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An Introduction to American Law complete course is currently being offered by University of Pennsylvania through Coursera platform and is taught by Anita Allen, Shyam Balganesh, Stephen Morse, Theodore Ruger, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan & Tobias Barrington Wolff.

About this Course: This course will give you a glimpse into six different areas of American law: Tort Law, Contract Law, Property, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Civil Procedure. You will gain insight into the complexities and dilemmas that arise from the application of law in different settings, and what is distinctive about American approaches.

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Coursera An Introduction to American Law Quiz Answers

An Introduction to American Law Week 1 Quiz Answers!

Tort Law Quiz Answers

Q1. The main goal of tort law is:

  • To provide a private forum of justice for the resolution of contractual disputes that arise in business and everyday life.
  • To punish individuals charged with violent crimes and property damage.
  • To compensate with money damages victims of injury caused by intentional wrong-doing, negligence or certain other wrongful conduct

Q2. Under the Massachusetts state court’s ruling in the historic “fighting dogs” case of Brown v. Kendall (1850):

  • A plaintiff is entitled to compensation if the defendant acted unreasonably.
  • A plaintiff is entitled to recover if the defendant is at fault.
  • A plaintiff who is partly at fault for his or her injury can never recover damages.

Q3. Negligence is defined in American common law as:

  • Failure to exercise the care of a reasonable person of ordinary prudence under the circumstance.
  • Causing an accident that seriously injures an innocent person who cannot afford loss wages, and medical expenses.
  • C. Trying but failing to prevent foreseeable injury to persons or their property.

Q4. Recognized defenses in a common law tort action do not include

  • Self-defense.
  • Defense of property.
  • Honest mistake of the law.

Q5. Those who manufacture and sell consumer products are liable for injuries caused by:

  • Manufacturing defects.
  • Misuse of products by well-meaning users.
  • Natural disasters. Correct

Q6. Under the rules of US common law, a stranger who happens to witness an accidental injury in progress and who is in a position to help:

  • Has a legal obligation to intervene with assistance.
  • Has a legal duty to not get involved, because meddlers can possibly make things worse for the victim.
  • Has no duty to rescue and is potentially liable for injuries caused in a botched rescue attempt.

An Introduction to American Law Week 2 Quiz Answers!

Contract Law Quiz Answers

Q1. Some important exchanges unfold over time. How does the legal enforcement of promises (contract law) facilitate exchange over time?

  • Legal enforcement of promises permits the parties to the contract to make plans and act in reliance on the deal.
  • Legal enforcement of promises permits the government to monitor long-term contracts.
  • Legal enforcement of promises permits parties to charge higher prices for their services.
  • Legal enforcement of promises permits deceptive business practices to be more easily challenged in court.

Q2. Jane is a carpenter. Caleb asks her if she could build him a set of shelves. He says he could pay her $300. Jane knows that she won’t be able to fit his job in, but thinks Caleb will forget about it and so she agrees and shakes hands. Later, when Caleb reminds her they had a deal, she disagrees. Under the modern doctrine of assent, who is right and why?

  • Caleb is right that there is mutual assent in this case, because $300 is a fair price for bookshelves.
  • Caleb is right that there is mutual assent in this case, because both parties have voluntarily communicated to each other their agreement to the deal.
  • Jane is right that there is no mutual assent in this case because $300 is not a fair price for bookshelves.
  • Jane is right that there is no mutual assent in this case because she did not in fact intend to participate in the deal so there was no real meeting of the minds.

B. The modern doctrine of assent is about what the parties manifested to one another, not their secret intentions. In this case, Jane assented when she verbally agreed and shook Caleb’s hands, because those are actions reasonably interpreted by Caleb as Jane’s agreement to the deal.

Q3. In the famous case of Hamer vs. Sidway, the court decided that it could enforce an uncle’s promise to give his nephew $5,000 if the nephew would abstain from drinking, smoking, and gambling. Why is this a contract with consideration rather than a conditional gift?

  • Because the court found that nephew was better off avoiding alcohol and tobacco than he would have been if he’d kept drinking and smoking.
  • Because the court found that the uncle wanted to give up money in order to get the nephew to stop drinking/smoking/gambling, and the nephew stopped those things in order to get the money, so there was a bargain.
  • Because the court found that the uncle wanted to give his nephew a gift and thought that his 21st birthday was the right time to give it.
  • Because the court found that an uncle and a nephew can participate in a contractual exchange even though they are related to each other.

Q4. Imagine that a homeowner makes a contract with a plumber to fix a burst pipe. The plumber agrees to do the job and they write out a contract. The homeowner pays up front. The plumber shows up, makes a big mess, and walks off the job. If the homeowner brought a suit and a court found that the plumber had breached, what would the court require of the plumber?

  • The plumber would have to go back to the homeowner’s house and clean up the mess.
  • The plumber would have to go back to the homeowner’s house and clean up the mess and then fix the pipe.
  • The plumber would have to pay the homeowner for the cost of cleaning up the mess he had made.
  • The plumber would have to pay the homeowner for the cost of cleaning up the mess he had made and the cost of getting the pipe fixed.

An Introduction to American Law Week 3 Quiz Answers!

Property Law Quiz Answers

Q1. Which of the following is NOT an essential part of the American understanding of property law?

  • An identifiable resource
  • A tangible physical object
  • A relationship between individuals

Q2. Which branch of government has been primarily responsible for the development of American property law?

  • The legislature
  • The executive
  • The judiciary

Q3. What is unique about “American common law” that distinguishes it from the common law as developed in other countries?

  • It is more “common” and understandable.
  • There are multiple American common laws.
  • The President has a direct role to play in developing American common law.

Q4. What does a Legal Realist approach to property law entail?

  • It acknowledges that in applying property law to situations, judges make normative choices.
  • It involves the recognition that property law produces “real” outcomes.
  • It recognizes the property rules can be used to decide cases without any element of choice.

An Introduction to American Law Week 4 Quiz Answers!

Constitutional Law Quiz Answers

Q1. Judges and others who interpret the meaning of the U.S. Constitution often examine the following sources to ascertain meaning (choose all that apply):

  • The text of the operative provisions in the Constitution.
  • The definitions section of the Constitution.
  • The contemporaneous understandings of the men who wrote and ratified the Constitution in the late 1700s.
  • Subsequent interpretations and practices by major institutional actors over the past 225 years.

Q2. Which of the following exemplifies a debate over “vertical” separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution’s allocation of authority:

  • Questions about whether Congress or the President has the power to send the U.S. military into hostilities abroad.
  • A federal executive branch official refusing to testify before Congress on the grounds that her information is legally privileged.
  • An argument that a statute passed by Congress is unconstitutional because it regulates private conduct that does not substantially affect interstate commerce.
  • Arguments by Supreme Court Justices that Congress has no power to compel them to televise oral arguments.

Q3. Which of the following is an accurate statement of the current interpretation of this part of the Constitution’s First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech”:

  • Government may never enact a statute that limits or prohibits the flow of information in any circumstances;
  • States, local governments, and the national government are limited in their ability to regulate communications;
  • Congress is limited in its ability to regulate speech, but the President is not under this clause;
  • The national government is limited in its ability to regulate communications, but this clause does not apply to state and local government.

Q4. Many aspects of the U.S. Constitution have been adopted by other nations. What is still a unique characteristic of the American Constitution?

  • The U.S. Constitution is written in a single document.
  • The U.S. Constitution is over 200 years old.
  • The U.S. Constitution is interpreted by an authoritative high court that has the power to overrule popularly-elected government officials.
  • The U.S. Constitution both protects individual rights and structures the government and political process.

An Introduction to American Law Week 5 Quiz Answers!

Criminal Law Quiz Answers

Q1. Criminal law is distinctive for which of the following reasons (choose one)?

  • It is a system of rules that helps us regulate our interpersonal lives.
  • The rules are enforced by the state.
  • The rules establish which forms of conduct violate what we owe each other so that state imposition of blame, stigma and punishment is justified.
  • The rules give citizens good reasons to behave in desirable ways.

Q2. Which of the following statements is most accurate concerning the justification of criminal blame and the imposition of punishment (choose one)?

  • Cost effective crime control is a good justification.
  • Criminal punishment by the state is so painful that it requires powerful justification.
  • Punishing people in proportion to what they deserve for committing a crime is a good in itself.
  • All of the above are accurate.

Q3. The fault principle is a cornerstone of the criminal law. Which of the following statements best describes the fault principle (choose one)?

  • If a person causes a harm, the person must be at fault and therefore deserves punishment.
  • Fault is primarily dependent upon the mental states with which the person acted.
  • Being careless is the essence of fault in the criminal law.
  • The criminal law punishes people only when they are at fault for causing some harm.

Q4. Which of the following statements is most true about the structure of criminal guilt (choose one)?

  • The defendant will be guilty if the prima facie case is proven by the prosecution and the defendant has no affirmative defense.
  • The defendant will be not guilty if the prosecution is unable to prove all the elements of the charged offense.
  • The defendant will be not guilty either if the prosecution is unable to prove all the elements of the charged offense or if the defendant can establish an affirmative defense.
  • All of the above statements are true.

An Introduction to American Law Week 6 Quiz Answers!

Civil Procedure Quiz Answers

Q1. Which of the following best describes the Rules Enabling Act of 1934 and the change that it effectuated in American Civil Procedure?

  • This New York statute was designed to enable litigants to come up with their own procedures for the resolution of civil disputes, rather than having to rely upon procedures mandated by the court.
  • This federal statute authorized the promulgation of a body of procedural law for the federal courts, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • This federal statute required federal courts to adhere strictly to the same procedures that state courts would apply in resolving civil disputes, even when those procedures varied from state to state.
  • This New York statute was drafted by professor Karl Llewellyn to reform civil procedure in the courts of New York.

Q2. Bell Atlantic v. Twombly was an antitrust case, but its holding on pleadings doctrine — the standard used to determine whether a plaintiff can move forward with her lawsuit based upon the complaint that she has filed — has been applied in cases having nothing to do with antitrust. Which of the following best explains this fact?

  • Bell Atlantic v. Twombly was a case about an antitrust conspiracy. Conspiracies happen in many other areas of law — both civil and criminal — so Twombly’s substance-specific procedural ruling wound up having broad applicability.
  • Because any Supreme Court opinion on a question of federal law is binding on every court in the nation, the decision in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly automatically applied to every other court in every other case.
  • Because of the importance of antitrust law and the specific policies that law was designed to promote, rulings in antitrust cases have a powerful impact in other areas of law.
  • Federal procedural rules — including pleading doctrine — generally apply in the same fashion and employ the same standard in any federal lawsuit, whatever the nature of the underlying substantive claim.

Q3. What is a class action lawsuit?

  • Class actions enable people to obtain free legal assistance in return for contributing to the work of an educational institution in providing interesting classes.
  • In a class action, plaintiffs of a particular economic background assert claims relating to their class status (working class; white-collar) within society.
  • Class actions make it possible to enforce small claims on an aggregate basis where enforcement would be impractical on an individual basis.
  • None of the above .

Q4. What impact does the Federal Arbitration Act have on the ability of a person to bring a lawsuit in court?

  • Under the Federal Arbitration Act, no contract can require that parties give up the right to bring a lawsuit in favor of private arbitration.
  • Under the Federal Arbitration Act, when a contract includes a clause saying that the parties to the contract must pursue any claims they have against each other in a private arbitration proceeding rather than in court, then that clause must usually be enforced.
  • Under the Federal Arbitration Act, state law always takes precedence over federal law. So, if state law says that a party has the right to bring a lawsuit in court, then that right must be enforced.
  • Under the Federal Arbitration Act, the more vulnerable party to a contract is always protected from being taken advantage of. So, the Act prevents corporations and other powerful contract drafters from limiting the access that individuals have to court.

An Introduction to American Law Week 7 Quiz Answers!

Final Exam Answers!

Q1. Which of the following is an example of American property law’s pragmatic orientation?

  • A court’s finding of a trespass when someone merely enters onto another’s property without permission.
  • A court’s interpretation of the law of licenses—as applied to movie theaters and tickets – according to society’s prevalent understanding of the permissions afforded to ticket holders.
  • A court’s unwillingness to use the law of licenses to regulate access to movie theaters and places of entertainment.

Q2. Tort law aims to:

  • A. Deter as well as compensate injury.
  • B. Make society safer and individuals more free.
  • Both options are true.

Q3. When Karl Llewellyn wrote about the importance of viewing substantive law through the spectacles of procedure, what did he mean?

  • Llewellyn was urging law students to recognize that mastery of procedure is a key tool for lawyers in securing good outcomes for their clients, and also that procedure has the capacity to frustrate important substantive policies altogether if it does not function properly.
  • Llewellyn was writing about class differences in the United States. He was urging law students to recognize that access to justice frequently depends upon having a lawyer, so lawyers should commit themselves to providing representation to under-served communities.
  • Llewellyn was writing about the importance of formalism in legal analysis. He was using “spectacles” as a metaphor for a scientific instrument and urging that lawyers approach the law as a set of problems with precise and knowable scientific answers.
  • Llewellyn was writing about the differences between federal and state courts in our system of government.

Q4. Which of the following statements accurately describes the field of Civil Procedure in the United States?

  • Civil Procedure involves the mechanisms by which civil claims (as opposed to criminal charges) are adjudicated within our courts.
  • Civil Procedure is concerned not only with the formal rules for bringing lawsuits but also with the impact of those rules on the ability of people to enforce their rights and gain access to justice.
  • Civil Procedure sometimes overlaps with more “substantive” areas of law, so it may be necessary to ask how procedural doctrines interface with the underlying substantive law.
  • All of the above statements are accurate.

Q5. In the famous case of the two Peerless boats, the court found that the contract the parties had made for cotton delivered on the ship Peerless was void. Why?

  • The parties each had something different in mind—a different ship—and there was no way in which either party was being more objectively reasonable.
  • The parties each had secret intentions that they chose not to reveal to one another, leading to a case of promissory fraud.
  • The parties were not actually embarking on sea voyages themselves.
  • Only one of the Peerless boats was carrying cotton, and it was the wrong ship.

Q6. Which of the following statements about justifications and excuses is most true (choose one)?

  • Justifications and excuses both address questions of why someone seemed to violate the law, even if they intentionally caused harm.
  • Justifications generally require only that the defendant honestly (actually) believed that there was a good reason to act as the defendant did, even if that belief was not reasonable.
  • Excuses are valid because in cases of excuse the defendant did not intentionally harm someone.
  • Lack of free will is the basis for both justifications and excuses.

Q7. Which of the following distinguish American contract law from civil law contracts doctrines?

  • American contract law requires consideration to enforce promises.
  • American contract law requires assent to impose any liability.
  • American contract law rarely regulates the content of contractual terms.
  • All of the above.

Q8. The United States declared independence from Great Britain in 1776, and created an initial constitution, called the Articles of Confederation, soon thereafter. Why did leaders of the new nation come back to Philadelphia in 1787 for another constitutional convention to draft a new document?

  • A. They wanted to explore an arrangement whereby they would rejoin a confederation led by Great Britain.
  • B. The national government under the Articles of Confederation lacked essential powers.
  • C. The Articles of Confederation insufficiently protected individual rights and freedoms.
  • D. Leaders from southern states were concerned about northern efforts to abolish slavery, and wanted a document to protect their interests.

Q9. When the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies

  • “the thing speaks for itself” and plaintiffs can more easily meet the evidentiary burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence.
  • “ the employer is responsible “ and defendants can sue employers for injuries committed by their employees in the scope of employment”.
  • the burden of proof shifts from the “preponderance of the evidence” standard to a “ clear and convincing evidence” standard.

Q10. The United States has long been a regime of strong judicial review, where the U.S. Supreme Court has the authority to declare the meaning of the Constitution, even in cases where the President and/or Congress disagree and even where the Court’s rulings have the effect of invalidating the actions of the President and/or Congress. What variable is most responsible for the Supreme Court’s authority in this area?

  • The text of Article III in the Constitution, which establishes the judicial branch.
  • The fact that the justices of the Supreme Court have life tenure.
  • The fact that over time various Presidents, members of Congress, and the broader public have come to recognize and accept the Supreme Court’s preeminent interpretive authority.

Q11. The sentence that a convicted defendant receives is of the utmost importance to the defendant, to the criminal justice system, and to society at large. Which of the following statements about sentencing is most true (choose one)?

  • Sentences are based only on their effectiveness at crime control.
  • Sentences are quite uniform throughout the United States.
  • Compared to the prison sentences other western developed nations impose on defendants for various crimes, prison sentences in the United States tend be considerably longer.
  • Except for capital sentencing, juries decide how much sentence the defendant should receive.

Q12. Which of the following is the most distinctive feature of American property law?

  • Its Legal Realist dimension.
  • Its reliance on the common law.
  • Its pragmatic orientation.

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