You are having dinner at your favorite restaurant when it begins to rain.As you are leaving, you decide to take an umbrella from the umbrella stand…

                       I.           You are having dinner at your favorite restaurant when it begins to rain. As you are leaving, you decide to take an umbrella from the umbrella stand to keep from getting soaked. You intend to return the umbrella to the restaurant the next day, although you say nothing to the restaurant’s employees of your plan. When you arrive home, you enter the house and leave the umbrella beside the door so that you can find it in the morning.

A few minutes later, there is a knock at your door. When you answer it, a police officer is standing outside, and she states that she wishes to speak to you. As it is still raining, you invite the officer inside. Once inside, she sees two things: (1) the umbrella, and (2) a sandwich baggie laying on your coffee table that contains a green, leafy substance.

The officer then picks up the umbrella and the baggie. She immediately asks two questions. First, she asks if you are the owner of the umbrella, to which you respond in the negative. Then she asks whether you are the owner of the baggie containing the green, leafy substance. To this you respond in the affirmative.

The officer then places you under arrest, and says that you are being charged with larceny of the umbrella and possession of marijuana.

Prior to your trial, you tell your lawyer that you believe the seizure of the umbrella and the baggie violate your constitutional rights under the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (which you learned about in Professor Buscaglia’s class). You also tell your lawyer that the statements you made to the police officer about the umbrella and the baggie were obtained in violation of your 5th Amendment rights. Finally, you tell your lawyer that you cannot be convicted of larceny of the umbrella.

In your answer, fully explain:

a.      Whether your 4th Amendment rights were violated;

b.      Whether your 5th Amendment rights were violated; and

c.      Whether you can be convicted of the crime of larceny for taking the umbrella.

II.           You are the CEO of a small hospital located in a southeastern state. You have successfully competed with larger hospitals in the area because your hospital is more efficient than the larger hospitals, and you have a dedicated staff of doctors who have remained loyal to you despite receiving lower pay than doctors at the large hospitals.

Your hospital serves a rural population of mostly lower middle-class farm families who work small tracts of land. Most of those small farms have been passed down from generation to generation. In addition, your hospital serves a large population of immigrant families who work as farm hands on the local farms. Most of these families live at or below the poverty level. Yours is the only hospital within 50 miles.

Recent news reports have caused you great concern. Several of the large hospitals have been successfully sued by patients who claimed they were injured as the result of medical malpractice. At least six hospitals have paid out multi-million-dollar damage claims, some of which included punitive damages.

You realize that even one such lawsuit would likely put your hospital out of business. At a recent conference of small rural hospitals that you attended, several CEO’s warned that ours had become a very litigious society and that small hospitals need to protect themselves from these frivolous lawsuits. One speaker suggested that the tort laws should be changed to prevent these huge damage awards. The more you listened, the more you realized that these kinds of lawsuits could destroy your business, leaving many patients without hospital service. The last speaker at the conference was a lobbyist hired by the hospital industry to try to convince the state legislature to pass, among other things, a law placing a cap on damage awards for medical malpractice. He invited all interested hospital CEO’s to join in the effort to reform the tort law.

One of the members of the Board of Directors of your hospital also attended the conference. She has reported back to the full Board. As a result, the Board has voted to support the idea of tort reform. The Board has directed you to present, at the next meeting of the Board, a plan for tort reform in your state. Describe, in detail, the plan for tort reform that you will present at the next Board meeting.

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