Torts II-ME - 1 Torts II Outline Professor Joseph By:...

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Torts II Outline Professor Joseph By: Michael Ertel I. Abnormally Dangerous Activities Rylands v. Flecher (page 669, 1865) The D (mill owner) built a reservoir on the land that P (coal miner) rented from Lord Wilton. The miners worked toward the reservoir until it hit abandoned mine shafts. The D’s contractors noticed the vertical shafts while excavating for the reservoir but did not realize they were ‘mine shafts.’ When the reservoir was filled the shafts gave way, and the water leaked in and eventually met with the shafts of the P. Rule : Any mischief on one’s land that escapes onto the land of another is prima facie evidence for all the damages naturally arising from its consequences. Thus, there is a distinction between natural use and non-natural use. If the dangerous act is one from natural use, then the D is not liable. At the time, the courts were careful not to inhibit the industrial revolution. Natural : defined as natural within the particular industry of practice. 2 exceptions/defenses to this rule are : (1) Acts of God, and (2) The P’s own conduct. [Comparative Fault] For D’s Natural use of the land P cannot recover. For D’s non-Natural use of the land P can recover. Restatement 2 nd of Torts : Adopted verbatim by nearly all jurisdictions, even NY. § 519 : General Principle (1) One who carries on an abnormally dangerous activity is subject to liability for harm to the person, land or chattels of another resulting from the activity, although he has exercised the utmost care to prevent the harm. (2) This strict liability is limited to the kind of harm, the possibility of which makes the activity abnormally dangerous. [Proximate Cause Cut-Off] 1 1
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§ 520 : 6 Factors to Determine if an Activity is Abnormally Dangerous In determining whether an activity is abnormally dangerous, the following factors are to be considered: (a) Existence of a high degree of risk of some harm to the person, land or chattels of others; (b) Likelihood that the harm that results from it will be great [learned hand]; (c) Inability to eliminate the risk by the exercise of reasonable care; (d) Extent to which the activity is not a matter of common usage [natural v. non- natural]; (e) Inappropriateness of the activity to the place where it is carried on; and (f) Extent to which its value to the community is outweighed by its dangerous attributes. (g) Look to who is insured, who can bear the burden You do not have to have all these factors, they are just to be taken into consideration. The Judge looks at the evidence, decides if the activity is abnormally dangerous and then tells the jury. If an activity is abnormally dangerous and you act with reasonable care, you will still be held to strict liability so long as there is proximate cause. So this abnormally dangerous activity doctrine is setting up an activity where liability
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This note was uploaded on 02/18/2008 for the course LAW 1020 taught by Professor Dilorenzo during the Spring '99 term at St. Johns Duplicate.

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Torts II-ME - 1 Torts II Outline Professor Joseph By:...

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