Grade: Senior

#2668. So you want to sue?

Social Studies, level: Senior
Posted Tue Aug 13 18:28:28 PDT 2002 by Debra Buckman (
Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport, PA
Materials Required: None
Activity Time: Minimum 5 hours in class plus outside work
Concepts Taught: Critical thinking

1. Students will read the following scenario:

On Monday, Mr. Smith went to visit his local park to feed the ducks. Mr. Smith does this every Monday and every Monday there are over 20 ducks and geese waiting to be feed. On this particular Monday, Mr. Smith could find no ducks to feed. Mr. Smith asked the park employee who was picking up trash what happened to the ducks and was told that the city decided that the ducks were dirty and had them removed. Mr. Smith has decided to sue the city since his pastime of feeding the ducks has been halted.

2. Students, working in groups of 3, are to answer the following question:

Do you think Mr. Smith has standing in this case (can he legally sue)?

3. Students then go through the steps of a civil litigation. Students take roles
as Mr. Smith, Mr. Smith's lawyer, a representative of the City, a
representative of the park, the City's lawyer, and a judge. The rest
of the class is the jury.

Begin the case with the plaintiff (Mr. Smith) serving the summons to one of the city representatives. During the discovery phase, students will need to investigate local ordinances to determine what, if any, law pertains to this situation.

4. After the completing of the trial, discuss controversial cases that have been in the news. Ask the students their opinions on the legality of the verdicts and cases.