Ex: D’s toothless pet leopard escapes cage without fault of D and wanders into park, causing P to break her arm while trying to flee. D is STRICTLY LIABLE to P Ex. D’s dynamite truck blows a tire without warning and hits pedestrian. D not STRICTLY LIABLE to P. However, if truck then crashed and exploded, & explosion injured bystander, D would be STRICTLY LIABLE to BYSTANDER . PROXIMATE CAUSE Same view as in general negligence. D’s liability can be cut off by UNFORESEEABLE INTERVENING FORCES. STRICT LIABILITY DEFENSES CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE STATES P’s contributory negligence is NO DEFENSE if P simply failed to realize danger or guard against its existence. It IS A DEFENSE – IF P KNEW OF DANGER AND UNREASONABLE CONDUCT WAS THE VERY CAUSE OF THE HARM FROM WILD ANIMAL OR ABNORMALLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY. KNOWLEDGE = CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE HERE. COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE STATES Same as general Negligence STRICT LIABILITY CASES Fletcher v. Rylands (Eng. 1866) D LIABLE / P WINS (STRICT LIABILITY APPLIES INSTEAD OF NEGLIGENCE STANDARD. LIABLE IF YOU USE LAND FOR NON_NATURAL USE AND SOMETHING ESCAPES) -Rylands v. Fletcher (Eng. 1868) D STILL LIABLE / P WINS (RE-ANALYSIS OF NATURAL VS. UNNATURAL USE. HOLDS D USED LAND UNNATURALLY) TURNER V. BIG OIL CO. (1936) (COURT DID NOT WANT TO USE RYLAND TEST. IN TEXAS, PONDS NATURAL USE) 40 | P a g e
P a g e | 41 FACTS: oil company constructed large, artificial earthen ponds to store polluted water that was generated by its oil wells. On one occasion, water escaped from ponds – flowed onto the landowner’s property and into the water sources of the landowners used to water their livestock. Landowners filed suit to recover damages for the harm caused to their property. Argued STRICT LIABILITY HOLDING: Landowners REQUIRED TO DEMONSTRATE NEGLIGENCE by oil co in order to recover damages for the harm caused to their property. SIEGLER V. KUHLMAN (1972) (TRANSPORTATION OF GASOLINE IN LARGE QUANTITIES IS AN ABNORMALLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY. STRICT LIABILITY FOR FORESEEABLE DAMAGES) FACTS: D driving truck and trailer fully loaded with gasoline when trailer unexpectedly came loose from truck, catapulted off freeway and landed upside down on roadway. Teen drove her vehicle into trailer ignited gasoline and died in explosion. P brought suit for NEG AND STRICT LIABILITY. HOLDING: transportation of gasoline as freight ABNORMALLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY = HIGHER RISK OF HARM OR INJURY THAT COULD NOT BE ELIMINATED BY THE EXERCISE OF REASONABLE CARE. Liable PSI ENERGY, INC. V. ROBERTS (2005) (P SUES WHEN HE GETS CANCER FROM ASBESTOS EXPOSURE, P LOSES BECAUSE DUE CARE WOULD HAVE REDUCED HIS EXPOSURE) FACTS: Utility hired the company that employed the worker as an independent contractor to deal with asbestos insulation installed on the utility’s power generating structures. After the worker contracted mesothelioma as a result of his work with asbestos-containing insulation for the company that employed him, the worker asserted that the utility incurred liability to the worker and his wife, both as the entity in possession of the premises and as a principle liable for acts of its independent contractor.
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