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It is 1988, New Jersey.

In the area commonly known as Gotham, a poor engineer, let's name him John Doe, is forced - under the threat of death and bodily harm on denial - to take part in a small crime of breaking and entering the Ace Chemical Processing Plant. His assailants force him to wear a mask that seriously limits his field of vision. Guards of the plant open fire on John Doe and those that force him to take part at gunpoint.

A person in a bat costume joined the scene during the firefight. We believe this to be the alter Ego of Billionaire Playboy Bruce Wayne. Corroborating testimony by members of the criminal syndicate under the name Justice League is outstanding, but we could not serve the Subpoena.

His mere presence, combined with the death of one of his assaulters, makes poor John Doe jump over a retaining fence into a chemical waste retaining pool that is not covered as standards require, and flushed - against regulations - its contents into the nearby bay.

The chemicals permanently disfigured John Doe. In later analysis, Doctors at Arkham Asylum determined, that the psychoactive substances in the pool most likely aided in destroying his sense of morals and empathy, as well as inducing a love-hate for the costume of Mr. Wayne.

The Jury is to refer to the sepia-colored pages in the documentary "The Killing Joke" and not be handed any full-colored page, as they happen well after the events of this night and have no relevance to this case. A video rendition of the Evidence was created by the defense, but we like to point out this original, undoctored set of photographs that depict the actual incident:

enter image description here

As you clearly see, Mr. Doe, seriously hampered by the attire he was forced to wear and frightened for his life, is doing his due diligence to retreat from the plant, and the accident is the fault of the man in a bat costume we believe to be Bruce Wayne.


Is Ace Chemical Processing liable for the damage to John "The Joker" Doe, and recover damages or treatment expenses from Ace Chemical Processing or Mr. Wayne? Are they contributary liable for the crimes this shattered person will commit after the exposure?

Plaintiff concedes that he had no reason to be at Ace Chemical Processing but for the threat of being bodily harmed.

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  • Could you please provide a link to the slected evidence of The aformentioned "The Killing Joke" documentary? Also what evidence do you have that the entity known as Batman is the same person as Billionair Playboy Bruce Wayne?
    – hszmv
    Feb 8 at 16:12
  • Objection. Facts not in evidince. (I.E. If we're going with a discussion of legallity in fiction, I need you to rely on knowledge sourced from canon, not metad in your fan fic that the Justice League was unilatirially held in contempt of court by you, in an attorney role. Closer to source as I'll allow, but you cannot just assume people who have never told in canon told you.).
    – hszmv
    Feb 8 at 16:43
  • Additionally, I can read a wikipedia article, but you are introducing a selection of the comic, not the comic itself. I need those panels you wish to introduce as evidence since they need to be thouroghly examined.
    – hszmv
    Feb 8 at 16:44
  • The specific uncommented clip would be preferable. Commentary will need to be provided by relevent witnesses in their own sworn testimony. I will remind you that as it is an adaptation, you run the risk of the defendants introducing evidence that could conter the narrative that the accident occured at ACE Chemical OR that Bruce Wayne was an adult at the time of the incident OR that Batman was even active.
    – hszmv
    Feb 8 at 16:49
  • I believe the 5 crucial panels I added to this question might be about the maximum that is allowable as a quote for teaching, commentary and critique.
    – Trish
    Feb 8 at 16:56
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Ace Chemical would be liable to some extent if, and only if, it were found that they were negligent. That the chemical storage retaining pool was not properly covered would be evidence tending to suggest negligence, but the presence of a fence around the pool might tend to weigh against such a finding.

The question of negligence is always highly fact-based, and depends in most cases on what a reasonable person, knowledgeable about the situation, would have done to avoid reasonably foreseeable harm.

The specific events involving John Doe and Bruce Wayne do not seem foreseeable. But some risk of harm from such a noxious chemical pool does seem plausible, and reasonable precautions would be expected.

If Ace was found to have been negligent, it might be liable for the medical costs of Doe, and for his pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of income. But I see no basis to hold Ace liable for the later crimes of Doe, and for the losses of the victims of those crimes.

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  • Does the fact that it was a regulatory violation impact the negligence analysis?
    – Ryan M
    Feb 5 at 23:55
  • @Ryan M it probably impacts it, but is not definitive, unless the regulation specifically provides otherwise. Specific testimony about the risk involved would be likely, adn it woudl be up to the trier of fact in the civil case Do vs Ace. Feb 5 at 23:59

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