Generally: - Background: o Premise: Everyone agrees that at some point we need to cut off liability o Issue: Where do we draw the line for liability? o Answer: No set rule Atlantic Coastline: “We are drawing arbitrary lines” o Policy: Fairness - Situation: o Have already established factual causation? - 4 Scenarios of Legal Causation 1. Unforeseeable consequences 2. Intervening causes 3. Public policy 4. Shifting of the risk - FOR EXAM: 1. TRY THE FACTS UNDER DIFFERENT APPROACHES 2. PROVIDE REASONABLE OUTCOMES 1. Unforeseeable consequences very difficult Tests: 1. Remoteness in time and space when it combines with other factors, may persuade court to cut off liability ( Ryan ) 2. Egg-shell rule take the ∏ as you find him A. Direct causation/ hindsight approach Generally not followed - Conditions: o Direct causation nothing more needed to happen ∆’s negligence occurred on a set stage What should be the effect on ∆’s liability? Polemis: ∆ should be liable
o Why? Because that’s fair - Direct causation rule: In the absence of an intervening cause, ∏ is liable for all consequences of her negligent act - Example: Polemis case o Facts: ∏ chartered ships to ∆. While ∆ was unloading ship, worker dropped a blank blank hit spark spark hit fume fume caused fire fire destroyed ship o Held: For ∆ o Rationale: Although ∆’s were negligent, they could not have reasonably foreseen the consequences of their action. Nonetheless, the fire is a direct result of negligent, ∆’s are liable. - Major problem: Direct causation view creates limitless liability - Example: Ryan case o Facts: ∆ operates train engine in a negligent manner. Negligent causes fire to ∆’s woodshed. Fire from ∆’s woodshed spread to ∏’s house, which burns down. ∏ sues. o Held: For ∆ o Rationale: Destruction of woodshed proximate; destruction of ∏’s house remote Proximate usual, normal, to be anticipated Remote unusual, abnormal, not to be anticipated, not due to factors within the control of ∆ o Analysis: NY law ∆ is responsible for proximate, not remote damages NY felt it was needed to stop the line of liability somewhere Rationale: Fairness Example: If they did not, ∆ could be liable for 24 th house that got burned down o RULE : ∆ is liable for proximate, not remote harms harms, i.e. those within ∆’s “control” Rome first structure or property to catch fire which did not belong to the railroad would be proximate (all other were not proximate) C. Foreseeability i. Consequences - GENERAL RULE: ∆ is liable only for those consequences that were reasonably foreseeable at the time of action - Example 1: Wagon Mound No.1 o Facts: ∆’s boat leaked oil in water which adhered to ∏’s wharf. One of ∏’s employees dropped molten metal into the water and caused a fire, destroying ∏’s wharf.
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