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Joe buys a $25,000 computer system for his office. He then hires an alarm company to install a security system, after advising the alarm company about the expensive computer system. A week later the security system is installed. A few weeks later, the office is burglarized and the computer system is stolen. Joe's insurance policy has an exclusion clause for computers unless they're listed in a separate schedule and a special premium is paid (which didn't take place in this case). After some investigation, Joe's attorney determines that the alarm company failed to properly test the equipment. If they had, they would have discovered the defect in the system and coul'ave corrected it. The alarm company argues that the alarm system failure was caused by a defective part, and that they're not responsible for the problem. Can Joe recover $25,000 from the alarm company?

Would it change the analysis if Joe's office manager signed a statement on the day the security system was installed that said that the system was satisfactory and met all specifications in the contract and that the alarm company wouldn't be responsible for an losses caused by a malfunction?


An explosion takes place in an adjacent building and one of Al's customers is burned by flames that immediately spread to Al's premises. The customer claims that Al was negligent because he failed to install smoke detectors as required by the local building code. Who wins and why?


A woman buys the Mustang, thinking it was an 8 cylinder based on the salesman's representation. It turns out to be a 6 cylinder engine. She sues. Who wins and why?


Jane Mitchell, age 16, was shopping at her neighborhood Oscar's Drug Store. She had been looking at magazines as she waited for a friend. She decided to purchase a 'Tiger Beat' magazine and then wait for her friend outside the store. She paid for the magazine, but as she headed for the door, the store manager used the store's loudspeaker system to announce, 'You, with the green hair and the maroon Doc Marten's on. Yes, you, by the front of the store. I saw you take that magazine. Stop right there. I have a gun pointed at you.' Jane sues Oscar's. Who wins and why?

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Solution Summary

The issue here becomes whether the alarm company owed a duty of care to Joe and whether that duty was breached and caused Joe's damages. The elements for negligence are:
1. Duty
2. Breach
3. Causation
4. Damages

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Below are some suggested responses.

1. The issue here becomes whether the alarm company owed a duty of care to Joe and whether that duty was breached and caused Joe's damages. The elements for negligence are:
1. Duty
2. Breach
3. Causation
4. Damages

The defendant must owe a duty of care to the plaintiff. Each person owes a duty to behave as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances. The reasonable person standard is an objective one. In this case, the alarm company did owe a duty to Joe to ensure that the alarm equipment was installed properly and that there were no defects. After the initial investigation, it is discovered that the alarm company could have corrected the problem. Therefore, the alarm company breached their duty to install their products properly.

Next, the breach of that duty must have been the cause of injury. All members of society have a duty to exercise reasonable care toward others and their property. A person who engages in activities that pose an unreasonable risk toward others and their property that actually results in harm, breaches their duty of reasonable care. For a defendant to be held liable, it must be shown ...

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