Introduce the lesson by asking students:
does the term environmental law mean to you?
do we need environmental laws?
would our lives be different without them?
the class has discussed these questions inform them
that (as the previous lesson described), at times
citizens must bring actions to court to enforce environmental
laws when a government agency fails to do so.
the following legal terms from the Duhaime Legal Dictionary
http://www.duhaime.org either through
lecture/discussion or handout.
Not only are we responsible for the intentional
harm we cause, but failure to act reasonably
filters down to similar circumstances (i.e. "negligence")
also giving rise to compensation. Negligence,
if it causes injury to another, may cause
a liability suit under tort (see definition
below). Negligence is always assessed having
regards to the circumstances and to the standard
of care that would reasonably be expected
of a person in similar circumstances. Everybody
has a duty to ensure their actions do not
cause harm to others.
Excessive or unlawful use of one's property to
the extent of unreasonable annoyance or inconvenience
to a neighbor or to the public. Nuisance is a
Tort refers to that body of the law which will
allow an injured person to obtain compensation
from the person who caused the injury. Every
person is expected to conduct themselves without
others. When they do so, either intentionally
or by negligence they can be required by a
pay money to the injured party ("damages")
so that, ultimately, they will suffer the pain
caused by their action. Tort also serves as
a deterrent by sending a message to the community
as to what
is unacceptable conduct.
A case involving use of toxic chemicals and
hazardous waste that may cause health problems
for an individual
or a group of people.
discussing the terms show one or more of the pictures
An excellent example would be the picture
from the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp.” http://environment.about.com/library/images/blairpollutionf.htm
Use the photo to apply the legal terms
to a real situation. Ask the students:
is the “nuisance” illustrated
in this picture?
would be “negligent” in
this case result in a tort case? For example, is there
could suffer damages from what you see taking place in the picture?
(You may want to show several
different images if possible
to promote a
1. Divide the class into groups of 4
or 5 and give each group one of the
(some of the articles are longer than
a jigsaw method might work well to
through the article)
As they read they should answer the following
was the title of the article you read?
the plaintiff and defendant in the case.
was the nuisance or what were the damages in the case?
this case an example of a toxic tort case or not?
there a settlement? Explain.
Allow students 15 minutes to discuss their answers.
Have students number off in each group 1-4 (groups
2-1’s). Pick one number
(3 for example). Ask all the
three’s to the
front of the room to tell the
class about their case by going
over answers to questions.
After each group has discussed their article pass out a half-sheet of paper
to every student. Ask them to respond to the following statements:
laws are necessary because……..
An example of a “toxic tort” is………
I agree or disagree that court cases are legitimate avenues to enforce
environmental laws because………
the slips from the students as they leave class at