Sample Legal Memo

1728 Words Mar 21st, 2015 7 Pages
M E M O R A N D U M

To: Legal Director
From: Redacted
Date: November 11, 2008
Re: Spiros v. Landis
______________________________________________________________________________

Question Presented

Can plaintiff Ron Arnett state a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) under Pennsylvania law given that Arnett was located twenty feet from the accident that injured Sarah Nolan, saw Ricky Landis running toward the pool and realized immediately after the impact what had happened, but viewed the impact while underwater; and though they share an emotional bond, Arnett and Nolan are not biologically or legally related?

Brief Answer

Probably not. In Pennsylvania, a claim for NIED by a plaintiff who
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Defendant Ricky Landis began sprinting toward the pool in the direction of Nolan, whose head was submerged. Arnett, then swimming laps twenty feet from Nolan, saw Landis out of the corner of his eye before re-submerging his face. Landis performed a cannonball into the pool, landing on Nolan as she came up for air. Struck by Landis’s 250-pound body, Nolan was forced underwater and rendered unconscious. Arnett, watching Sarah from underwater through his goggles, observed a sudden cloud of water and a tangle of scrambling arms and legs. A beat later, realizing Nolan had been struck, Arnett yelled “Sarah!” and swam toward her. A lifeguard pulled Nolan out of the water and unsuccessfully attempted CPR. Moments later, an ambulance arrived with a defibrillator and restarted Nolan’s heart, as Arnett looked on. Discussion

I. Arnett will likely fail to state a claim for NIED.
To state a claim for NIED, a plaintiff must show that: (1) he was located near the scene of the accident; (2) he sensorily and contemporaneously observed the accident; and (3) he and the victim are closely related. Sinn v. Burd, 404 A.2d 672, at 685 (Pa. 1979). There can be little dispute that Arnett was near the scene of the accident. However, whether Arnett sensorily and contemporaneously observed the incident and whether Nolan and Arnett are closely related are in question. This memorandum will address all three

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