Torts II Outline-JS

Torts II Outline-JS - Torts2 Spring 2002 Villiers Torts II...

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Torts2 Spring 2002 Villiers Torts II Outline I. Strict Liability (No need to show intent or negligence). Synonymous with “liability without fault” and “absolute liability”. A. Types of Strict Liability 1. Animals 2. Abnormally Dangerous Activities 3. Products Liability B. General Principles of strict liability 1. Easier to prove than negligence—relieves plaintiff of burden of proof 2. Reflects a policy decision to not stigmatize an activity (i.e., negligence) but to make that activity “pay its own way”. 3. Creates incentive to be careful A. Trespassing Animals 1. Common-law rule : a trespassing animal creates strict liability for the animal owner or anyone possessing that animal for any harm caused by the trespassing animal. This rule applies in the absence of a fencing statute. Even without damage, a trespass can create liability. 2. Exceptions a. Dogs and cats are not subject to this strict liability because they are difficult to confine and are customarily permitted to roam b. Animals driven to market are not liable for trespass to land adjoining the highway (but may be liable for trespass to non-adjoining land) c. Fencing in and Fencing out statutes curtail the liability i. Fencing In statutes : W here an animal owner has fences in place then he/she not strictly liable if animal manages to escape and cause damage: This becomes a negligence issue. 1) no fence = strict liability on animal owner 2) fence = no strict liability on animal owner ii. Fencing Out statutes : Where a landowner has fences in place and an animal enters anyway, then the animal owner is strictly liable. 1) fence = strict liability on animal owner 2) no fence = no strict liability on animal owner 3. In Eastern states, the common-law rule typically applies or fencing in statutes Western states generally have fencing out statutes. B. Personal injury by trespassing animals 1. Strict liability for dangerous animals a. Wild animals : the majority rule is that there is strict liability for injuries caused by a wild animal that has species-type dangerous propensities b. Domestic Animals : strict liability only if owner knew or should have known (“scienter”; foreseeability) that the specific animal had vicious propensities toward humans . Otherwise, a negligence standard applies. i. Vicious propensity determined by individual animal, not by breed. ii. If animal known to attack only animals, this is not a “vicious propensity”.
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2. Wild versus Domesticated a. Domesticated = Devoted to service to mankind (culturally determined) 3. Plaintiff’s contributory behavior (assumption of risk ) can limit or bar recovery. C. Abnormally Dangerous Activities 1. General Rule : One who carries on abnormally dangerous or ultra-hazardous activities is strictly liable (majority rule, includes NY), for any damage that proximately results from the dangerous nature of the activity 1. A natural event or situation does not create strict liability, but an unnatural or artificial event or situation does
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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 Outline-JS - Torts2 Spring 2002 Villiers Torts II...

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