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Stanford Law School Case Studies Collection

Simulation Abstracts

Case Number: SLS Simulation No. 98-004
Title: Appeal on the Issuance of a Permit for the Use of Methyl Bromide
Author: Barton H. ("Buzz") Thompson, Jr., Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law and Flora Y. F. Chu, Lecturer
Abstract: The simulation centers around methyl bromide, a potent neurotoxin that is used extensively as a fumigant in the strawberry fields in California. Modeled after a real dispute in Castroville California, it focuses on the appeal by a group of residents regarding the issuance of a permit for the use of methyl bromide near their homes. These residents have long expressed concerns about the potential health effects that can result from the drift of methyl bromide during fumigation. This appeal is part of their effort stop or restrict the use of methyl bromide. Students are assigned to be either the legal, scientific, or community representatives of the residents or the staff from the administrative agency overseeing the issuance of permits. They submit trial briefs and present oral testimony and arguments before an administrative hearing officer in support of their respective positions. This simulation trains students to acquire the basic skills in research, writing, and the presentation of scientific and legal information and arguments to lay and regulatory audiences. In addition, students learn how to determine and understand the underlying causes of the scientific debate and conflicting views surrounding the safe use of methyl bromide.
Key Words: Pesticides, administrative hearing, methyl bromide, scientific uncertainty, pesticide fumigation, pesticide drift.

Case Number: SLS Simulation No. 98-003
Title: Interview and Counseling of a Farmworker
Author: Barton H. ("Buzz") Thompson, Jr., Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law and Flora Y. F. Chu, Lecturer
Abstract: This simulation centers on the health complaints of a fictional farmworker, Miguel Zapata, and his family. As a farmworker working in the cotton fields in the Central Valley of California, Mr. Zapata is heavily exposed to pesticides, herbicides, and other agricultural chemicals. Students, given a bare minimum of information about the Zapatas, are assigned to work in multidisciplinary teams to interview, investigate and counsel Mr. Zapata on his available options. In addition to providing training for students on the basic interviewing and counseling skills, this simulation is designed to present scientific issues that highlight the differing and sometimes conflicting perspectives of the lay public, scientists, and legal professionals. Students have to identify these multiple perspectives, reflect on and arrive at an understanding on their impact, and, with the help of Mr. Zapata, arrive at a plan of action for Mr. Zapata that would best address his concerns.
Key Words: Farmworker, pesticides, pesticide drift, pesticide exposure, health effects of pesticides, organophosphates, occupational health and safety, interviewing, counseling, scientific uncertainty, legal rights of farmworkers.

Case Number: SLS Simulation No. 98-001
Title: Mountain Winery Simulation
Case Files:
Author: Meg Caldwell, Lecturer
Abstract: Developer Ray Collishaw will approach the City of Saratoga with a "master plan" proposal to have the City annex the Mountain Winery property and to develop a new zoning district to accommodate expansion of the historic Paul Masson Mountain Winery's performing arts venue and new residential/commercial development on the site. In return, Mr. Collishaw offers several "gifts" and "commitments" to the City, including dedication of 350 acres for a new city park or open space and new revenue sources. During the in-class simulation: (1) the developer's team present and defend their development and zoning proposal to the City Council and community members; (2) community members concerned about environmental issues give public testimony; and (3) city staff engage the developer's team with their questions and concerns and ultimately render a recommendation to the City Council.
Key Words: Land use planning and zoning; general plan; prezoning; annexation; contract zoning; conditional zoning; community activists; economic development; police power; public hearing; parks; open space; master plan.

Case Number: SLS Simulation No. 98-002
Title: Redevelopment of the New York Coliseum: A Negotiation
Case Files:
Teaching Note: SLS Simulation No. 98-003 (20 pages)
Author: Mario Palumbo, JD/ MBA Stanford '98
Abstract: The Introduction and Background Materials set the stage for an in-class negotiation over issues raised by the New York City Municipal Arts Society's lawsuit and publicity campaign to stop developer Mortimer Zuckerman from redeveloping the now vacant New York Coliseum (formerly New York's main convention space) into a 2.7 million square foot mixed-use complex. Parties to the negotiation include the Mayor, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the developer, and community groups. Negotiation tips and rules explain effective negotiation techniques, provide preparatory questions, and lay out the precise rules of the negotiation. The Teaching Note contains a short primer on zoning terms and limitations, the confidential and individual roles information that should be provided to each negotiating party, discussion questions, and a short summary of what actually occurred.
Key Words: Land use planning and zoning; bonus or incentive zoning; contract zoning; conditional zoning; community activists; redevelopment; negotiation.