How to Ace FYLSE/2009 J Q1
Patty is in the business of transporting human organs for transplant in City. She is paid only upon timely delivery of a viable organ; the delay of an hour can make an organ nonviable. David transports gasoline over long distances in a tank truck. Recently, he was hauling gasoline through City. As David was crossing a bridge in City, his truck skidded on an oily patch and became wedged across the roadway, blocking all traffic in both directions for two hours. Patty was delivering a kidney and was on the bridge several cars behind David when the accident occurred. The traffic jam caused Patty to be two hours late in making her delivery and made the kidney nonviable. Consequently, she was not paid the $1,000 fee she would otherwise have received. Patty contacted Art, a lawyer, and told him that she wanted to sue David for the loss of her fee. “There isn’t a lot of money involved,” she said, “but I want to teach David a lesson. David can’t possibly afford the legal fees to defend this case, so maybe we can put him out of business.” Art agreed and, concluding that he could not prove negligence against David, decided that the only plausible claim would be one based on strict liability for ultrahazardous activity. Art filed a suit based on that theory against David on behalf of Patty, seeking recovery of damages to cover the $1,000 fee Patty lost. The facts recited in the first three paragraphs above appeared on the face of the complaint. David filed a motion to dismiss. The court granted the motion on the grounds that the complaint failed to state a cause of action and that, in any event, the damages alleged were not recoverable. It entered judgment in David’s favor. David then filed suit against Patty and Art for malicious prosecution. 1. Did the court correctly grant David’s motion to dismiss on the grounds stated? Discuss. 2. What is the likely outcome of David’s suit for malicious prosecution against Patty and Art? Discuss.