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Question: Case Study

Goofey, Massive, Badboy and Spiv are members of a famous four-piece rap music act called “Parental Advisory Crew”. To celebrate the release of their latest CD, they hold a concert in a London park. The concert is being shown live on television, and is supposed to begin with a fireworks display, organised by Rocket Ltd. Owing to Rocket Ltd’s negligence, there is a huge explosion which demolishes the stage and injures the four band members.

Advise all of the following claimants as to their claims in negligence against Rocket Ltd:

· Alice is Goofey’s fiancée. She has been engaged to Goofey for two years, but does not live with him, because she and Goofey are morally opposed to cohabitation before marriage. She is standing in the audience, at a safe distance from the explosion, when she sees Goofey get all his teeth knocked out by a microphone stand that has been thrown into the air by the blast. She thinks Goofey has been killed. In fact, however, Goofey has only sustained injury to his teeth, and is subsequently fitted with an attractive set of dentures. For months after the event, Alice cannot lead a normal life. She cries every day, and frequently has nightmares in which she dreams that Goofey has died.

· Belinda is Massive’s personal trainer. She is standing backstage when the explosion occurs. She rushes onto the burning stage to try to save her client from being burned alive. Unfortunately, she is too late, and Massive dies in her arms. Belinda, suffers post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of this experience.

· Celine is Badboy’s step-sister. She is not present at the concert, but she sees live television pictures of the explosion. She suffers immediate shock when she sees flames engulf the turntables behind which Badboy is standing. She subsequently becomes an alcoholic and has to give up work.

· Daisy met Spiv two weeks ago in a bar in New York. Acting on impulse, they got married. Daisy is not present at the concert, as she is having dinner with her new lover. She learns about the disaster when a friend sends her a text. She immediately drives to the scene, where she is told by a policeman that Spiv has been taken to hospital. Daisy drives to the hospital, but by the time she gets there Spiv has died. She identifies his body in the hospital mortuary. Daisy has now developed a drug problem which has resulted in a change in her personality. She blames this on the shock of her husband’s death.

Answer: This question is concerned with psychiatric illness. This area of law is not coherent and answers are to be found in “not in logic but in policy”. To succeed in a claim for damages for psychiatric illness, certain hurdles have to be overcome. Firstly the psychiatric illness has to be medically recognised, as stated by Lord Denning in Heinz v Berry, “no damages are awarded for grief or sorrow”. Hence the courts have the difficult task of distinguishing between normal human emotion and psychiatric illness. Where Alice is concerned, we are told that Alice cries every day and frequently has nightmares, and cannot lead a normal life. Whether this is likely to be found to be psychiatric illness is doubtful. If not, then Alice cannot claim damages. If she is found to have a psychiatric......(short extract)

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Details: - Mark: 76% | Course: Tort Law | Year: 2nd/3rd | Words: 1880 | References: No | Date written: Not available | Date submitted: November 27, 2012 | Coursework ID: 754

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