Proximate cause is usually foreseeability liability

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Proximate cause is usually foreseeability- liability can only attach if the plaintiffs and the plaintiffs injury/damages were reasonable foreseeable at the time the defendant breached their duty Palsgraf established this rule and most courts still follow it- weeds out random liability 2
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Damages—the plaintiff suffered compensable injuries as a result of the defendants action o There must be actual damages, not just nominal damages because the purpose of a negligence suit is to compensate for injuries o There must be compensatory damages (GM case) o Punitive damages are usually awarded for gross negligence o Gross Negligence- an action committed with extreme reckless disregard for the property or life of another (GM) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Company (briefed below) clarifies the concept of proximate cause. Case Brief Issue: May plaintiff recover for her injuries caused by falling scales dislodged by dynamite? Facts: Palsgraf was waiting for a train on a railroad platform. Two men in the train station were running to get another train. One man safely made it on the train, but the other man, who was carrying a package, had to jump for the train. The guard on the moving train tried to help pull the man on the train, while a guard on the platform pushed the man from behind. Consequently, the man dropped his package, which contained fireworks. When the fireworks hit the ground, they exploded. The explosion dislodged scales that were on the other end of the platform, where Palsgraf was standing. The falling scales hit her and caused injuries. She brought a claim against the railroad to recover for her injuries. Procedural History: Lower courts found in favor of Palsgraf. Holding: Reversed. The railroad is not liable; plaintiff may not recover. Reasoning: Negligence is not actionable unless it involves the invasion of a plaintiff's legally protected interest. Plaintiff must show a violation to her own right. Negligence is not a tort unless it results in a wrong, and the wrong imports a violation of a right to be protected from bodily security. If the harm was not willful, he must show the act to him had possibilities of danger so many and apparent to entitle to be protected against the doing of it. Nothing suggests that even to the most cautious mind, the parcel would damage the station. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3
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2. What are the doctrines that help a plaintiff establish a case of negligence? Plaintiffs Doctrines- the plaintiff has the burden of proving all four elements of negligence - 2 doctrines have been adopted by courts to aide plaintiffs in establishing negligence claims, res ipsa loquiter and negligence per se Res ipsa loquitur—"the thing speaks for itself." – used when there is no direct evidence o Judge or jury may infer that the D's negligence was cause of P's harm when no direct evidence of D's lack of due care; helps to establish liability o Helps to draw an inference of negligence o Requirements: 3 things Event normally doesn't occur in the absence of negligence.
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