Neglgence - Negligence: irresponsible behavior I. General...

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Negligence: irresponsible behavior I. General a. The heart of negligence is blame and unreasonableness. i. Who is to blame? ii. There must be something that the court finds socially unacceptable. iii. The problem with this is that it is difficult to quantify. b. Who suffers the moral shortcomings? c. Does it have to be an act? Can it be an omission? II. 4 Elements Negligence (plaintiff must overcome all four to prevail) (Duty+Breach are often referred to as negligent behavior) a. Duty i. Did defendant owe the plaintiff a duty to conform his conduct to a standard necessary to void an unreasonable risk of harm to others? ii. Different Standards of Duty 1. The Average Reasonable Person Standard – does your behavior conform to the standard of the average reasonable person? a. How do you determine what an average reasonable person would have done? b. The reasonable person has certain general body of knowledge we expect them to have c. A reasonable person is supposed to know about the community which he lives in i. City person should know about city life ii. Farmer should know about farm life d. If you don’t know things about the community which you live in, BUTT OUT! You can be held liable for interfering in things when you know you have know knowledge (they are known unknowns) e. They are humble about the limits of their own knowledge (they don’t try and do things that requires specialized knowledge when they know they don’t have it) f. To what extent should custom be considered as reasonable behavior i. Custom is merely evidence of what a reasonable person would do. ii. Custom at law means some type of industry wide standard. 1. It has to be fairly well established in the industry. 2. You must establish that it is sufficiently definite within the industry. iii. What effect does the custom have on the determination? iv. Can you use it as a shield? YES v. You don’t want to be the outlier of the custom because it can show that you were negligent. vi. Customary behavior can be above or below the standards of reasonable care. vii. It is almost always easier to determine custom than reasonable care. viii. Where custom and reasonable care are close, jury tends to go with custom. ix. Individual companies safety manual is not an industry wide standard. g. Ex: Woman is in supermarket, slips and falls on a peach. i. She alleges they were negligent and did not check the aisles enough ii. Supermarket claims she did not look where she was going and they were checking the aisles enough. iii. How frequently would a reasonable person check their aisles if they were running a supermarket? What is the custom of the industry?
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h. Ex: Person dies of carbon monoxide poisoning. Detectors cost probably around $30. You are a landlord. Carbon monoxide detectors are not mandated, but you are worried about it. You can avoid the risk by installing the detectors. Would a reasonable landlord do it? To what extent is custom relevant?
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Neglgence - Negligence: irresponsible behavior I. General...

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