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IRAC Case Analysis of a Civil Case

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Dan operates a factory that makes peanut butter in the City of Zealand. The factory has been making peanut butter for more than 50 years. Dan factory was located in an area zoned for factory use where 10 other factories were located. All of the other factories have closed. The factory emits smoke and the odor of peanuts. However all emissions from the factory are within all governmental regulations.

Five years ago, the City of Zealand changed the zoning for the property where the abandoned factories stood to residential. The City then tore down an old factory near Dan's Factory and built a large public park a block from Dan's factory. Amy, a resident of Zealand thinks that the smoke and odor from the factory interferes with the resident's enjoyment of the park. Amy has filed a nuisance suit against Dan and seeks to recover the diminution in value of the park.

Explain why Amy will or will not succeed in her action.

Four years ago, Developer bought one of the abandoned factories two blocks from Dan's and converted it to 24 condominium units. Three years ago, Bob bought one of the units for $250,000. Two years ago, Bob got transferred by his company to Hawaii. Bob has been trying to sell his condo for more than a year but the best offer he has received is $75,000 because the buyers claim they can smell peanuts. Bob sues Dan for nuisance.

Explain why Bob will or will not prevail.

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Issue: The issue in this case is whether or not Amy will succeed in her action, that included the filing of a nuisance suit against Dan, to recover the diminution in the value of a park, due to the fact that it is her belief that smoke and odor from Dan's factory interferes with the residents' enjoyment of the park, and will Bob succeed in his action to sue Dan for nuisance, due to Bob's belief that the smell from Dan's peanut butter factory has caused a depreciation in the value of Bob's ...

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(Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion) method in a business context


The IRAC Method The IRAC method is an instructional tool that can aid students in the comprehension and evaluation of information so that they can make informed value decisions. It is an acronym for Issue, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion. Although this is a legal model used to evaluate hypothetical situations in law cases, it is by no means limited to the study of the law. Useful for case studies presented in varied mediums such as narratives, videos/films, or recordings, the IRAC method may be applied to other activities such as defining a term or demonstrating a concept, principle, relationship, analogy, or contrasting idea. Often the instructional focus is on the end result of case study discussion rather than on how to "walk through" a method or approach to be used by the students in the case analysis.
By using the IRAC method, social studies teachers can help their students acquire a process for analyzing a case study. This building block method, which starts with smaller chunks of material, develops understanding relationships. It enhances the immediate application of learning by translating theory into practice to help students enlarge their vocabulary and attain new concepts. The method demonstrates to students that the correct analysis of a case gives them an evaluation and verification tool to assist them in making meaningful value judgments.
Acquisition of a Process to Analyze Case Studies
A case study is a realistic application or demonstration of a theory or principle. The student is required to relate textbook material to a concrete situation and then make a practical judgment. Students can relate to case studies because they understand that they could possibly find themselves in similar situations.
After reading, viewing, or hearing a case, students use the IRAC method to recognize the facts that raise the issues. They then apply the elements of the rule or definition to the facts to verify or disprove the issues in the conclusion.
Students' analytical skills are developed through a systematic mastery of complex problem solving in a rational manner. Students become more aware of their own abilities and limitations and are given the opportunity to practice in a positive environment.
Another variation of this method includes informing students about the entire case-i.e., issues, rules, analysis, and conclusions-and then soliciting their input. In another method, the teacher presents two cases with all of the aforementioned elements and does not tell the students which is the correct one. The teacher then has them choose. The danger in using either of these methods is that the student is slighted. The teacher has done too much work for the students, who are not required to discover the issue, review the rule, and analyze the facts to determine the correct conclusion (Lee 19X3).
An Example of the IRAC Method
Case: John told Sara that his sports car would travel 150 mph on the freeway. John was anxious to impress Sara, so he crossed the double yellow lines to pass the car in front of him. A car was coming from the opposite direction and was forced off the road; the other driver sustained head injuries when his car overturned.
Issue: Has negligence been demonstrated?
Rule: Negligence requires that a duty was owed, that the duty was breached, and that the breach was the actual and proximate cause of damage.
Analysis: As a driver on the public freeway, John owed a duty of due care not to pass a car when double yellow lines divide the road. John had a duty not to expose this foreseeable plaintiff to an unreasonable risk of harm. John failed to act as a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances when he passed a car. John breached his duty of care when he violated a statute not to cross the double yellow lines. John is the actual cause of the other driver's injury; but for John, the accident would not have occurred. It was foreseeable that another car would be coming from the opposite direction. John is the proximate cause of the driver's personal and property damage because there is a connection between John's action and the result.
Conclusion: John is liable for negligence because he violated a statute.
Instead of plunging into the case analysis, the student takes the elements of negligence, applies them to the facts, and builds a relationship so that a conclusion can be reached. The five elements are essential if negligence is to be proved. The student is responsible for verifying each element in the facts that corresponds with the rule. The conclusion will be correct if this method is used.

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