Amy West suffered lacerations on her legs when a bottle of carbonated soda exploded.
She claimed that it exploded on one of the lower grocery shelves as she reached up for
another bottle of carbonated soda. Amy's attorney, Martin Leonard, hired engineer Dan
Collins to testify.
During cross-examination, the opposing attorney asked Dan, "Wouldn't simultaneous
explosion leave some residue on the shelf?" Dan knew that a spontaneous
explosion would likely have left some residue on the shelf. He knew that the only residue
was on the floor, suggesting that Amy West may have dropped the bottle. But he also knew
that Amy's attorney did not want him to "volunteer" helpful information to the
defendants. He pondered his options. Should he say, "Yes," implicitly correcting
the other attorney? Should he ask the other attorney if he meant to say
"spontaneous"? Or should he respond in a way that would not provide the sort of
answer the opposing attorney was undoubtedly seeking?
What relevant facts are presented? Discuss any factual, conceptual, or application
questions this case raises.