Jensen v. White Star Lines (c) Anderson Kill & Olick 1998

Welcome to Anderson Kill & Olick's Titanic mock trial site. Each year on Take Your Daughter to Work Day we conduct a mock trial to show our daughters and the daughters of many of our pro bono clients what we do each day.  This year we staged the trial of The White Star Line, the operator of the R.M.S. Titanic.  Our daughters were so interested in this trial, even more so than any of the previous mock trials we had done, that we decide to give everyone the opportunity to participate in this mock trial by posting trial materials on the Internet as part of our celebration of Law Day, May 1, 1998.

The Story for the most part is true.  Hans Jensen and his fiancé, Carla Jensen were passengers on the Titanic along with Carla's uncle and cousin. Carla did have quarters in the single woman's section on the lower deck of the ship and did leave the Titanic in Life Boat 16.  The evacuation process was supervised by Second Officer Lightoller, a witness in the mock trial. He was able to launch Collapsible Boat D, but this was the last lifeboat launched from the Titanic before it sank. As Boat D was being lowered past A-Deck, the other witness in the mock trial, Swedish Military Attaché Bjornstrom-Steffanson really did dive into the partially full lifeboat. The amazing story of Officer Lightoller being sucked under by the sinking ship and then blown back to the surface by an exploding boiler is also true.  The information about what happened to Hans Jensen that night is speculation, because neither he, nor either of Carla's relatives survived the sinking of the Titantic.  The sinking of the Titanic deeply affected Carla and when she died in 1980 she was buried in the nightgown that she wore the night she was lowered in Lifeboat 16 into the dark, freezing waters of the North Atlantic.

To Use the Site start with the basic facts below, then decide how you are going to proceed. The site has information about Hans Jensen, his fiancé  Carla Christine Jensen who sues on Hans' behalf, the defendant White Star Lines and the witnesses, the Titanic's  Second Officer Lightoller and Swedish military attaché Bjornstrom-Steffansson. A memoranda of law explaining negligence law and White Star's defenses to negligence are on the website along with an exhibit showing where each party was as the ship was being evacuated.  A set of  links provides more information about Titanic, the U.S. judicial process and Law Day. At the end of the testimony the judge has a jury charge to read to the jurors and they have a verdict sheet  to fill out and return to the judge. In addition, a glossary of trial related terms is included.

The materials can be used in many different ways by a variety of groups.  While designed for classroom use, the materials can be used by a scout troop for law merit badges, by an after school program, such as computer or debate club, or even by summer camp or party.  Younger students may be most interested in finding out about the Titanic and doing research on the Internet, while older students can explore some of the more complex issues such as the jurisdiction of U.S. courts to decide cases between non-U.S. citizens. A Teacher's Guide provides more information about the American Judicial Process and ways to use the material.

THE FACTS:  On Sunday, April 14, 1912, just four days after setting out on its first voyage with passengers aboard, the R.M.S.TITANIC passenger ship struck an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland at 11:40 p.m., and subsequently sank at 2:20 a.m.

   Of the 2,227 people aboard when the ship started its trans-Atlantic voyage a total of 1,522 died in the disaster.  Among the dead, was a 20-year-old named Hans Peder Jensen.   Jensen's fiancé, Carla Christine Jensen was among the remaining 705 passengers ultimately rescued by the CARPATHIA liner, several hours later.

   On the fateful evening, the ship's radio room, received several ice-warning messages from other ships in the area; including the Baltic, the Caronia, the Amerika, and the Californian.   According to the testimony of surviving officers, only the message from the Californian was posted in the chartroom.

   At 9:20 p.m., Captain Smith retired for the evening, leaving Second Officer Lightoller in charge. Lightoller's watch was over at 10:00 and he then made his rounds of the ship before retiring to bed. Captain Smith was awoken at 11:40 p.m., by a grinding vibration, and proceeded to the bridge in his pajamas to investigate.  He returned to his room, after a brief discussion with Third Officer Herbert Pitman about the noise.  Ten minutes later, the severity of the situation was brought to Smith's attention by Fourth Officer Boxhall, who informed him that "the water was up to F-Deck in the Mail Room."

   Upon receiving orders from Captain Smith, Second Officer Lightoller immediately began to load women and children into Lifeboats.  During the next 2 ½ hours, many lifeboats left partially full.  By 2:00 a.m., all but four lifeboats had been lowered, and every distress-flare had been fired.

   At dawn on April 15th, 1912, the CARPATHIA arrived on the scene, and those who had not yet frozen in the icy, North Atlantic waters, were rescued.

Judicial Process | Plaintiff | Defendant | Basic Facts | Negligence Law | Defenses | Witnesses
Jury Charge | Verdict Sheet | Contact AKO


Links | Glossary | Awards & Comments | Estate of Peder Jensen | Carla Christine Jensen's Information for her Attorney | The White Star Line | Second Officer Lightoller's Memo to the White Star's Lawyer | Mauritz Hakan Bjornstrom-Steffansson's Letter to White Star Line Counsel | Plaintiff's Exhibit I | Teacher's Guide to Jensen v. White Star Lines | The Judicial Process in the US

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