On the following pages, you will find two fact scenarios dealing with intentional torts, and one fact scenario dealing with unintentional torts. Apply the concepts of unintentional torts.
1. Marlon is angry at his neighbour Newman over a dispute about who should pay for a fence between their two properties. Marlon is aware that Newman is a heavy drinker and often drives his car after he has had a few drinks. One afternoon, after he saw Newman lurch unsteadily out of his house and down the steps, get in his car, and drive off, Marlon called 911 and reported that he just saw a vehicle that appeared to be in the control by a driver under the influence. He stated the vicinity, and gave the officer the plate number of Newman’s vehicle.
Newman was stopped by police eleven blocks from his home. A breathalyzer test was administered, but according to the roadside breathalyzer results he was not impaired by alcohol. However, during roadside sobriety testing Newman was unable to walk in a straight line. He also gave the officer answers that did not always relate to the questions the officer had asked. The officer believed Newman to be impaired by drugs. As a result, he was charged with impaired driving and was taken to the police station for further testing. After additional testing Newman was released and charges were withdrawn. Newman told the police that he had given up drinking two months before his arrest. He was able to satisfy police that his unsteadiness was a result of an ear infection for which he had been prescribed medication. In fact, when he was stopped by police he was on his way to his doctor’s office to have his ear checked because he did not feel the medication he had been prescribed was working. Newman’s doctor, given permission by her patient, confirmed to police that the ear infection of two weeks’ duration had affected both Newman’s hearing and his balance. She further confirmed that the ear drops she had prescribed would not have impaired Newman’s ability to drive.
Does Newman have grounds for a civil action against Marlon? Please identify the tort/s that may apply in these circumstances, and discuss whether Newman has a remedy. Provide reasons for your answer, with reference to the fact situation and the law.
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