November 7 Case and Notes

November 7 Case and Notes - November 7, 2008 3. Public...

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November 7, 2008 3. Public Policy Kelly v. Gwinnell Supreme Court of NJ, 1984 Law: The reasonable and prudent person at the time and place should recognize and foresee an unreasonable risk or likelihood of harm or danger to others. When negligent conduct creates such a risk, setting off foreseeable consequences that lead to injury, the conduct is deemed the proximate cause of the injury. Facts: Df spent an hour or two drinking at co-df’s home. After ward, Co-dfs accompanied him outside, chatted, and watched him as he drove off to go home. En route df was involved and caused a head on collision with pl who was seriously injured. Reasoning: A reasonable person in df’s position could forsee quite clearly that this continued provision of alcohol was making it more likely that co-df would not be able to operate his car carefully. Thousands of people are killed every year as a result of this activity. The Gov. imposes a criminal sanction for violations of duty to refrain from this activity in accordance with the state’s policy. A host who serves liquor to an adult social guest, knowing both that the guest is intoxicated and will operate a vehicle, is liable for injuries inflicted upon a third party as a result. Issue: Whether a social host who enables an adult guest at his home to become drunk is liable to the victim of an automobile accident caused by the drunken driving of the guest? Procedure: Pl sued both df/co-df. Trial ct granted df summary; App ct. affirmed. Holding: Reversed. Notes from the Case: Court of Appeals of NY, 1991 Law: The cause of the injury has to have a direct connection and not too remote to establish liability. Facts: Pl’s Karen’s grandmother ingested DES resulting in Pl Patricia’s abnormalities of her reproductive system. These abnormalities causes several miscarriages and the premature birth of Karen. Karen suffers from cerebral palsy and other disabilites attributed to the DES. DES a synthetic estrogen was prescribed for use by pregnant women to prevent miscarriages. The FDA later banned its use b/c of the high incidence of cancer and other associated abnormalities and malformations it caused. Reasoning: To recognize a cause of action for a child injured by the ingestion of DES two generations back is not manageable. This would assume that every birth has the implication of being perfect and if not torts would arise. The legislature has chosen to modify the law with respect to DES litigants, and has chosen not to include the class of persons the pl belongs to. This cause of action could not be confined without drawing artificial and arbitrary boundaries. The effects of DES may extend for several more generations. The ct’s duty is to confine liability w/i manageable limits. Manufacturers are liable commensurate with the risk imposed upon a specific class. The tort system is not the only available means to ensure safety over this product, the FDA exists for that. Public policy has
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November 7 Case and Notes - November 7, 2008 3. Public...

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