Torts Hypothetical (Just for Fun)

During these turbulent times, students and professors are actively engaged in politics, law, and thinking about the intersection of the two (and the places where the two should remain independent).  This engagement is necessary, but it is also fundamentally important that students and professors prioritize their apolitical duties of abstract and dispassionate critical reading, reasoning, and writing.  In that spirit, here is a fun practice exam hypothetical that I gave my students to prepare for their closed-book torts exam on Friday.  The actual exam essay is much longer and more convoluted, but this allows students to practice tackling claims systematically.

Answers will be up tomorrow!

Mary Sue, aged 19 years, was riding her bike down the road, and, not paying attention, she crashed into a tree.  Miles from home in a largely deserted area and afraid she was hurt, Mary Sue ran onto the property of Mr. and Ms. Douglas, close friends whom she was supposed to visit later that day.  The day before, it had snowed, and the Douglas family had not yet had a chance to shovel their driveway.  Mary Sue, already in a dazed condition, slipped and fell on a small patch of ice near the porch.  At this point, Mary Sue noticed that her hand, which was critical to her violin career, was bruised and bleeding.  The Douglas family’s personal chef, Winston, then came outside.  When he saw Mary Sue, he berated her, shouting, “Why do you always get into these scrapes?  What is wrong with you?  You’re a horrible, stupid girl, and you have no value.”  Mary Sue, who is an extra sensitive person, felt completely demoralized and wretched.

Mary Sue wishes to sue for all the pain she experienced.  What are her claims, and what arguments can defendants make to refute the elements of those claims?  Also, what affirmative defenses, if any, do defendants have?  For disputed parts of the analysis, make sure to compare to cases.  Assume a jurisdiction that follows the Restatement of Torts.