In deciding what the facts are, you may have to decide what testimony you do and do not believe, in full or in part. You may consider the memory of a witness, any motives a witness may have for testifying a certain way, and the general reasonableness of the testimony.
Here are the legal standards that apply in this case. The Plaintiff, Sidney Young, has the burden of proving each fact by a preponderance of the evidence — meaning that it is more likely true than not true. If the evidence is equally balanced on any issue, it has not been proved, then you must decide it in favor of the Defendants, Riley Gardner and his mother.
Negligence is the failure to use ordinary or reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or others. A person is negligent if he or she does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in that situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in that situation. You must decide how a reasonably careful person would have acted in a situation.
For the Plaintiff to establish that he was harmed by Riley Gardner’s negligence, the Plaintiff must prove (1) that Mr. Gardner’s conduct was negligent and (2) that the negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to Plaintiff.
For the Plaintiff to establish that he was harmed by Tracy Gardner’s negligent supervision of her son Riley, Plaintiff must prove: (1) that Ms. Gardner observed dangerous behavior by Riley that led to the Plaintiff’s injuries or else was aware that Riley had habits or tendencies that created an unreasonable risk of harm to other persons; (2) that Ms. Gardner had the opportunity and ability to control Riley’s conduct; (3) that Ms. Gardner negligently failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent that conduct or to take reasonable precautions to prevent harm to others; and (4) that Ms. Gardner’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to the Plaintiff.
In a typical civil suit of this kind, if you decide that the Plaintiff should win on any claim, then you must decide whether he has been damaged and, if so, the amount of those damages. Damages include any past and future medical expenses, any economic loss, and any physical/mental pain and suffering. In light of the time constraints for this exercise, I am instructing you not to consider damages.