You are an associate at Tucker, Daniels & Petty, a law firm in Savannah, Georgia. Marshall Tucker, a name partner of the firm, comes to you with an assignment.
Marshall tells you that the firm is representing Rayonier Performance Fibers, LLC and CSX Transportation, Inc. in a case pending in state court in Chatham County. (You’re not sure how the firm can represent two defendants with potentially conflicting interests but you assume that the senior partners have gotten waivers or otherwise figured out how to handle this.)
Marshall explains that the case is past the Motion to Dismiss stage – various parties have made motions and all of these motions have been denied. The case is now in the Discovery phase although there has been some discovery performed of Rayonier and CSX.
Marshall is seeking your help to identify and understand the claims being made against Rayonier and CSX; the defenses available to them; and the facts that will be necessary to support or hurt the claims and the defenses.
Marshall gives you a copy of the Complaint and points out that the primary claim against your clients is negligence. Although paragraph 93 alleges that all defendants acted willfully and seeks punitive damages, Marshall tells you not to address those allegations in your memo. He also tells you not to consider whether Rayonier and CSX should assert cross-claims and third party claims beyond those already filed; Marshall has someone else working on those.
Marshall emphasizes that you should focus on the claims plaintiffs have asserted against Rayonier and CSX and the defenses available to them. Specifically, he wants you to answer the following questions:
• What are the elements of negligence that plaintiffs must prove? (Duty, breach, causation, damages) What facts does the Complaint allege that support those elements? What additional facts might hinder proving the elements of negligence? (Marshall instructs you to ignore the damages element for now.)
• What are the defenses that Rayonier and CSX can make against plaintiffs’ claims of negligence? What facts would support or hurt these claims?
• Whether the statements made by Rayonier’s employee, Tina Kicklighter, were sufficient to create direct and/or indirect (vicarious) tort liability for Rayonier, her employer. What additional facts would you need to know to more fully answer this question?
Introduction – includes framing the legal issues and perhaps includes a brief factual summary
Analysis/Discussion – includes your legal reasoning
Conclusion – summarizes the results of your research and analysis
IMPORTANT: Primarily use the outlines that are attached and the complaint filling to answer the questions, only if these do not cover the material use other sources.
When referencing or citing to sources, You must give citations for all sources, but once you cite a source, you may simply refer to it again by a shortened version of the name as long as it is clear what source you are referring to. Use endnotes rather than cite in text or in footnotes, but use the name of any case in the text. The page or pages of endnotes will not count against the five page limit.