Torts II - Case List -RS

Torts II - Case List -RS - Torts 2 Case List Spring 2002...

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Torts 2 Case List Spring 2002 Torts 2 - Case List - Spring 2002 Casebook - Prosser, Wade and Schwartz - Torts, 10th Ed. Strict Liability - Animals, Abnormally dangerous Activities 1. Ryland v. Fletcher , 159 Eng. Rep (1865), p. 687 - three cases, Def, PL, PL, Original case to establish concept of strict liability for harm, though no fault exists on part of defendant. Actual rule of the case was mistakenly held for a long time to be the 2nd trial rule, which was elaborated upon and dramatically narrowed in the final third trial in the house of lords; namely, that if Δ is engaged in a non-natural use of the land, having introduced something on the land, then the Δ was liable for foreseeable damage resulting. 2. Bridges v. The Kentucky Stone Co., Inc , 425 N.E. 2d 125 (1981), p.694 - Dynamite explosion. Dynamite was stolen from Δ, used by a third party weeks later and many miles away to intentionally blow up π's house - killing his son in the process. π argued that Δ was negligent in storing the dynamite, enabling 3rd party to obtain it. Court held for Δ, saying that the strict liability associated with dynamite was the risk from improper, even negligent storage, but that associated with actual use of the dynamite and the damage from blasting. The theft and criminal usage of the dynamite was a superceding intervening cause and there by broke the chain of liability here. [See RS 2nd §520] 3. Indiana Harbor Belt R.R. Co. v. American Cyanamid , 916 F.2d 1174 (1990), p. 693 π attempting to recover from Δ for costs of cleanup for - Activity, not the item/thing, is what makes something abnormally dangerous. Limitations of strict liability 4. Foster v. Preston Mill Co. , 44 Wash.2d 440 (1954), p. 704 - Blasting & minks; Strict Liability is limited for public policy reasons (as with prox. cause in regular negligence) to the type of harm that makes the activity abnormally dangerous to begin with. 5. Golden v. Amory , 329 Mass. 484 (1952), p. 707 - hurricane, two counts (1) defendant had no permit from country for dike; (2) negligence in maintenance of dike. Bad decision , which misapplied the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher, saying that strict liabilty is not applied for unforeseeable acts of God. 'vis major' 1 This isn’t true, and the Restat. 2 nd of Torts doesn’t hold this. 6. Sandy v. Bushey , 124 Me. 320 (1925), p. 708 - Horse kicked π. Issue of whether contributory neg. by π serves to abrogate liability in situations of strict liability. Courts said there was no contrib. neg. from the evidence - ∆’s vicious horse “snuck up” on π and attacked. Far from being contributory, the π tried to avoid the problem. Several other issues here: (1) Prox. cause rears its head even in strict liability... issue of whether keeping the animal alone is enough to impose liability vs. actions done by plaintiff that may have brought on the harm. (2) Contrib neg 1 Vis Major - 1. A greater or superior force; an irresistible force "force majeure" 2. A loss that results immediately from a natural cause w/o human intervention and that could not have been prevented by exercise of prudent care.
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