TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Real-Life Documents, Installment 1

Since this blog is largely directed at torts profs (though the rest of y'all are welcome, too), I'm going to periodically share documents I've found useful in teaching.  Here's the first installment.

One of my interests is, oddly enough, amusement park safety (see my other site for much more about that).  I occasionally make FOIA requests of the CPSC and other federal and state agencies, sometimes for things that relate to my scholarship -- see this article, forthcoming in Capital University Law Review, for one example -- but often for more general background.

A recent acquisition is the report of the CPSC's investigation into a carnival ride called the Sizzler that fell apart in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, in 2004, killing one patron and seriously injuring another.  I've found that very few if any law students have seen CPSC reports or anything of the kind, and that it can be valuable to spend a little time walking through such documents to give a sense of what one might find in discovery.

Similarly, I have about a dozen documents from the state investigation and civil litigation that resulted from a death of a patron on the Superman: Ride of Steel coaster at Six Flags New England (which happens to be five minutes or so from the law school).  Last year, the facts and documents from that case provided something of a storyline for the entire course -- the lawsuit even included intentional claims.

Other torts profs: what do you use along these lines?  Torts students: what do you wish your profs used?  Lawyers: what do you wish your profs used?  Use the comments field or send me a note.

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