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Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud

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Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 24 Sep 2018, 08:42
2
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A
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  35% (medium)

Question Stats:

73% (02:15) correct 27% (02:40) wrong based on 258 sessions

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Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state judge agreed to combine a series of workplace disability cases involving repetitive stress injuries to the hands and wrists. The judge’s decision to consolidate hundreds of suits by data entry workers, word processors, newspaper employees, and other workers who use computers into one case is likely to prove detrimental for the computer manufacturing companies being sued, notwithstanding the defense’s argument that the cases should not be combined because of the different individuals and workplaces involved.

Which of the following, if true, casts the most serious doubt on the validity of the judge’s decision to consolidate the cases?


A. Unlike asbestos exposure cases, in which the allegedly liable product is the same in each situation, the type and quality of the allegedly liable office equipment is different in each case.

B. The fact that consolidation will accelerate the legal process may prove advantageous for the defense, as it limits the number of witnesses who can testify for the plaintiffs.

C. One of the most common causes of repetitive stress injuries is companies’ failure to allow its employees adequate rest time from using computer keyboards.

D. Whereas exposure to asbestos often leads to fatal forms of cancer, repetitive stress injury typically results in personal discomfort and only rarely in unemployability.

E. The issue of responsibility for repetitive stress injury cannot be resolved without first addressing the question of its existence as an actual medical condition.


This is from the Kaplan Practice Test

Originally posted by arvindg on 28 Jan 2011, 11:01.
Last edited by Bunuel on 24 Sep 2018, 08:42, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2011, 12:18
Hi,

we identify a weakening question, so our task is to find the judge's conclusion, summarize the judge's evidence and then identify the judge's assumption. We then predict that the correct answer will attack the judge's assumption, severing the link between the evidence and the conclusion.

Conclusion: should consolidate the repetitive stress cases
Evidence: precedent set by asbestos cases

What's the missing link? Here, the judge has to be assuming that the reasons for consolidation in the asbestos cases also apply to the repetitive stress cases.

Our prediction to weaken: a key difference between the asbestos cases and the repetitive stress cases.

Only A and D even mention the asbestos cases, so we can quickly eliminate B, C and E.

A: a key difference between the types of cases - correct!

D: focuses on the varying severity of injuries, not the legal aspects of the cases. We're not expected to be legal experts, so we don't know if severity of injury is a valid legal difference. If we don't know, then (D) is by definition outside of the scope.

Here's a good general rule to follow: if an answer requires you to apply outside information (i.e. facts/knowledge not stated in the stimulus or the choice), then it's not the correct answer to the question.
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Re: Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2011, 04:01
I chose C because (I thought) it brings out a key difference between the asbestos and the RSI scenarios. If the companies (employers) had given adequate rest time, then their employees would not have developed RSI. This places the blame on the employers instead of the computer equipment manufacturers (who are being sued).

I get the line of thinking that results in the answer A, but it would be useful to know how/why to rule out an answer such as C.
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Re: Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2011, 15:02
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arvindg wrote:
I chose C because (I thought) it brings out a key difference between the asbestos and the RSI scenarios. If the companies (employers) had given adequate rest time, then their employees would not have developed RSI. This places the blame on the employers instead of the computer equipment manufacturers (who are being sued).

I get the line of thinking that results in the answer A, but it would be useful to know how/why to rule out an answer such as C.


C might be a valid reason not to find the computer manufacturers liable, but it's irrelevant regarding the consolidation of the cases, which is the issue at hand.

In fact, if C were more strongly worded (more on that below), it might actually strengthen the argument to consolidate, since the same issue would arise in every case. Basically, the judge could preside over every case against the computer manufacturers together and throw them out en masse for the same reason, saving taxpayers the cost of hundreds of different trials.

Further, C does not bring out a key difference between the two types of cases - it provides no information at all about the cause of injury in the asbestos cases. Since C only provides info about one of the two, it's impossible to classify it as a "key difference" indicator.

Another reason to eliminate C is its weak language. For weakening questions, the general rules is that we want a powerful reason to doubt the conclusion. Qualified language, such as "one of the most common", generally indicates wrong answers on strengthen and weaken questions.

For example, what exactly does "one of the most common causes" mean? It could mean that it's true 80% of the time. However, it could also mean that there are 100 different causes and, at a 5% occurrence rate, this explanation is among the most common 2 or 3 of those 100. Since we can't quantify C without outside information, it can't be the right answer.

As a small aside, assumption and inference questions have the exact opposite trap; for those question types, we typically avoid extreme wording in the answers.
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Re: Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2011, 17:50
Oh nice question which takes long to understand, but at the end, everything fits together.
Btw: the judge would have a lot of work, when processing suits of GMAT test takers, because of theirs eye injury :)
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Re: Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2011, 19:38
skovinsky wrote:
C might be a valid reason not to find the computer manufacturers liable, but it's irrelevant regarding the consolidation of the cases, which is the issue at hand.


Stuart, thanks for the explanation. I now get it.
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Re: Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2011, 23:10
Both A & D are valid. Question would have been great w/o D in it. Different outcomes DO lead to different rulings, it's a common sense; you dont have to be a lawyer. One is death, another is discomfort. Clearly packing them together in one case is wrong. There is a too big of a contrast between outcomes (death vs discomfort) to ignore option D.
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Re: Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2011, 00:15
I went with D. But as per skovinsky, the OA is A.

Edit: I agree with PussInBoots. D is too tempting to ignore.
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Re: Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Feb 2011, 19:40
D is a comparison trap. The answer choice will compare two things which are irrelevant to the conclusion. We are interested in "why" of consolidation rather than the "extent" of the damage.

naveenhv wrote:
I went with D. D is too tempting to ignore.
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Re: Citing the legal precedent set by asbestos exposure cases, a state jud  [#permalink]

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