Legal Analysis Paper


Dick Dastardly recently finished rebuilding his car (a 1964 Ford Mustang). Dick, who was not a professional mechanic, considered himself “fairly handy with tools”. Dick repaired or replaced every part of the car’s drive train. Unfortunately, he was unable to locate a new master cylinder (the master cylinder provides the pressure necessary to engage a car’s brakes). After examining the master cylinder that was in his car, Dick concluded that “it may not be new, but it looks pretty good”.

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Dick had the car towed to a vacant lot. He test drove the car several times. Everything seemed to work “just fine”. The next day (July 15), Dick decided to drive from his home in Gig Harbor, WA, to his friend’s home in Tacoma, WA. It was a beautiful sunny day. Dick enjoyed the drive even more when he retracted the convertible top. Dick wished the sun was a little less glaring. “If only I had remembered to bring my sunglasses” thought Dick. When he was only a few block from his friend’s house, Dick’s dog (Muttley) barked loudly, jumped out of the car and landed on Main Street.

In order to avoid hitting his beloved pet, Dick slammed on his brakes and swerved hard to the right. Unfortunately, Dick struck a telephone pole, which fell onto a fire hydrant causing water to gush. The gushing water caused a mailbox to fall over, which then struck Penelope Pitstop. Just prior to the accident Penelope had been enjoying the day, laughing and randomly throwing rocks at the mail box that later fell on her. Penelope, who suffered from hemophilia, a rare bleeding disorder in which blood doesn’t clot normally, was rushed to the hospital. Because of her hemophilia, Penelope nearly died and had to spend an extra two weeks of recovery in the intensive care unit. Three months later Penelope (who received some pretty bad care while she was in recovery), was released from the hospital.

After consulting with her attorney, Penelope sues Dick in negligence.

As part of this analysis, you must use the following rule of law:

Rule: A defendant is liable for negligence if the following elements can be proven:

The defendant owes a duty of care to the plaintiff;
The defendant committed a breach of this duty;
The breach was the actual and proximate cause of injury;
The plaintiff was harmed.
NOTE: Make sure your analysis includes a discussion of the “eggshell rule”.

What is the likely result? Your analysis should explore, in detail, the arguments each party will make.

Your analysis must be in the form of an IRAC (i.e., Issue; Rule; Application; Conclusion). If you are unfamiliar with the IRAC method, please review the sample essays posted in this week’s module, as well as the following IRAC sources:




PLEASE NOTE: THIS ASSIGNMENT MAY BE COMPLETED INDIVIDUALLY OR AS A GROUP. That said, this project is designed to take approximately 30 – 40 hours to complete. This includes the time it takes to research, read, write and proofread. Accordingly, I strongly recommend completing the assignment as a group. If you choose to work on this assignment as a group, groups may be as small as two members, but no more than 4 members. You are expected to organize your own group. Each member of the group must submit the same paper. The names of each member of your group must be at the top of the paper (formatted as noted below), and all members agree to receive the same grade. Whether you complete this assignment as a group or individually, you may not discuss any aspect of this assignment with any other person; except, of course, your instructor or a librarian (for assistance with research).

Paper Format: THE PAPER SHOULD BE AT LEAST 1200 WORDS AND NOT MORE THAN 1500 WORDS (TIMES NEW ROMAN, 12 POINT FONT). All papers must be uploaded as a Word document. In addition, you must have: (1) A title page, and (2) A bibliography listing all sources consulted. NOTE: The title page and bibliography are not part of the minimum word count.

Outside research is required. You must incorporate research from at least four scholarly sources (e.g., case-law, statutes, legal journals, etc.). If you are not certain what qualifies as a scholarly source, you may want to consult a college librarian. If you conduct internet research, scholarly sources usually end with a .gov or .edu extension. Popular internet sources (e.g., wikipedia, law firm websites, etc.) do not count as scholarly sources. Such popular sources may be consulted for informational purposes, but may not be cited to or quoted from in the paper. All quotations must be carefully noted. Quotations should also be limited to no more than 15% of the paper. You must incorporate a minimum of four scholarly sources into your analysis. You must cite all relevant sources and make clear the extent to which outside sources were used. Words or ideas that require citation include, but are not limited to, all hard copy or electronic publications. Full blown citations are not necessary, but must contain sufficient information to identify the source (i.e., full name), the author(s) and the date.

The research sources identified below will provide you with most (if not all) of the information you will need for for your analysis. Accordingly, you should examine the following sources:

General Research:

1. Many of EVCC’s vendors have given us free expanded access to their databases through June 30. Please take advantage of them. All the links can be found at (Links to an external site.)
EBSCO article databases provide approximately twice the full-text coverage of our current subscriptions:
Academic Search Complete
Business Source Complete
CINAHL Complete
Ebooks — now include collections in business, education, history and nursing
JSTOR: Currently we subscribe to seven of their archive journal collections. The material below is all available from the JSTOR database link.
An additional 13 archive and primary source collections (Links to an external site.)
More than 35,000 ebooks (Links to an external site.)
The librarians are here to support you and your students as we all move online. Please feel free to contact them with your questions and requests.
2. Washington Legal Research: (Links to an external site.)

Relevant Statutes:

1. Contributory Fault: (Links to an external site.)

Relevant Cases:

1. Hickley v. Bare: (Links to an external site.)

2. Gleason v. Cohen: (Links to an external site.)

3. Klein v. Werner: (Links to an external site.)

Secondary Sources:

1. Washington Jury Instructions (Eggshell Plaintiff): (Links to an external site.)

2. Eggshell Plaintiff: (Links to an external site.)

3. Negligence in Washington: (Links to an external site.)

4. Washington State Car Accident Compensation Laws: (Links to an external site.)

5. Washington Jury Instructions (Negligence—Risk—Misconduct—Proximate Cause): (Links to an external site.)

Nonacademic Sources:

1. Comparative Negligence: (Links to an external site.)

Nonacademic Sources (NOTE: These sources are not to be cited to or quoted from, but provide helpful general information information that may lead you to useful academic sources):

Your textbook is also a good source for general information, but is not designed to provide an in depth analysis of Washington law.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need further assistance.

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