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RE: Persuasive and Objective Analysis

TO: Ms. Kathleen L. Daerr-Bannon

FROM: Oscar Torrealva

Date: November 25, 2010

CASE: Trouble Maker v. Dino Mite


DOCKET NUMBER: [2010-001]

Statement of Assignment

You have asked me to prepare a memorandum of law on the followingfacts and issues of Trouble Maker v. Dino Mite case. For this analysis I researched and analyzed the application of case law precedent on all issues of liability, causation, damages, and defenses to the action of the Trouble Maker v. Dino Mite case which the Supreme Court of Iowa has granted allowance of appeal. I will conclude this analysis with a brief objective analysis of all the legal issues.A. Summary of Issues

Issue I

Should the use of dynamite be accepted as the use of reasonable force to protect private property?

Issue II

Can a trespasser benefit from his/her criminal actions by seeking punitive damages?

Issue III

Can a property owner be “protected” of any liability by postingwarning signs around his/her property?

Issue IV

Should the use of dynamite to protect an uninhabited property justify the charges of assault and battery?

Issue V

Does comparative fault apply to this case? Should the plaintiff take partial responsibility for his actions?

B. Facts

On January 1, 2010, the plaintiff entered the defendant’s property in his attempt to steal bottlesand fruit jars. The plaintiff was severely wounded by the dynamite that the defendant set to protect his property due to a series of trespassing and break-ins that occurred with the loss of valuable items. Prior to this incident the defendant decided to seal up the windows and doors with boards in order to protect his property from intruders. In addition the defendant posted not only all the “NoTrespassing” signs but he added to those signs with the phrase “DANGER” and “THIS IS NOT AN ABANDONED HOUSE”. The defendant even illuminated the signs on the front door with the dynamite stating: “WARNING: DANGER! DYNAMITE WILL EXPLODE IF YOU OPEN THIS DOOR.” The signs were posted all around the property to make all trespassers aware of potential danger. The plaintiff irresponsibly neglected the“warning signs” and entered the unoccupied property without the owner’s consent. The defendant is claiming that the plaintiff knew about the risk and purposely ignored the signs in order to commit his crime. At the time the plaintiff worked a few miles from the property and knew it was unoccupied. When the plaintiff opened the door the dynamite went off, causing him serious injuries in the eye andpermanently blinding him. The defendant was not present at the time of the incident. The plaintiff is seeking punitive and compensatory damages based on the use of excessive force by the owner that could have caused him a more severe injury including death. The jury returned a verdict for plaintiff and against defendants for actual and punitive damages. Now the defendant has taken the case toappellant court for review and based on several issues that were ignored during trial.
C. Analysis

Issue I

Should the use of dynamite be accepted as the use of reasonable force to protect the property? In Katko v. Briney 183 N.W.2D 657 (Iowa 1971) it relates to the Troublemaker v. Dino Mite Case. In this case a gun trap was set to protect the premise fromtrespassers and as a result the plaintiff was shot in the leg. The plaintiff won the case because the law states that we cannot use deadly force to protect an abandoned property. In Trouble Maker v. Dino Mite the defendant used the same method of defense, except with Dynamite. A spring gun still is an unjustifiable form of property protection.

Issue II

Can a trespasser benefit from...
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