Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP details five of the most famous civil law cases

The world of civil law covers all cases that are not of a criminal nature. Class action, negligence, human rights, libel and securities cases are just a few examples of civil law cases. These five landmark cases left an indelible mark on the American legal system. Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP draws these five cases from different areas of law, presenting a wide range of topics.

1. Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company

This 1978 tort case exposed negligence in the design and construction of the infamous Ford Pinto. On impact, these cars sometimes caught fire, injuring or killing their occupants. The lawsuit made it clear that Ford was aware of the issues before the car was released to the public. Ford had hoped to keep the car’s price at $ 2,000, and safety upgrades that would only cost $ 4-8 per car were rejected by senior management.

This decision highlighted the importance of the jury in a civil case. The jury awarded compensatory damages of $ 3 million and $ 125 million in punitive damages, although the amount was later reduced to $ 3.5 million. This case warned automakers that blatant disregard for passenger safety in the name of greater profit would be severely punished.

2. Brown v. Board of Education

This 1954 Supreme Court civil law case paved the way for the desegregation of America’s public schools. The respondent argued that “separate but equal” education was sufficient to meet the educational needs of all students. Through clever jury arguments, plaintiff’s attorney Thurgood Marshall argued that segregation itself was detrimental to black children.

This case has shaken the education system in the southern United States, but schools in other parts of the country have also been severely affected. The desegregation of schools and subsequent bus programs definitely changed the landscape of the American education system.

3. Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School District

This famous 1968 free speech case revealed that wearing black armbands to represent opposition to the Vietnam War was protected by the First Amendment. Thanks to this case, the Supreme Court found that students did not give up their right to freedom of expression when they entered property belonging to the school. The court also concluded that the school system should be able to restrict this type of speech when the conduct interferes “materially and substantially” with the functioning of the school.

This free speech case indicated that schools could not restrict students ‘expression simply for fear that students’ actions would cause disruption.

4. New York Times Co. v Sullivan

This 1964 case centered on media coverage of the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama. In this case, the New York Times published a news article describing the adverse conditions in the city. The article contained statements which turned out to be false, but this turned out to be incidental. The Montgomery Police Commissioner sued the newspaper for defamation, saying the media coverage had damaged its public reputation.

The Supreme Court concluded that the newspaper had not acted maliciously but rather published inaccurate information. This case was important in free speech law because it required those suing for libel to prove malicious intent. A subsequent Supreme Court ruling clarified the standard of actual maliciousness by stating that if a media outlet failed to verify the facts with due diligence and / or used unreliable sources, it could be sued for libel.

5. Miranda vs. Arizona

This case has had a lasting impact on police interactions with those under arrest. Before the Supreme Court ruled on Miranda v Arizona in 1966, there were no uniform standards in place to inform those arrested that they had rights against self-incrimination and the right to retain services. of a lawyer before being questioned. This case confirmed the power of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution.

Civil law cases that changed the United States

These five civil law cases helped change the way businesses and public entities did their work in the United States. Each of these cases has a demonstrated effect on the legal system in the United States. Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP has collected these five cases as examples of how the legal system works to help the people of the United States.


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