• April 9th, 2016

Higher Education and Law Case Study 1

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

Write a 850-1050-word paper in which you address all of the following questions for the cases:

1. The court cites the seminal case of Mazart v. State of New York, which is discussed on pp. 702-7-3 of the Student Version. How does the court’s analysis in Lewis compare with Mazart?

2. Given the outcome in Lewis, how would you recommend that colleges and universities structure their relationship, if any, with the student newspaper? Would the fact that a student newspaper has a faculty advisor be more likely to suggest that the institution has some control, and thus potential liability, for the acts of student editors and journalists?

Nova Southeastern University, Inc. v. Gross
1. What is the institution’s legal duty with respect to a student for whom it arranges an off-campus internship or practicum?

2. If the institution required the student to arrange her own internship or practicum, what would the institution’s legal duty be?

3. Is there any other way, in addition to warning students about any known dangers, that the institution could protect itself from liability (for example, having the student sign a waiver)?

4. If the internship were a noncredit activity that was recommended but not required by the institution, would this change the legal standard of duty?

5. Change the facts and assume that the plaintiff is a nonstudent who was injured by the actions of a student working in a required internship (for example, a student injured by the actions of a student teacher). What institutional liability, if any, might attach?

For a thoughtful analysis of the “special relationship” doctrine, see Webb v. the University of Utah, 125 P.3d 906 (Utah 2005), in which the court rejected the plaintiff’s assertion that being required during a field trip to walk on an icy sidewalk by a faculty member, with an ensuing fall and injury, created a “special relationship” such that the institution was liable for his injury. The court concluded:

It is certainly possible that a directive inducing detrimental reliance may be one that creates an unreasonable risk of harm to the people expected to follow it. Viewed objectively, we conclude that the directive to occupy and traverse the condominium sidewalk does not meet this standard. We reach this conclusion for several reasons. First, the directive given Mr. Webb’s class did not relate directly to the academic enterprise of the class. By this we mean that it is not reasonable to believe that any student would understand that his academic success, measured either by the degree of knowledge acquired or by the positive impression made on the instructor, turned on whether they abandoned all internal signals of peril to take a particular potentially hazardous route to view fault lines. . . . [T]he directive’s tangential relationship to the field trip’s academic mission leaves us with the firm conviction that it would not be reasonable for a student to rely on it. The instructor did not, therefore, exert the control which might be present in an academic setting to create a special relationship. 125 P.3d at 913.

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