Holding (and Judgment):Yes. The Court stated that a reduced chance of survival, no matter what the percentage, could be classified as actual harm. The defendant’s negligence caused a reduction in the decedent’s chances of survival from 39% to 25% and therefore a causal link was created between the negligence and the harm. (Reversed the trial court and reinstated the cause of action).Pre-Existing Rules:A negligent Defendant is liable for the reduced chance of survival directly caused by the negligence, even if the total chances of survival are below 50%, Reasoning:Once the plaintiff shows that the defendant’s negligence caused a decreased chance of survival, the court reasoned that there was enough information to determine that the negligence was a substantial factor in the harm. Concurrences/Dissents: Three judges dissented stating that the traditional proximate cause standard should be maintained. The concurring opinion of Justice Pearson joined by three judges, differed from Dore’s in urging that the issues should be framed by looking at the injury as the reduced chance of survival, not as the death.Analysis: I think the Court got the right ruling here. The defendant’s actions could be seen as a substantial factor in the injury, decreasing his chances of survival. I think the precedent from Kramer Service and Reynolds v Texas was correctly applied.
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- Fall '14
- Marie Boyd
- Supreme Court of the United States, Summary judgment