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Criminal Law

Exam 29
30 minutes

Fact Pattern

A begins most mornings by reading his horoscope. Unlike the usual horoscopes, which give general life advice, today’s horoscope reads “DEATH IS NEAR.” This puts A on edge. At work, A shouts at B, a particularly difficult customer. Later that day, A argues heatedly with his girlfriend, with whom he lives.

The argument so exasperates A that he decides to spend the night alone at a neighborhood hotel. He wanders down to the hotel bar and picks a fight with D, the bar’s resident tough guy. D had been trying to complete a crossword puzzle, using a pencil. D stabs A’s hand with the pencil, inflicting a non-fatal injury, and throws A outside into a raging snowstorm.

A crawls for a few feet, then stands up shakily. A short time later, he steps into a nearby coffee shop, where he wraps a few paper towels around his bleeding hand. A then decides to go back outside, into the storm, to return to the hotel and get some sleep.

At that point, B, the difficult customer from this morning, drives by in his car and spots A on the road. B took A’s earlier rudeness to him as a dire insult. Now, in retaliation, B floors the gas pedal and strikes A with the car, inflicting serious injury.

A bystander calls for an ambulance, which arrives and rushes A to the hospital. There, an extremely negligent physician, F, is put in charge of A’s treatment. F ignores the latex allergy warnings in A’s patient file and operates on A with latex gloves. The resulting allergic reaction to the latex kills A.

Assume the prosecution can prove the above facts at trial.


Questions

  1. In a common-law jurisdiction, was D the cause of A’s death? Explain, analyzing only actual and proximate causation, but do not analyze D’s liability for any crimes, and do not consider any other issue raised by the case.

Question 1

In a common-law jurisdiction, was D the cause of A’s death? Explain, analyzing only actual and proximate causation, but do not analyze D’s liability for any crimes, and do not consider any other issue raised by the case.

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