this case?

2.3 Forum Selection Clause

Mr. and Mrs Shute, residents of the state of Washington, purchased passage for a seven-day cruise on the Tropicale, a cruise ship operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. (Carnival). They paid the fare to the travel agent, who forwarded the payment to Carnival;s headquarters in Miami. Carnival prepared the tickets and sent them to the Shutes. Each ticket consisted of five pages, including contract terms. The ticket contained a forum-selection clause that designated the state of Florida as the forum for any lawsuits arising under or in connection with the ticket and cruise. The Shutes boarded the Tropicale in LA, which set sail for Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While the ship was on its return voyage and in international waters off the coast of Mexico, Mrs. Shute was injured when she slipped on a deck mat during a guided tour of the ship’s galley. Upon return to the state of Washington, she filed a negligence lawsuit against Carnival in U.S. District Court in Washington, seeking damages. Carnival defended, arguing that the lawsuit could only be brought in a court located in the state of Florida, pursuant to the forum-selection clause contained in its ticket.

**Question: Is the forum-selection clause in this case enforceable?

2.4 Jurisdiction

James Clayton Allison, a resident of the state of Mississippi, was employed by the Tru-Amp Corporation as a circuit breaker tester. As part of his employment. Allison was sent to inspect, clean, and test a switch gear located at the South Central Bell Telephone Facility in Brentwood, Tennessee. On August 26, 1988, he attempted to remove a circuit breaker manufactured by ITE Corporation (ITE) from a bank of breakers, when a portion of the breaker fell off. The broken piece fell behind a switching bank and, according to Allison, caused an electrical fire and explosion. Allison was severely burned in the accident. Allison brought suit against ITE in a Mississippi state court, claiming more than $50,000 in damages.

**Question: Can this suit be removed to federal court?

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