Presentation on theme: "Stacey Leigh Callaway Associates Capstone in Paralegal Studies – PA 299."— Presentation transcript:
1 Stacey Leigh Callaway Associates Capstone in Paralegal Studies – PA 299
2 A Few Reminders… Seminar: Mondays, 8 p.m. EST Office Hours: Mondays, 6-8 p.m. EST AIM sign-in: CallawayKaplan Email: SCallaway@kaplan.edu
3 ASSOCIATES CAPSTONE IN PARALEGAL STUDIES – Unit V Unit V– Seminar (graded) - This week's Seminar will concern professional issues, such as how to take adequate notes, avoid giving legal advice, and remain impartial about cases and clients. Unit V – Discussion Board Postings (graded) – There are two discussion threads this week, access the drop down box under the Unit IV discussion link to make your comments. Unit V Case brief(graded) – You will be writing a case briefs of one of the cases you found.. It is due at the end of Unit V.
4 IRAC / FIRAC Facts Issue Rule Application Conclusion
5 Briefing a Case Citation Procedural History Facts Issue Answer/ Holding Reasoning Disposition
6 Differences between a Case Brief and IRAC Case Brief – A summary of a published appellate court opinion broken down in your own words as to the facts, issues, holdings, reasoning’s, decisions, and references. Irac – Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion 6
7 IRAC THE LEGAL ANALYSIS PROCESS— IRAC
8 PRESENT A BRIEF SYNOPSIS OR EXPLANATION OF THE FACTS SET OUT BY THE COURT FACTS
9 HISTORY OF THE CASE FOR CASE BRIEFS, SET OUT THE JUDICIAL HISTORY OF THE CASE. WHAT ACTION DID THE LOWER COURT TAKE? WAS THE CASE HEARD BY THE JUDGE OR A JURY? WAS THE CASE RESOLVED BY TRIAL, MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR SOME OTHER METHOD? WHAT COURT AUTHORED THE OPINION YOU ARE BRIEFING? PROCEDURAL HISTORY
10 IDENTIFY THE ISSUE RAISED BY THE FACTS OF THE CASE THERE IS TYPICALLY ONLY ONE LEGAL ISSUE, BUT MORE COMPLEX CASES MAY HAVE MORE THAN ONE PRIMARY LEGAL ISSUE. IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT IS THE LEGAL DISPUTE BETWEEN THE PARTIES? ISSUE
11 IDENTIFY THE LAW THAT GOVERNS THE ISSUE: STATUTORY LAW CASE LAW ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION RULE
12 DETERMINE HOW THE LAW APPLIES TO THE ISSUE IDENTIFY ELEMENTS OF LAW APPLY FACTS TO ELEMENTS ANALYSIS/APPLICATION
13 SUMMARIZE THE RESULTS OF THE LEGAL ANALYSIS WHAT WAS THE FINAL OUTCOME OF THE CASE ON APPEAL? CONCLUSION
14 IRAC: Another organizing method Issue Rule Application/Analysis Conclusion CASE Example: Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey, Along came a spider, Who sat down beside her And frightened Miss Muffet away. Broad and General Narrow and Specific
15 IRAC cont. ISSUE: DEFINITION OF NEGLIGENCE: The elements of a negligence claim are familiar: existence of a duty to conform to a standard of conduct to protect others, failure to conform to that standard, proximate cause, and damages. Was there Negligence on the part of the Spider against Little Miss Muffet?
16 IRAC cont. Rule: To Determine if an Negligence was present 1.Did the Spider owe Miss Muffet a duty? 2.Was there a failure to conform to that duty? 3.Did such failure cause Miss Muffett any harm and damages?
17 IRAC cont. Rule Application / Analysis 1.What duty was Miss Muffet owed? Test against facts. 2.What failure to conform to that duty existed? Test against facts. (See next slide for example.) 3. What caused the harm and what were the damages? Test against facts.
18 IRAC cont. Rule Application/Analysis: Sub-Issue - Failure c. Did the negligence cause the harm? Was there a failure to conform ? Fact/case for Yes No a.Were the Spider negligent? b. Was Miss Muffet at fault at all? Yes No
19 Conclusion YES NO There was negligence There was no Negligence
20 A Few Tips: Getting Started Make sure you are familiar with your research question, including vocabulary and components Get to know your firm’s library – collection & librarians Know what type of subscriptions your firm has – and use accordingly Create a research log – keep track of each search as you work Know when to stop – recurring themes, cases, etc. indicate you have found all there is Always UPDATE your research – especially before you hand it in Decide whether online or print searching will work best for your query
21 A Few Tips: Print v. Online Research Print: Analytical and contextual framework Search by rules and concepts Use to provide concepts to use in online searching Statutes, treatises, ordered materials Reading and browsing Online: Broad-based searching Full-text searches Field and segment searching Matching factual situations
22 What’s Online & Free? Federal Opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals & District Courts (dates of coverage vary widely!) Statutes & Regulations Agency materials State Opinions & Dockets from State Supreme Courts State Statutes & Regulations Agency materials Public Records: Corporate filings, professional licenses Secondary Research Guides
23 A Great Place to Start: Research Guides! Identify sources of information with evaluative/descriptive annotations Topic-specific Jurisdiction-specific Offer tips for doing research Two good search engines for finding research guides…Cornell & Akron …or, try any law library website!
24 http://library.lawschool.cornell.edu/WhatWeDo/ResearchGuides/CLL-Legal-Research- Engine.cfm
26 Primary Sources
27 Court Opinions: SCOTUS SCOTUS www.supremecourtus.gov Full text of all Court opinions issued from 2004-present Cornell’s Legal Information Institute www.law.cornell.edu/supct/supremes.htm Comprehensive coverage from 1990-present Selective coverage prior to 1990 Selection criteria = significant historical value Search by topic, judicial author, party name, or date FindLaw www.findlaw.com/casecode/supreme.html Full text of Court opinions from 1893-present Search by publication year, official U.S. citation, party name, or keyword Oyez – Northwestern U. www.oyez.org Audio recordings of oral arguments – 1995-present Selected audio from 1955-1995 Blogs/Current Awareness resources
29 Court Opinions: U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals Emory’s Federal Courts Finder www.law.emory.edu/FEDCTS Search Opinions by party name, keyword, or date of decision Links to the official circuit courts of appeals’ sites Those sites provides access to opinions Villanova’s Federal Court Locator www.law.villanova.edu/library/researchandstudyguides/federalcourtlocator.asp Official Third Circuit Court of Appeals site Portal to other official circuit court sites U.S. Courts www.uscourts.gov Official federal government portal Statistical reports, Code of Conduct, U.S. Judges Search by district, circuit, zip code, area code, county, or state AltLaw.org -- Columbia University & University of Colorado www.altlaw.org Full text of selected opinions – U.S. Supreme Court, 11 th Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal & D.C. districts Search by keyword or title; may also browse cases LexisOne www.lexisone.com/legalresearch.index.html Decisions from the last 10 years from all federal circuits; 1790-present U.S. Supreme Court Search by keyword or citation
32 Court Opinions: U.S. District Courts FindLaw www.findlaw.com/10fedgov/judicial/district_courts.html Portal access to U.S. district court sites The Federal Judiciary, U.S. Courts www.uscourts.gov Cornell’s Legal Information Institute www.law.cornell.edu/federal/districtbystate.html Portal access to U.S. district court sites, as well as portal access to bankruptcy court sites Chart indicates whether official U.S. district court has information only or information & opinions
34 Court Opinions: State Supreme Courts LoisLaw www.loislaw.com/product/information/state.htm Full text of state supreme court decisions 1920s-present (in most cases) Cornell’s Legal Information Institute www.law.cornell.edu/opinions.html Portal to all 50 states Judicial Opinions Regulations & Other Agency Info Other State Legal Collections FindLaw www.findlaw.com/casecode/statelaw Portal to all 50 states
35 Legislation: Federal Session Laws GPO Access www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html Statutes at Large 2004-present Search by subject, public law number, popular name, statute or U.S. Code citation, or bill number Library of Congress Memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwsl.html Index and lists of Public Acts/Private Acts/Treaties of the Statute at Large from 1789-1875
36 Legislation: Federal Codifications GPO Access www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/index.html Access to U.S. Code from 1994-present Browse by title, search by keyword Cornell’s Legal Information Institute www.law.cornell.edu/uscode Search by citation, popular name, or by keyword. Can also browse by title. U.S. House of Rep. Office of Law Revision Counsel Uscode.house.gov Search by keyword or citation Entire U.S. Code can be browsed
38 Legislation: U.S. House & Senate Bills Library of Congress www.thomas.loc.gov Pending bills & resolutions from 101 st Congress-Present Search by keyword, index, bill’s sponsor, committee, or date Full text, summary & status, and congressional actions Related bills listed Committee Reports from 104 th Congress-Present Search by keyword, committee, or date Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C. (LLSDC) Legislative Source Book -- www.llsdc.org/sourcebookwww.llsdc.org/sourcebook Advice on compiling legislative history Examples of legislative history Center for Democracy & Technology Open Congressional Research Reports -- www.opencrs.comwww.opencrs.com Congressional Research Reports Not comprehensive – access to report requested by individuals from their representatives
39 Legislation: State & Local OnlineSunshine www.leg.state.fl.us Florida legislature Portal to Senate and House sites Search statutes from 1997-present Browse FL Constitution, or search through index Digest of general laws from 2003-present Link to Laws of FL (FL department of state website) WashLaw www.washlaw.edu Portal access to links for official state Internet sites Municode.com Free access to full text of many codes and ordinances for 50 states Hyperlinked map lets researcher to choose state Links to counties’ and cities’ codes within state Search by keyword or table of contents
41 Regulations & Executive Publications: Federal Regulation Federal Register – GPO Access http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html Search F.R. from 1994-present Browse table of contents Search by keyword, section, issue date, and page number
42 Regulations & Executive Publications: Decisions of Federal Agencies Code of Federal Regulations – GPO Access http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html Coverage from 1996-present Search the Most Current 50 Titles (2007-2008) Search by keyword or citation Browse University of Virginia www.lib.virginia.edu/govdocs/fed_decisions_subject.html Subject-created index Directory of agencies
43 Regulations & Executive Publications: Executive Orders & Presidential Publications Official White House Site www.whitehouse.gov Current administration only Orders and proclamations arranged in reverse chronological order Search by keyword GPO Access www.gpoaccess.gov/pubpapers/search.html Weekly Compilation of Presidential Papers 1993-January 29, 2009 Search Public Papers of the President Coverage from 1991-2004 National Archives and Records Administration Archives.gov Clinton Administration
44 Secondary Sources
45 Secondary Sources: Research Guides Law Librarians’ Resource Exchange (LLRX) www.llrx.com Access to subject research guides – over 35 legal topics Links to court rules and dockets Research assistance for primary sources of law at international, federal, and state levels The Virtual Chase www.virtualchase.com Guides to help locate info about businesses, companies, individuals
46 Secondary Sources: Dictionaries Merriam-Webster’s Law Dictionary dictionary.lp.findlaw.com/dictionary.html FindLaw website Law.com/Dictionary WEX http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex Cornell’s Legal Information Institute Wiki created site – requires that author be a qualified expert Citations to applicable federal and state statutes & judicial decisions included
47 Secondary Sources: Law Reviews University Law Review Project http://www.lawreview.org/ Free abstract e-mail service Full text search of law journals online List of journals by topic
48 Secondary Sources: Current Awareness Jurist: Legal News & Research http://jurist.org/ Written & edited by law school staff & students at University of Pittsburgh Continuous legal news from around the world Updated 24 hours/day Search by keyword Google Alerts http://www.google.com/alerts Researcher selects search terms, can select comprehensive or limited searches Searches emailed directly to research Daily, weekly, or monthly
49 Secondary Sources: Blogs ABA’s Blawg Directory http://abajournal.com/blawgs/ Weekly featured blawg List of most popular blawgs Week, month, all-time Search by subject, author type, region, or law school
50 Secondary Sources: Working Papers SSRN http://www.ssrn.com/ Can upload working papers to receive commentary Can download working papers Electronic paper collection – search by keyword, title, title abstract, or author
51 Sites to Remember Important Free Legal Resources
52 Important Sites: Federal Library of Congress’ THOMAS Federal Legislation Information GPOAccess Service of Government Printing Office Regulations.gov Federal Rulemaking Portal
56 Important Sites: Free Caselaw LexisONE & FindLaw (ThomsonWest) Limited date/jurisdiction coverage i.e., past 5 years on LexisONE Robust search engine – biggest advantage! Registration (free) is usually required
60 Important Sites: Municipal Codes Not available on Lexis or Westlaw Use Municode.com Mostly free, some pay content One-stop source for many hard-to-find local laws Unofficial, commercial site, but has solid reputation.
62 Important Sites: Law Portals Cornell’s Legal Information Institute US primary materials + topical guides User friendly, extensive coverage Law Library of Congress’ Guide to Law Online US primary materials + international guides + topical guides Extensively annotated Justia US primary materials + PACER search engine Innovative search features Florida Law Online (FLO)
68 Thank you for joining the seminar tonight! Have a great week.
Unformatted text preview: 1 Associates Capstone Project Paula Ridgeway Kaplan University PA299 - Unit 9 Final Project February 23, 2016 2 MEMORANDUM • To: Lucy Legal, Supervising Attorney From: Paula Ridgeway, Paralegal Date: 12-23-2015 Re: Potential Client, Scott Siegel, Merry Go Round Incident As request, the following is the memorandum from the interview with Scott Siegel, minor, accompanied by his father, Vincent Siegel. Mr. Siegel brought his minor son, Scott, of eight years old to the office for an preliminary client interview on Wednesday, 12/16/2015 to give their account of the incident at a Delaware Public School District Elementary School. The information of how Scott fractured his leg on school grounds during physical education class. ISSUE: The incident occurred when Scott fell off the merry go round and fractured his leg during physical education class being supervised by substitute teacher, Mr. Andrew Rafter. Due to the injury of the minor, Mr. Vincent Siegel would be inclined to file a lawsuit for negligence in regards to lack of proper supervision of the playground activities. FACTS: The minor, Scott Siegel, an eight year old residing in the Delaware public school district. During physical education, Scott and some other boys were playing on the merry go round. The class consisted of approximately 40 students being supervised by Mr. Andrew Rafter, a substitute 3 teacher. This was a combination of two classes to give one teacher a free period, with another teacher available, possibly present to help supervise the large class size. The class was segregated by gender, with the girls playing on the basketball court and boys on the playground equipment. There was approximately fifteen feet between the two groups. Scott and the other boys were propelling the merry go round with their feet, spinning at a rapid rate of speed. Approximately at 10:30 am, Mr. Rafter advised the boys to slow down on the merry go round before being alerted of an argument ensuing between two girls. Mr. Rafter went to assist the girls when he heard one of the boys from the playground area yelling Scott had been injured, from about 20 feet away. The injury occurred when Scott was propelled off the merry go round. Mr. Rafter carried Scott to the nurse’s station about 100 feet from the entrance of the school. Vincent Siegel, Scott’s father, was called after an ice pack was applied to Scott’s head and left thigh. Mr. Siegel took Scott to the emergency room for x-rays and necessary treatment. Scott was diagnosed with a fractured fibular in his left leg and will have to be on crutches for about six weeks and bed rest for two of those six weeks, physical therapy to follow after cast is removed. Mr. Siegel voiced his concern for the teacher to children ratio during the outside activities and the presence of any other teacher supervising was not known. Due to the rush to get Scott to the emergency room, Mr. Siegel did not obtain an incident report from the school and not sure if one was even available. Mr. Siegel is not aware of the school’s policy of reporting injuries or surveillance equipment on the premises. Scott stated a few of his classmates saw what happened to him and at the time of the accident, Mr. Rafter had his back to the merry go round. Scott was not sure if anyone else was hurt or how long it took for Mr. Rafter to return after he, Scott had fallen off the merry go round. Mr. Siegel 4 is eager to know what the next step is in filing a negligence claim against the school and its board. EVALUATION OF CLIENT The minor, Scott Siegel, appeared to be a little apprehensive when asked about the incident in details. He was very polite and well-mannered. Some of his responses did not quite line up to the events relayed on the intake sheet, may have been over embellished. Scott is spoke precise and clear about his injury and the events leading to the fall. Mr. Siegel feels the school was negligent by not providing adequate supervision for all those students on the playground and basketball court. Mr. Siegel is seeking monetary damages for all current and future medical expenses, lost wages for himself and wife, as well as compensation for the traumatic experience. FURTHER RESEARCH NEEDED To ensure all facts and evidence necessary to provide adequate representation of Scott Siegel, further research is needed. Such as contacting any witnesses to the incident and the actions of Mr. Rafter. If an incident report was created, we would need to obtain a copy. As well as a copy of the school guidelines regarding teacher student ratio in and out of the class room. The guidelines should also include protocol of playground supervision and incident report process. Will also want to obtain any footage of the playground area on the day of the incident, if any is available. Retrieval of all medical expenses as well as any reports from the physician treating Scott, for recommendations of any future medical expenses. Talking with Mr. Rafter will help pull together the events leading to the incident and how he came to be supervising the students that day. Research the case laws, ordinances and statutes on negligence on school property, 5 whether or not the teacher to student ratio while in class and on the playground is a concerning factor and if Mr. Rafter’s actions make him liable or immune to the lawsuit. Comparative negligence (Del. Code. Ann. Title 10 § 8132) states Scott may have contributed to his injury by not listening to the teacher when warned to reduce the speed of the merry go round. One would have to consider if Scott actually heard the warning and or if he did try to slow it down and that is how his leg was injured. (Del. Code Ann. Title 14 § 1705A) Maximum student-instructor ratio requirements are as follows: For the grades 1-3 or kindergarten, after the last day of October no Delaware public school shall not exceed 22 students per teacher. Is not specific for activities outside the classroom and a waiver can be introduced and signed to omit subsection. In the case, Banks v. Terrebonne Parish School Board, the coach, Chester Dillard not to be liable of any negligence or the school board. In the case, Nash v. Rapides Parish School Board, because of accidents such as this would be almost impossible to prevent due to it happening so quickly and unless direct supervision was provided for every child playing. In the case, McDonald v. Terrebonne Parish School Board, fault cannot be placed on the School Board or its employees because each student is not personally supervised. RECOMMENDATIONS Due to the cases on record in District and Appellant court, the Delaware Board of Education and Mr. Rafter would not be liable for the injury to Scott Siegel’s leg. From the accounts of Scott, the teacher did his job of supervision to the best of his ability. The possible fact, Scott heard Mr. Rafter state to slow down spinning on the merry go round and Scott may not have heard or listened to the recommendation. The initial interview requires more questions to be answered, such as playground equipment regulation being followed when equipment was placed on school 6 grounds, was the waiver signed and put into place for regulation of teacher student ratio, was the playground equipment faulty, damaged and or overloaded at the time of the incident? The proceeding questions as well as others need to be explored to determine whether this case has merit and establish fault for the damages Mr. Vincent Siegel is seeking on behalf of his son, Scott. 7 References: Banks v. Terrebonne Parish School Board, 339 So .2d 1295 (La. App. Nov. 15, 1976). Del. Code. Ann. Title 14 § 1705A - Maximum student-instructor ratio requirements (2015, December). Retrieved from State of Delaware: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c017/index.shtml Del. Code. Ann. Title 10 § 8132 - Comparative negligence (2015, December). Retrieved from State of Delaware: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title10/c081/ Nash v. Rapides Parish School Board, 188 So.2d 508, 510 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1966) McDonald v. Terrebonne Parish School Board, 253 So.2d 558, 562 (La.App. 1st Cir. 1971) 8 Case Brief Cromley v Loyalsock Township School District, 226 Pa.Super. 443 (1973) Facts: Kathy Cromley, a minor, on behalf of her mother, Donna R. Carmichael brought suit against Loyalsock Township School District to recover expenses for injuries incurred as a result of inadequate supervision. Outcome: This appeal for judgment of Common Pleas Court of Lycoming County, granted defendant’s preliminary objections in nature of demurrer and dismissed the complaint. Plaintiffs appealed and decision was vacated and remanded back to the lower court. Issue(s): The issues in Cromley v Loyalsock Township School District are (1) whether or not the school district was negligent in providing adequate supervision and (2) is the school district immune from the suit. Rule: The complaint was brought by Donna Carmichael, the mother of the minor, Kathy Cromley, who sustained injuries solely due to negligence of adequate supervision provided by the school district for the students, school grounds and activities of the students during class time. Government immunity was raised by the defense. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court abolished 9 the doctrine of government immunity. Ayala v Philadelphia Board of Public Education, Pa. 305 A2d 877 (1973), vacating the dismissal of plaintiff’s Complaint, as stated in the opinion of Superior Court Judge Hoffman. References: Ayala v Philadelphia Board of Public Education, Pa. 305 A.2d 877 (1973) Kitchen v Wilkinsburg School District et al., Pa., 306 A2d 294 (1973) Hansen v Wilkinsburg School District et al., Pa., 306 A2d 294 (1973) 10 Complaint RETURN DATE: FEBRUARY 12, 2016 : SUPERIOR COURT : S.S., a minor child, by his father and : Natural guardian, VINCENT SIEGEL : Plaintiff, : J. D. OF NEW CITY v. : AT NEW CITY DELAWARE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT : ANDREW RAFTER : : Defendants. : September 22, 2016 COMPLAINT Plaintiff, Scott Siegel, by and through his parent and natural guardian Vincent Siegel, hereby brings claim against Delaware Public School District and Andrew Rafter and, alleges the following in support of its Complaint: SUMMARY OF THIS CASE 1. This is a negligence cause of action against the school district, the supervision party of the premises where the injury took place and supervising teacher at the time of the injury took place. 11 JURISDICTION 2. This Court has jurisdiction over this dispute because the complaint seeks damages below the excess of seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars. 3. Plaintiff Scott Siegel, is 8 years old, and a minor under Delaware law. 4. Vincent Siegel is the father and natural guardian of Scott Siegel. 5. Defendants operate in of Sussex County, Delaware. GENERAL ALLEGATIONS 6. On November 19, 2015, Plaintiff was playing on and fell off the merry go round. 7. On November 19, 2015 at 10:30 am, Plaintiff suffered injuries sustained from the fall off the merry go round. 8. Defendant, Mr. Andrew Rafter has his back to the Plaintiff and was approximately 20 feet away at the time of the incident. 9. Plaintiff suffered a fractured fibular in his left leg as a result of falling off the merry go round. COUNT I – COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE (DEL. CODE. ANN. TITLE 10 § 8132) 10. Plaintiff was not properly supervised by Defendant, Mr. Rafter while on the school grounds of the Delaware Public School District. 11. Defendant was walking in the opposite direction of the Plaintiff at the time of the injury. 12. As a proximate result of falling off the merry go round, Plaintiff incurred medical expenses in the sum of $3,467.13 WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgement for damages against Defendant Delaware Public School District in the total sum of $3,467.13. COUNT II – MAXIMUM STUDENT-INSTRUCTOR RATION REQUIREMENT (DEL. CODE. ANN. TITLE 14 § 1705A) 13. Plaintiff was one of 40 students on the playground under the supervision of Mr. Rafter. 14. Plaintiff is in the third grade attending Parkstone Elementary. 15. The date of the injury was November 19, 2015. 12 16. As a proximate result of the fall off the merry go round, Plaintiff suffered an injury, pain and suffering, in the total sum of $6,500.00. WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays judgement for damages against the Defendants Delaware Public School District and Mr. Andrew Rafter. The Plaintiff prays: 1. Judgment be entered against the Defendants; 2. Money be awarded for injuries sustained; 3. For any further relief as may be just and proper. Dated at Lewes, Delaware this 2nd day of February, 2016. THE PLAINTIFF, Scott Siegel, minor by way of father Vincent Siegel By: __________________________________ Lucy Legal Legal Cause, LLC. 231 Missouri Road Lewes, DE 19958 Juris No. 280498 13 (302) 645 – 2525 14 RETURN DATE: FEBRUARY 12, 2016 : SUPERIOR COURT : S.S., a minor child, by his father and : Natural guardian, VINCENT SIEGEL : Plaintiff, : J. D. OF NEW CITY v. : AT NEW CITY DELAWARE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT : ANDREW RAFTER : Defendants. : September 22, 2016 STATEMENT RE: AMOUNT IN DEMAND The Plaintiff, Scott Siegel, claims that the amount in demand is in excess of Five Thousand ($5,000.00) dollars. THE PLAINTIFF, Scott Siegel, minor by way of father Vincent Siegel By: __________________________________ Lucy Legal Legal Cause, LLC. 231 Missouri Road Lewes, DE 19958 Juris No. 280498 (302) 645 – 2525 (860) 693 – 1111 15 DOCKET # HHD – CV – 11456321 : SUPERIOR COURT : : S.S., a minor child, by his father and : Natural guardian, VINCENT SIEGEL : Plaintiff, : J. D. OF NEW CITY v. : AT NEW CITY DELAWARE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT : ANDREW RAFTER : : Defendants. : September 22, 2016 FIRST REQUEST FOR ADMISSIONS TO DELAWARE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT Plaintiff Scott Siegel, pursuant to Practice Book §13-22, et seq. requests that Defendant Delaware Public School District, admit the truth of the following matters relevant to the subject matter of the pending action as follows: 1. You are the Superior Governing Board of the Property located at 1525 Carriage Lane, Lewes, DE. ANSWER: 2. You offer educational services to the public. 16 ANSWER: 3. The Plaintiff is a student at your facility on or about November 19, 2015. ANSWER: 4. At all times relevant to the allegations a merry go round existed on your property. ANSWER: 5. At or around November 19, 2015, Mr. Andrew Rafter provided supervision of the playground area. ANSWER: 6. At or around November 19, 2015, the playground area had 40 students under the supervision of Mr. Andrew Rafter. ANSWER: THE PLAINTIFF, Scott Siegel By: Lucy Legal Legal Cause, LLC. 231 Missouri Road Lewes, DE 19958 Juris No. 280498 (302) 645 – 2525 17 Internal Memorandum of Law To: Professor David Bondanza – Senior Attorney From: Paula Ridgeway - Paralegal Re: You have requested an analysis and recommendation regarding the Scott Siegel, minor, and Vincent Siegel v. Delaware Public School District and Andrew Rafter, Negligence case. As a result of my research and analysis, I offer this recommendation. Date: February 9, 2016 Statement of Facts: Scott Siegel (a minor child), was injured on November 19, 2015, when he suffered injuries sustained from the fall of the merry go round. Scott was playing on the merry go round with about ten (10) other students, when he fractured the fibular in his left leg. Scott Siegel’s personal safety on this occasion was solely entrusted to Andrew Rafter, by the Delaware Public School District, at the time Scott suffered his injuries. Mr. Rafter was approximately 20 feet away, with his back to the merry go round. Vincent Siegel now seeks judgment for damages against Delaware Public School District and Andrew Rafter for negligent supervision. Vincent Siegel also claims that as a result of Delaware Public School District’s negligence in failing to comply with state and local safety codes, Scott’s injury required him to wear a cast for six weeks and then undergo physical therapy due to the severity of the break. Scott was one of approximately 40 students under the supervision of Mr. Rafter. Vincent Siegel 18 seeks judgment for damages against Delaware Public School District and Andrew Rafter for negligence. Issue(s) / Question(s) Presented: The questions presented are (1) Was there a legal duty owed to Scott by the school district and Mr. Rafter, and if so, was that duty breached? (2)Was there a legal duty owed to Vincent by the school district and Mr. Rafter, and if so, was that duty breached? Short Answer: Yes, there were in fact legal duties owed to Vincent Siegel on the part of each defendant; Delaware Public School District and Mr. Rafter. The legal duties that were owed to Vincent Siegel were as a matter of law, breached by each of the named defendants independently and collectively. (There are additional documents needed before proceeding with this case.) Rule / Applicable Statutes: DEL. CODE. ANN. TITLE 10 § 8132 § 8132 Comparative negligence. In all actions brought to recover damages for negligence which results in death or injury to person or property, the fact that the plaintiff may have been contributorily negligent shall not bar a recovery by the plaintiff or the plaintiff's legal representative where such negligence was not greater than the negligence of the defendant or the combined negligence of all defendants against 19 whom recovery is sought, but any damages awarded shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff. DEL. CODE. ANN. TITLE 14 § 1705A § 1705A Maximum student-instructor ratio requirements. (a) The ratio of students to instructors in any class in kindergarten or grades 1-3 in a Delaware public school shall not exceed 22 students as of the last school day of October. In calculating such ratio, a classroom instructional aide shall count as equal to half a teacher. This subsection shall only apply to a class within which students are instructed in the core academic subjects of English/Language Arts, mathematics, science and social studies. (b) The Department of Education shall provide technical assistance to any school district seeking assistance in allocating its Division I, Division III, Comprehensive Discipline Program, and local operating funding in such a manner as to accomplish class sizes equal to or lower than those required by this section. (c) A local school board may waive subsection (a) of this section after voting to waive such subsection at a public meeting noticed for that purpose. Any local school board vote on such a waiver shall occur on or before December 1 of each year. Notice for such a meeting shall be placed in the local newspaper for 2 consecutive weeks before the meeting and shall be posted on the door of any school affected for the same time period, and a copy shall be sent to the principal, teacher association building representative and Parent Teacher Organization/Parent Teacher Association parent leader of any affected school. The notice shall include the procedures for such 20 persons to provide oral or written comments on the proposed waiver to the school board. Notice of any approved waiver shall be sent to the same persons. (d) The State Auditor shall, in cooperation with the Department of Education, monitor compliance with this section in the audits of the boards of education of the schools district conducted pursuant to § 1504 of this title. Applicable Case Law: 1. Cromley v Loyalsock Township School District, 226 Pa.Super. 443 (1973) General Overview: The injured party “was injured solely as the result of defendant school district’s failure to properly supervise other students, the school grounds, the activities of students thereon, and minor plaintiff during class time.” Outcome: The court vacated the dismissal of plaintiff’s Complaint, using the Pensylvania Supreme Court abolishment of the doctrine of government immunity, Ayala v Philadelphia Board of Public Education, Pa. 305 A2d 877 (1973) Analogous: Cromley v Loyalsock Township School District and Vincent Siegel’s case are analogous in that plaintiffs in each case suffered injuries as a result of district’s failure to provide adequate supervision of the students and the school grounds during class time. Distinguishing: 21 Cromley v Loyalsock Township School District and Vincent Siegel’s case are distinguishing in that, the issues in Cromley surround two female students, inappropriate behavoir of teacher employed by school district. Wherein, our case involves violations of various state and local safety codes, negligence and negligent supervision of a minor child (plaintiff). Analysis: The court’s decision to vacate the dismissal of the plaintiff’s Complaint is an indication that Delaware Public School District and Andrew Rafter will have the burden of providing proof of adequate supervision and are not protected by government immunity. It is also likely the Delaware Public School District and Mr. Rafter will be held liable, due to the numerous state and local violations listed in the complaint. Conclusion: Cromley v Loyalsock Township School District is relevant in that the court’s decision to decision to vacate the dismissal, due to government immunity protection being removed on the defendants, suggests that (1) the court should be liable for injuries sustained by the plaintiff and (2) the court feels the defendants should have to answer to the complaint brought against them. (3) the court determines government immunity should not be applied. Cromley serves to remind each party to a claim of their respective obligations at trial. Ayala v Philadelphia Board of Public Education, Pa. 305 A2d 877 (1973) General Overview: This case involves a minor injured during class. The school district contended to be protected by government immunity. The court abolishing the doctrine of governmental immunity. Making the school board not immune from liability for injuries to 22 students in class. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the trial court's dismissal, by way of government immunity, the defendants were negligent and that this negligence was the proximate cause of the deaths. Outcome: The court reversed the order and abolished government immunity. Analogous: Ayala v Philadelphia Board of Public Education and Vincent Siegel’s case are analogous in that each plaintiff claims negligence by (1) the school district and (2) by other employees associated with the injuries. Both cases argue the questions of (a) matter of law, (b) proximate cause, (c) contributory negligence. Distinguishing: Ayala v Philadelphia Board of Public Education and Vincent Siegel’s case are distinguishing in that the victim in Ayala was an older minor male and limb was severed; whereas the victim in our case is a minor male child suffered a broken leg. Analysis: The court is clear in its position to abolish government immunity towards school boards and on school grounds, in its decision to vacate and remand for a new trial. The court’s wish to maintain the integrity by definition is a reasonable indication that the court will decide in favor of our client Mr. Siegel, on similar grounds. Conclusion: Ayala is an indication of the court’s desire to uphold the standards of providing proper supervision of students. This position is supportive of Vincent Siegel’s claim of negligence. 23 Kitchen v. Wilkinsburg School District., 306 A2d 294 (1973) General Overview: Two minors were injured after falling off the monkey bars. The complaint charged Wilkinsburg School District and the Borough of Wilkinsburg with negligence. . Outcome: The court granted plaintiff’s preliminary objections reversed on the basis of Ayala. Analogous: Kitchen v Wilkinsburg School District and Vincent Siegel’s case are analogous in that each case involves minors being injured on school grounds, directly or indirectly associated with the maintenance and supervision of a playground equipment. Each case involves various safety and negligent adult supervision of minor children. Defendants in each case may be deemed liable for the injuries sustained by the plaintiffs. Distinguishing: Kitchen v Wlkinsburg School District and Vincent Siegel’s case are distinguishing in that the minor children in Kichen were seriously injured, whereas in Vincent Siegel’s case the victim suffered a broken leg. Analysis: The court’s decision to reverse on the basis in Ayala is an indication that Delaware Public School District could bear the burden of proving adequate supervision on their part, as well as Mr. Rafter. Conclusion: Ayala is relevant in our case due to it abolishes government immunity and the court’s position can be supportive of the defendants in Vincent Siegel’s case. ...
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