Liza Lemon, Mayor of Rockville, was very excited on the morning of February 1, 2010. It was about 6:30 a.m. and she had just rolled out of bed. She was due to make an interview on the local radio program, WART FM (“Wart Radio”). Wart Radio had a listening audience that extended throughout all of Rockville.
Lemon made it to the radio station at approximately 7:15 a.m., excited about her interview with the “Talk of Rock” host, Henry Benton. Benton was known for asking tough, thought-provoking questions that would usually lead to the guest getting flustered, upset, and confused (but Henry didn’t care; after all – it meant higher ratings!). Live on the radio, Liza took her seat and almost immediately, Henry began his style of rapid-fire questioning.
A portion of the transcript is as follows:
Henry: “So what do you think about city councilman, Jay Krass?”
Liza: “I think Jay Krass gets upset too easily and I hear he doesn’t pay his taxes.”
Henry: “Interesting. Well what about city councilwoman, Jenna Balogne?”
Liza: “She enjoys peeping into people’s windows at night, without their permission. An awful lady, indeed.”
Henry: “I really appreciate you being frank.”
Liza: “My name is Liza. Mayor Liza Lemon. Not Frank.”
Henry: “Surely you must be joking (laughing).”
Liza: “Again, my name is Liza, not Shirley.”
For the most part, the other parts of the interview were rather tame. The show wrapped up about 8:00 a.m. Benton thanked Liza, and she left the studio.
In the car, Liza thought to herself, “I am glad I said what I did. I will be glad to get rid of that stupid Jenna. When people hear about that peeping lie, they would never re-elect her!” (Mr. Krass was, in fact, having substantial tax problems.)
It turns out later that the WART tower was having technical difficulties from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. that morning. Therefore, there was extreme static during about 60% of Benton’s interview with Lemon.
If Looks Could Kill
Liza ended up stopping, on her way home, at the local American Beagle. She needed some new lime green sweat pants. Once inside the Beagle, she was walking along the different shelves, picking up sweat pants and putting them back down, picking them up and putting them down. Suddenly, a large American Beagle security guard approached her. The guard informed Lemon that he saw her shoplifting a pair of brown sweat pants.
Liza couldn’t believe it. “I didn’t do it!” she cried as the guard roughly grabbed her arm and began to drag her to a nearby office. “I didn’t do it! Please, help me!” she cried.
The more Liza screamed and flailed about, the angrier the Beagle guard became. In fact, to subdue Liza, the guard punched her in the back of the head.
Eventually, she was escorted (i.e. “dragged”) inside a storage room and sat (i.e. “pushed”) down in a chair.
The guard left, without locking the door. “That will teach her to talk about my girlfriend, Jenna, on the radio,” the Beagle guard thought to himself as he left Liza alone in the room (he had to go to the other side of the store to use the telephone.)
However, after the guard left the area, Liza saw her chance. She ran out the room (after opening the door), ran through the store (and opened the front door to the store), into the parking lot, and clammered into her vehicle, her head still aching from the swift punch.
Coming to Terms
As Liza sat in her car, trying to compose herself and shaking from the cold, she noticed a large van pulling up to the loading dock towards the rear of the American Beagle. The side of the van stated, “Clothing Manufacturing, Co.”
“I’ll get even with this company,” Liza thought.
The driver of the van entered the front of the store, stopping to talk with the guard (who was questioning people if they had seen a woman running out of the store).
Liza snuck into the front seat of the idling van and grabbed the shipping manifest, a paper which laid out how many pairs of shirts were being delivered, and at what price. Liza swiped the manifest, crumbling it up and put it in her pocket. She ran back to her car, and hastily sped away (just as the police arrived; they had been called by the Beagle guard).
Three months later, there was a contractual dispute between American Beagle and Clothing Manufacturing, Co. The dispute centered around a delivery of shirts and socks on February 1, 2010. American Beagle and Clothing Manufacturing could not come to terms and Clothing Manufacturing stopped providing apparel to American Beagle. Because of this, American Beagle had to get its clothes from the more expensive clothing manufacturer, Outfits R Us, and lost hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Your Mission (Should You Choose to Accept It)
You are to answer the following question:
As an attorney, identify two torts from the above fact pattern. Who are you going to represent and for what? Who are you going to sue? What are the elements? How are they applied to the fact pattern? Is there anything that could possibly stand in the way of you being successful in your suit? What would help you win your suit? Is there any physical evidence that would help your case? (think “IRAC”) How about witnesses? Documents? Are there any additional facts that, if known, would help you win your case? What is the likely outcome of the litigation? What damages do you think would be appropriate? What damages do you believe to be inappropriate? Do other attorneys in the forum have their act together, or are there key elements they are forgetting?