Question No. 4: Facts and Interrogatories
John, a successful stockbroker in M-City, Pennsylvania, began attending crack cocaine parties with some of his friends. Before long, John was addicted to cocaine and was spending $300 a day on his drug habit. In early December, 1998, after reporting to work late for the third day in a row, John was terminated from his employment.
Having spent all of his money on his drug habit, John became desperate to obtain drugs. One night, in an effort to obtain money for his drug habit, John took his loaded handgun, which he had a license to carry, to downtown M-City and approached Mary, a wealthy-looking woman who was walking alone. While holding the handgun in his right hand, John approached Mary and told her that he would shoot her if she did not give him her purse. Mary, overcome with fear, did nothing except stare at the gun which she observed was about six inches long and had a white handle. John ripped Mary's purse from her shoulder and fled the scene.
Immediately after the incident, Mary provided a description of the handgun and her stolen purse to the police. The description of both items was televised the next day on the morning news. The day after the incident, Fred, who lived two doors from John, went to John's apartment to borrow a cup of milk. While Fred was waiting for John to fill the measuring cup with milk, he saw a gun on John's coffee table which fit the description of the gun Fred had seen on the news earlier that morning. Fred also saw a purse near the couch which fit the description of the purse given on the morning news. Believing he could help solve a crime, Fred went back to his apartment and grabbed his camera. He returned to John's apartment and, with the camera hidden, asked John for another quarter cup of milk. When John went to get the milk, Fred took a photograph of the gun. When Fred left, he immediately went to the local l-hour photo shop. When the photo was almost developed, Fred called the police and told them what he had observed. The police detective told Fred to meet him at Mary's house with the photograph of the gun. At her house, Mary identified the gun as being similar to the one used the night before. Mary was also given a description of the purse by Fred and Mary confirmed that it sounded like it was hers. Based on Fred's personal observations of the gun and purse, the photograph taken by Fred of the gun, and Mary's identification of the gun and purse, the police secured and properly executed a search warrant for John's apartment for the gun and purse. When the evidence was seized, Mary positively identified her purse and the gun.
- Other than possession of an instrument of crime, with what crime(s) will John most likely be charged and convicted with regard to the incident involving Mary?
- After criminal charges are filed against John as a result of the incident with Mary, defense counsel files a motion to suppress the gun and purse as evidence at trial which attacks the foundation for the issuance of the search warrant. What arguments should the prosecution make in opposition to the Motion to suppress the gun and purse as evidence and with what likelihood of success?
While John was awaiting his trial date (being free on $50,000 bail posted by a stockbroker friend), he became saddened over what he had done to Mary. He called Father Bob who was the pastor at a parish which John had attended years ago. John asked Father Bob to meet him at a local restaurant for lunch. During lunch, John told Father Bob all about his drug usage, and he admitted fault for the unfortunate incident with Mary. Unbeknownst to John, a man named Larry was seated in the next booth. Larry overheard the conversation and reported it to the police. After Larry notified the police of the conversation, Larry was never heard from again by the police and was unavailable as a witness at trial.
- At trial, the prosecutor subpoenas Father Bob to testify as to John's admission of fault for the incident with Mary. As John's counsel, you would like to prevent Father Bob from testifying about this damaging admission. Other than hearsay, what objection would you raise to block this testimony and with what likelihood of success?
Question No. 5: Facts and Interrogatories
Cathy was employed by C City, Pennsylvania, as Chief of Police. She supervised a force of 25 police officers and reported directly to the Mayor of C City. Under C City policy, the police chief was appointed and could be terminated at the discretion of the Mayor, with or without cause. Paul was one of the police officers supervised by Chief Cathy. He was employed by C City on March 1, 1999, and under C City policy had to serve a probationary period of six months before becoming a permanent employee. The policy provided that the Police Chief could terminate a probationary employee without cause during the probationary period.
On June 1, 1999, Cathy issued a written reprimand to Paul for the unauthorized use of a police vehicle for personal business. The document was given to Paul, and a copy placed in his personnel file. Cathy informed no other person of this action. Paul, however, was outraged by the reprimand and contacted a reporter for a television station in C City. During a televised interview with the reporter on June 3, 1999, Paul stated, "For a long time it's been well known within the police department that Police Chief Cathy has been diverting money from the Police Benefit Fund for her own personal use."
The following day Cathy called Paul to her office and terminated his employment effective immediately because of the television interview. She then distributed copies of medical records from Paul's personnel file to the Mayor and all members of C City Council showing that Paul had been treated for mental illness a year before he was employed by C City, in an attempt to demonstrate that Paul's statements were attributable to his illness.
Meanwhile, the Mayor was investigating the expenditures from the Police Benefit Fund. The fund was comprised solely of money voluntarily donated by the police officers and was intended for social events, retirement gifts and similar purposes. No monies from C City were placed in the Fund. The Mayor's investigation disclosed two disbursements that Cathy made to herself within the past year without any documentation of the purpose of the expenditures.
Disgusted by the recent events, the Mayor terminated Cathy's employment on July 1, 1999. In a memo distributed that day to all members of C City Council, the Mayor stated, "I have found improprieties in the Police Benefit Fund and have terminated Cathy because she was responsible."
In reality, the two disbursements were to reimburse Cathy for money she had advanced for a police holiday party and a gold watch given to a retiring officer. Cathy had neglected to put documentation of these expenditures in the file.
- What claim or claims based upon the United States Constitution should Paul assert with respect to
- his termination because of the television interview, and
- Cathy's distribution of his medical records, and what will be the likely result?
- Advise C City whether, based upon the United States Constitution, Paul was entitled to a hearing before Cathy terminated his employment.
- What claim or claims, based upon the United States Constitution, should Cathy assert with respect to the termination of her employment by the Mayor, and what will be the likely result?
Question No. 7: Facts and Interrogatories
General Hospital ("General"), a privately-owned hospital in C City, recently hired Dr. Paul, a neurosurgeon, as a member of its staff. The other staff neurosurgeon is Dr. Donna. She opposed Dr. Paul's hiring because she didn't believe that there was enough work for two full-time neurosurgeons, and she feared losing patients and income to Paul. Both Paul and Donna were salaried employees of the hospital. All patients needing neurosurgery were processed though the department administrator, and patients were given a choice of either of the two neurosurgeons on staff. If the patient had no preference, patient assignments were alternated between Paul and Donna.
Paul began work at General on January 2, 1993. In May, 1993, he was told that his position had been eliminated, effective January 1, 1994, and that he should look for another position as soon as possible, but that he would continue to be paid through the end of the year. General justified its decision by the low volume of surgery performed by Paul since his arrival, as most patients chose Donna as their neurosurgeon. In fact, Paul and Donna performed the same number of operations in January, but, beginning in February, and continuing through April, Paul's work load decreased to about half of Donna's.
Paul soon found another position at H Hospital, in C City, which offered him the same salary and benefits as General. He began work at H Hospital in September of 1993.
Shortly after Paul began work at H Hospital, a former patient told Paul that Donna had told him and several other patients that she suspected that Paul had AIDS. In fact, Paul did not have AIDS, and he told the former patient so. The patient noted that Paul appeared to have become very thin, and Paul explained that, shortly after starting work at General, he had begun a reducing diet, and had lost more than 20 pounds.
Paul knew that Donna had opposed his hiring by General, and he believed that Donna had told patients that he had AIDS to influence patients' choices of neurosurgeons. He then contacted Attorney Alice to determine whether he could sue Donna for her statements to patients. Assume that the jurisdiction in which C City is located has no statute regulating disclosure of information about AIDS.
- This question contains two parts:
- What common law tort cause(s) of action, if any, does Paul have against Donna?
- Assume that Paul suffered no loss of income or other pecuniary losses as a result of Donna's statement. Would the cause(s) of action described in response to Question a, above, still be available? Explain.
- Upon being served with the Complaint, Donna consults you to represent her in the case. You agree to do so, and ask Donna to respond to the factual allegations in the Complaint. Donna tells you that she was worried about the patients' safety, having recently read in a magazine about transmission of AIDS from a physician to a patient. Donna says that when Paul began looking so thin, she jumped to a conclusion that she thought was valid. In researching possible defenses to plead in the Answer, discuss those defenses you should consider, and your decision on preparing an Answer to the Complaint.