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Overseas Tankship Ltd. V. Miller Steamship Co. "Wagon Mound No. 2" Overseas Tankship Ltd. V. Miller Steamship Co. "Wagon Mound No. 2" Citation. Privy Council 1966. Brief Fact Summary. The defendants negligently caused oil to spill into the Port of Sydney. This spill did minimal damage to the plaintiff's ships. The oil subsequently caused a fire when molten metal dropped into the water and ignited cotton waste floating in the port. The fire destroyed the ships. Synopsis of Rule of Law. If a party did nothing to prevent the injury, he is liable for the foreseeable consequences of his actions, even if the consequences are remote. Facts. The defendants are the owners of the vessel Wagon Mound, which was moored 600 feet from a wharf. The plaintiffs are owners of ships docked at the wharf. Due to the defendant's negligence, furnace oil was discharged into the bay causing minor injury to the plaintiff's ships. However, the oil was then ignited when molten metal dropped from the wharf and came into contact with cotton waste floating on the water's surface. The fire that resulted seriously damaged the wharf and two of the plaintiff's ships. Issue. Whether the fire, which was found to be foreseeable to the reasonable man, was reasonably foreseeable to the extent liability attaches. Held. If a reasonable man can foresee and prevent the risk, then he is liable for the foreseeable damages. Discussion. Based on the trial court's findings, it is true that the Wagon Mound's operators would have foreseen that oil spilling into the harbor had a possibility of causing a fire, but would have only a very low probability. A fire could only result under exceptional circumstances. However, because the risk of fire was foreseeable, the defendants bore a duty to prevent the risk, even if the risk was a remote possibility. 123
Palsgraph v. Long Island R.R. Co. Palsgraph v. Long Island R.R. Co. Citation. 162 N.E. 99 (1928)/. Brief Fact Summary. A railway guard employed by the Defendant, the Long Island R.R. Co. (Defendant), caused a man to drop a package of fireworks upon the tracks. The fireworks caused an explosion and the force of the explosion caused a scale at the other end of the station to fall on the Plaintiff, Ms. Palsgraph (Plaintiff) and injure her. Synopsis of Rule of Law. A negligent party only owes a duty to the party who was directly wronged by them. Facts. While waiting on the platform of the Defendant's train station for her train to arrive, the Plaintiff was struck and injured when the station's large scales fell on her. The scales fell when a large explosion occurred. The explosion was the result of a package of fireworks hitting the rails. The man carrying the package dropped the fireworks when he was assisted onto a moving train by one of the train guards.