Ney v. Yellow Cab Co . - P who bases his claim on a theory of negligence due to a D's violation of a statute has to prove that his injuries were directly and proximately caused by the violation. ● Facts: Cab driver left keys in cab. It was stolen and then hit P’s car ● Outcome: Purpose of the statute was to guard public (class) against theft (harm), negligence per se is found. Intervening force was of a kind within range of reasonable anticipation, and thus was not “superseding” (which would have precluded D’s liability) ● Dissent: Chain of causation was broken by thief - Criminal act intervenes between causation and original act of negligence. Failure to remove key is not proximate cause. Perry v. S.N. and S.N . - To sustain a cause of action for negligence per se, D must owe P a pre-existing duty of care in common law of which the violation of legislation is evidence of negligence. ● Facts: P says that D saw their children being abused at day care. A Texas statute requires any person having cause to believe a child is being abused to report the abuse to authorities, and makes the knowing failure to do so a misdemeanor. ● Outcome: No negligence per se because statute imposes a duty that does not correspond to any duty existing at common law. Liability would be too costly/unfair to bystanders. Martin v. Herzog (Negligence per se ) - An unexcused statutory violation is negligence per se and a jury may not relax the duty that one owes to another under a statute. ● Facts: P and husband were driving in buggy with no lights on at night and got hit by D. Husband was killed. 12
13 ● Outcome: P precluded from damages because violation of statute contributed to incident. Trial court erred in telling the jury to make any inference of negligence here because no excuses. ● 236, Note 1: list of potential excuses for violation of statute Zeni v. Anderson (Rebuttable Presumption ) - Violation of the statute merely established a rebuttable presumption of negligence. The presumption may be rebutted by a showing an adequate excuse under the facts and circumstances of the case. ● Facts: P, pedestrian declines to walk on a snow-covered sidewalk, and instead uses a portion of street often used by pedestrians. D, a driver, hits P from the rear. ● Outcome: Prima facie case of negligence rebutted by showing that compliance would have involved a greater risk of harm. Proof of Negligence Goddard v. Boston & Maine R.R. Co.- No evidence about banana peel weighing against D. ● Facts: P fell on banana skin lying on railroad platform and sustained injuries. ● Outcome: D wins. Might have been dropped within a minute by any person leaving train. Would place too high a burden on D’s to pick up everything on their premises. Anjou v. Boston Elevated Railway Co. – Obligations rests upon D to keep premises reasonably safe when D has time to pick up a hazard and D would have done so if it was reasonably careful in performing its duties.
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