Court Case Analysis
Case problem 6.1
In this case, yes, the plaintiff could maintain a cause of action for negligence under the facts provided because the plaintiff’s illness was caused by a defect in the manufacture of the product. According to the facts given, the soft drink was in order before the plaintiff consumed it. After contracting an illness, the contents of the soft drink were examined upon which it was revealed that the bottle contained other components apart from the required ones. It is these other components namely decomposed body of a mouse, mouse hair and mouse feces that were proven to be the cause of the plaintiff’s illness. Being that these components were not to be part of the soft drink, the quality of the drink was undesirable. The error could therefore be said to be a defect in the manufacture of the product.
The doctrine of strict liability applies to this case whether or not the manufacturer’s actions were deliberate. In such a scenario the plaintiff does not have to give evidence that indeed the manufacture was negligent, he or she only has to prove that the product was truly defective, thus making it prone to causing injury. This means that the appeal by Shoshone Coca-Cola Bottling Company may not hold. The company is seeking to establish proof that the mouse was in the bottle of ‘Squirt’ when it left their possession. The doctrine of strict liability does not emphasize on the provision of such evidence.
Under the theory of negligence, harm is caused through a person’s failure to exercise care as he or she should. Whenever a case regarding negligence is taken to court, the plaintiff is obligated to prove that indeed the defendant was supposed to act with reasonable care towards them but failed to do so resulting in harm. Therefore, injury to the plaintiff must have been a consequence of the defendant’s carelessness. This is in contrast to the theory of strict liability whereby the plaintiff is not in any way obligated to give evidence of the defendant’s carelessness. He or she only has to ascertain that the product responsible for their injury was defective, that they were injured, and the injury was caused by the defect.
One other difference is that injuries caused under the theory of negligence are mainly because of carelessness while those under the theory of strict liability result from defective products. As opposed to liability for harm under the theory of strict liability, the injury under the theory of negligence is foreseeable. Because the defendant already knows their duty towards the plaintiff, it is possible to avoid the injury before it happens, just by doing the right thing. Under the theory of strict liability, the defendant cannot foresee the consequences of their actions especially because injuries caused are not only out of carelessness.
Case problem 7.3
One of the ethical violations presented in this case is that the Moseley’s were trading off Victoria’s Secret famous name. Although the two names differ, they can easily be confused due to their closeness in pronunciation. In as much as the products on offer are not the same, they are related, and customers may shop at one store thinking it is the other. The Moseley’s store sells women’s lingerie, which happens to be the specialty of Victoria’s Secret. It is therefore not farfetched to think that the Moseley’s were quite aware of the benefits of having their store name closely resemble that of the famous Vitoria’s Secret.
In concurrence with the above, it could also be said that the new legislation favored famous trademark holders. In the case study, Victoria’s Secret is much more famous than the Moseley’s brand. It is therefore more likely to assume that the less famous brand would reap off the success of the more famous one. In a case where the little known brand is completely oblivious of the success of the more famous brand, then the alteration in the previously existing law does not favor them. This is because the said brands did not deliberately seek to gain from the famous trademark holder.
Another way to look at the above issue is through the net profits being made. Famous trademarks are known to make a lot of money, thus contributing immensely to the government’s revenue. Therefore, the government may feel obligated to protect the rights of these trademark holders in order to protect their source of income. This factor could also form part of the reason for altering the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 to favor Victoria’s Secret. This in itself is unethical as it hinders the implementation of justice where it is required.
Legally, the congress was seen to use its superiority to overrule the Supreme Court’s decision, a matter which when carefully thought about could raise ethical issues in the legal field. Although the congress has more power than the Supreme Court, many people may wonder whether its decision was put in place for the benefit of majority or only a few parties.
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