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Chapter 6

BMGT 380 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Mobile Phone, Demurrer, Texas City, Texas

Business and Management
Course Code
BMGT 380
William Mc Clenahan

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Chapter 7 Cases
I. Currie vs. Chevron U.S.A., Inc.
A. Facts
A.1. Tracey Currie, acting as the personal representative of the estate of her
deceased daughter, Nodiana Antoine, sued Chevron
A.2. Theory that Chevron negligently caused Antoine’s death
A.3. Antoine and Anjail Muhammad had a close personal relationship for about
2 years; relationship was stormy as Muhammad threatened to inflict physical
harm on Antoine on numerous occasions
A.4. In 2003, Muhammad and Antoine were in Muhammad’s car when they
began to fight after Antoine told her she wanted to end their relationship.
Antoine got out of her car and started to walk towards a Chevron gas station
from the restaurant parking lot to call her family when Muhammad followed
her on foot.
A.5. Pamela Robinson testified as a customer of the Chevron gas station
A.5.a. On that day, she saw Muhammad pulling on the neck of Antoine’s
clothing, essentially dragging her.
A.5.b. When Antoine tried to pull away, Muhammad tightened her grip.
A.5.c. Robinson watched the two women move in the direction of gas
pump number one, and went inside to get permission from the gas station
attendee to authorize the pump she wanted to use.
A.5.d. Robinson told Shukla (employee) about the altercation outside and
that she needed to contact the police, after pointing out the two women to
A.5.d.1. Shukla did not call the police because according to her
testimony, she thought that they were leaving the premises.
A.5.e. Robinson testified that Shukla authorized pump number one after
she pointed out that the two women were fighting
A.5.e.1. When a customer sought to use a gas pump, they had to lift
a lever on the pump and a beeping sound inside the gas station would
allow for the employee to authorize the pump
A.5.e.2. Shukla authorized pump number one to turn on even
though Muhammad did not have a car on the premises.
A.5.f. She stated that she did not ask Shukla to authorize her pump after
she saw the women fighting and there were no other pumps waiting to
able authorized.
A.6. After Shukla authorized pump number one, Muhammad sprayed 65 cents
worth of gas onto Antoine
A.6.a. Robinson exited the gas station and was approached by
Muhammad who was asking for a cigarette lighter; she said she did not
and watched the two women leave the gas station with Muhammad still
pulling on Antoine’s shirt
A.7. According to Muhammad’s statement to police
A.7.a. She and Antoine went back to Muhammad’s car where she found a
lighter and set Antoine on fire
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A.7.b. Antoine tried to roll around in a nearby grassy area and a passerby
called 911.
A.7.c. Antoine died several weeks later as a result of the burns she had
A.8. Muhammad was indicted on criminal chargers of murder, aggravated
battery, aggravated assault, and arson.
B. History
B.1. Currie alleged that Shukla negligently authorized the gas pump used by
Muhammad and that Antoine died as a result
B.2. A federal district court jury returned a $3,500,000 verdict in Currie’s favor
B.3. The court issued a judgment against Chevron for $2,625,000 which
reflected the 25% reduction from $3,500,000 because of the jury’s finding that
Antoine’s own negligence accounted for 25% of the reason why she was
B.4. Chevron unsuccessfully moved for judgment as a matter of law or, in the
alternative, a new trial
B.5. Chevron then appealed to the U.S. court of Appeals for the Eleventh
C. Issues
C.1. Did Chevron’s employee, Shukla, negligently activate the gas pump,
which led to the death of Antoine and would hold them liable?
D. Holding
D.1. Reasonable minds could differ as to whether Shukla should have known
that activating the gap pump would pose an unreasonable risk of harm to
D.1.a. Shukla committed her own affirmative negligent action by
activating gas pump number one for Muhammad
D.1.b. There is evidence to suggest that Shukla was aware that the women
were involved in a serious fight on the Chevron station’s property
D.1.b.1. In her statement to police, she said that she saw the two
women on the property with Muhammad pulling and grabbing Antoine
and that she “thought something was wrong”
D.1.b.2. Robinson’s testimony confirmed Shukla’s testimony that
the fight was serious
D.1.c. There is evidence that the jury could have found that Shukla was
aware that they were involved in a serious fight before she activated the
gas pump
D.1.c.1. In Muhammad’s testimony to police, she said that before
authorizing the gas pump, Shukla “looked at us and just turned the
pump on”
D.1.d. There is evidence that the beeping sound that Robinson heard
when walking into the gas station was Muhammad seeking authorization
to turn on the gas pump and that Shukla looked at Muhammad and turned
on the gas pump after her conversation with Robinson
D.2. In the cross examination of Dr. Erikson, expert testimony as a forensic
sociologist, plaintiff’s counsel asked if given all of the factors from the
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evidence, it was foreseeable that turning on the gas pump would lead to the
gas being used inappropriately and harm can result, to which Dr. Erikson
E. Reasoning
E.1. A cause of action for negligence in Georgia must contain the following
E.1.a. A legal duty to conform to a standard of conduct for the protection
of others against unreasonable risks of harm
E.1.b. A breach of this standard
E.1.c. A legally attributable casual connection between the conduct and
the resulting injury
E.1.d. Some loss or damage resulting from the breach of the legal duty
E.2. As to foreseeability of injury, Georgia courts have stated that in order for a
party to be held liable for negligence, it is not necessary that he should have
been able to anticipate the particular consequences that ensued, but is
sufficient if in ordinary prudence, he might have foreseen that some injury
would result from his act or omission and that consequences of a generally
injurious nature might result.
E.3. One free bite rule for premises liability:
E.3.a. A showing of prior similar incidences on a proprietor’s premises is
not always required to establish that a danger was foreseeable
F. Results
F.1. The U.S. Court of Appeals denied Chevron’s motion for a new trial by
deciding that the district court was correct in denying their previous attempt at
obtaining a new trial
G. Class Notes
G.1. A motion for judgment as a matter of law
G.1.a. Jury looked at witnesses and believed Robinson, not Shukla
G.1.b. “Jury could have found” = standard of review for appeals of
motions during and after the trial
G.2. Rewarding of damages
G.2.a. Took the plaintiff 2&1/2 weeks to die
G.2.b. The parents got lucky with witnesses
G.2.b.1. Clerk is impeachable, Robinson could convincingly tell the
court what the beeping meant having previously worked at a gas
G.2.b.2. We could reasonably foresee that somebody who flipped on
the gas authorization to somebody with no car would result in some
sort of injury
G.2.b.3. Suing over the negligence of the clerk
G.3. Chevron was not liable for the incident on their property but for the
negligence that was performed by their store clerk
II. Lord vs. D&J Enterprises, Inc.
A. Facts
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