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This torts exam, given by law school dean and professor William T. Muse on May 28, 1965, begins with the question:

Jones bought a car under a conditional sales contract, which provided that if Jones defaulted in payments Finance Co. had a right to repossess this car. Jones defaulted, and Finance Co. instructed its employees Bull and Bear to repossess the car. They found Jones driving the car several miles from his home. They followed him in their car and hailed him. Thinking they were police officers, Jones stopped. Bull and Bear walked over to Jones' car and informed him to get out since the car was to be repossessed. Jones refused, and an argument ensued. Finally, Bear said to Jones, "You stay here. I will have an officer here in about ten minutes." Then Bear said to Bull, "You stay here, and I'll get an officer and have him locked up." Bear departed and returned in about ten minutes. Shortly thereafter, a tow-truck pulled up and Bear motioned to it to hook on to the front of Jones' car. Jones then started the motor in his car for the purpose of driving away, but Bear quickly raised the hood of the car and jerked off the distributor wire. Bull then climbed into the front seat of the car at Jones' side, and the tow-truck started pulling the car down the street. After about 75 feet Jones put on the handbrake and threw the car in reverse, thereby managing to stall the tow-truck. While all this was going on, numerous cars were driven by, some of them stopping briefly so that their occupants could enjoy the show. About this time a passing policeman stopped and asked the meaning of the controversy. Finding that Jones had left his driver's license at home, the policeman placed Jones under arrest and took him away, while Bull and Bear departed with Jones' car in tow. After a brief interrogation at the police station, Jones was released. As a result of these events Jones suffered loss of appetite and weight caused by nervousness and sleeplessness. What is the tort liability, if any, of Finance Co. to Jones? Why or why not?

Exam Date


T. C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond: Torts Exam, 28 May 1965