Complaint Drafting Assignment Civil Lawsuits Fall, 2005 Professor Baker We have been focusing on how to draft a complaint. Your assignment for Wednesday, August 31 is to draft a complaint for Southern Specialties, Inc., based on the fact pattern below. The complaint must comply with the formal requirements of Rule 10, as well as the requirements of Rules 8 and 9. In addition, you should keep in mind that Rule 11 (which we have not studied yet) authorizes the court to sanction attorneys who file frivolous claims. Try to keep the complaint short – not more than four or five pages. You may work either alone or in pairs – your option. If you choose to work in pairs, the complaint should have both of your names on it. As you draft the complaint, consider the following: (1) How do you choose which defendant(s) to sue? (2) How do you select the jurisdictional basis or bases? (3) How do you decide what court to sue in? Where does personal jurisdiction exist? Where is venue proper? (4) How do you decide which relief to seek? (5) Which facts do you think are important to highlight or omit? The assignment is due at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31, 2005. Because the purpose of this class is to prepare you for trial practice, the due date will be treated like a court filing deadline: it will be extended only upon written motion in advance, and for good cause shown. You will “file” your complaint electronically by saving it to the Law School’s shared “X” drive. All draft complaints should be saved to X:/Baker/Complaint. The name of the file is your last name, followed by your first initial. For instance, if your name is John Smith, you will save your draft complaint as X:/Baker/Complaint/SmithJ. FACT PATTERN: Plaintiff Southern Specialties, Inc. [SSI] owns a large industrial factory in Warner Robins, Georgia. SSI uses several chemical solvents to clean its manufacturing equipment in the factory. SSI’s current problem stems from an accident involving an industrial cleaning solvent, CH3CCl3 , known as 1,1,1 tricholoroethane [Tri-Ethane]. Commercial Tri-Ethane is produced in different grades, which are distinguished by the type and amount of stabilizers mixed with the compound to reduce its reactivity. General purpose Tri-Ethane contains stabilizers that function to delay the onset of chemical reactions that occur when Tri-Ethane comes into contact with certain metals, including aluminum; it is appropriate for a multitude of industrial purposes, including degreasing aluminum and other metal items. Aerosol grade Tri-Ethane contains fewer stabilizers and reacts readily with aluminum; it should not be permitted to come into prolonged contact with aluminum. Two months ago, a SSI employee named Eugene Edwards left an aluminum motor housing in a five-gallon bucket of Tri-Ethane solvent over the weekend. The aluminum reacted with the Tri-Ethane and atmospheric water vapor to form hydrochloric acid vapors. The HCl vapors spread throughout the factory and caused about $7,000,000 damage to SSI’s building, manufacturing equipment, and inventory. SSI filed a claim for coverage with its insurer, Industrial Indemnity, Inc. Industrial denied SSI’s claim on the ground that the loss was excluded from coverage under a policy limitation excluding coverage for damage caused by “smoke, vapor or gas from . . . industrial operations.” SSI purchased the Tri-Ethane solvent from Crown Industrial Products Company. Crown generally purchased general purpose grade Tri-Ethane from a number of different producers, commingled the chemicals in a bulk storage tank with a 53,000 pound capacity, and then packaged the product for resale as a cleaning solvent which was safe to use with aluminum. Shortly before the container of cleaning solvent that caused the problem was produced, however, Crown purchased some aerosol grade Tri-Ethane and mixed it in the bulk tank. At the time the Tri-Ethane at issue was manufactured, Crown’s bulk storage tank contained approximately 40% general purpose grade Tri-Ethane produced by Pittsburgh Plate Glass, 40% general purpose grade Tri-Ethane produced by Hydrite Chemical Company, and 20% aerosol grade Tri-Ethane produced by ICI Americas, Inc. Prior to 2001, the three manufacturers (PPG, Hydrite, and ICI) all warned purchasers and users against permitting aerosol grade Tri-Ethane to come into contact with aluminum. In 2002, ICI revised its labeling, and inadvertently omitted the warning “DO NOT USE WITH ALUMINUM. Not stabilized for any use with aluminum,” which had previously been on the label. SSI is a Georgia corporation with its principal place of business in Georgia. Eugene Edwards lives in Warner Robins. Industrial Indemnity is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Rhode Island. Crown is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Detroit, Michigan. PPG, Hydrite, and ICI are all Pennsylvania corporations; PPG has its principal place of business in Pittsburgh, while Hydrite and ICI have their principal places of business in Philadelphia. All of the chemical manufacturers do at least some business in every state east of the Mississippi. Draft your complaint.
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