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Business Law I Negligence and Strict Liability PowerPoint Presentation
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Business Law I Negligence and Strict Liability

Business Law I Negligence and Strict Liability

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Business Law I Negligence and Strict Liability

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  1. Business Law I Negligence and Strict Liability

  2. Negligence“The Unintentional Tort” • Duty of due care-- there must be a duty owed to the plaintiff. • Breach-- duty must be breached. • Factual cause-- the injury must have been caused by the defendant’s actions. • Foreseeable harm(Proximate cause)-- it must have been foreseeable that the action would cause this kind of harm. • Injury-- the plaintiff must have been hurt. To win a negligence case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed in five areas:

  3. Duty of Due Care • If a Defendant could have foreseen injury to a particular person, he/she has a duty to him. • In some states, a social host serving alcohol to an adult may be found liable for harm done by the person drinking the alcohol. • Many states have a “dram act,” making liquor stores, bars and restaurants liable for serving drinks to intoxicated customers who later cause harm.

  4. Case AnalysisDuty of Due Care Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co.,New York Court of Appeals, 1928 • Facts • Issue • Decision • Reasoning • Discussion

  5. Case AnalysisDuty of Due Care Hernandez v. Arizona Board of Regents, 177 Ariz. 244, 866 P.2d 1330, 1994 Ariz. Lexis 6, Arizona Supreme Court, 1994 • Facts • Issue • Decision • Reasoning • Discussion

  6. Duty of Landowners • Duty to Trespassers– not to injure intentionally. • Duty to Children– if a man-made item on the land attracts children, landowner may be liable. • Duty to Licensees– to warn of known, but hidden dangerous conditions licensees are unlikely to discover for themselves. • Duty to Invitees– to exercise reasonable care to protect invitees against dangerous conditions possessor should know of but invitees are unlikely to discover.

  7. Case AnalysisLandowner’s Liability Wiener v. Southcoast Childcare Centers, Inc., 32 Ca.4th 1138, 88 P.3d 517, 12 Cal. Rptr.3d 615, Supreme Court of California, 2004 • Facts • Issue • Decision • Reasoning • Discussion

  8. Breach of Duty • A defendant breaches his duty of due care by failing to behave the way a reasonable person would under similar circumstances.

  9. Factual Cause& Foreseeable Harm • Factual Cause-- if the defendant’s breach ultimately led to the injury, he is liable. • Does not have to be the immediate cause of injury, but must be the first in the direct line. • Foreseeable Harm-- to be liable, this type of harm must have been foreseeable. • The defendant does not have to know exactly what would happen -- just the type of event. • Res Ipsa Loquitur-- in a few cases, the defendant must prove he was NOT negligent or the facts imply that his negligence caused the injury.

  10. Car accident, car hitting bicyclist Mechanic is liable to cyclist Car accident, car hitting bicyclist Car accident, but car does not hit bicyclist Example: Factual Cause & Foreseeable Harm Mechanic fails to fix customer’s brakes, which causes... Factual cause and foreseeable type of injury Noise from accident startles someone who falls out a window Mechanic is NOT liable for falling person Factual cause, but no foreseeable type of injury Bicyclist hits pothole and crashes Mechanic is NOT liable to cyclist No factual cause

  11. Case AnalysisBystander Recovery for Emotional Distress Ra v. Superior Court, 154 Cal. App. 4th 142, 64 Ca. Rptr.3d 539, California Court of Appeals, 2007 • Facts • Issue • Decision • Reasoning • Discussion

  12. Injury & Damages • Injury-- plaintiff must show genuine injury • Future injury may be compensated, but must be determined at the time of trial. • Damages-- are usually compensatory, designed to restore what was lost. In unusual cases, they may be punitive.

  13. Case AnalysisInjury & Damages Reynolds v. Highland Manor,Kansas Court of Appeals, 1998 • Facts • Issue • Decision • Reasoning • Discussion

  14. Defenses • Assumption of the Risk • A person who voluntarily engages in an activity known to be risky cannot recover if he is injured. • Contributory Negligence • In a few states, if the plaintiff is AT ALL negligent, he cannot recover damages. • Comparative Negligence • In most states, if the plaintiff is negligent, a percentage of negligence is applied to both the defendant and the plaintiff. • The plaintiff can recover from the defendant to the percentage that the defendant is negligent.

  15. Negligence per se • Definition • Violation of a standard of care set by statute. • Example • Driving while intoxicated is illegal; if a drunk driver injures a pedestrian, he has committed negligence per se. • Elements: • Statute prohibits or requires action. • Defendant’s actions violate statute. • Plaintiff’s injuries are the kind the statute was designed to protect against. • Plaintiff is within the group the statute was designed to protect.

  16. Strict Liability Some activities are so dangerous that the law imposes a high burden on them. This is called strict liability. • Defective Products-- may incur strict liability. • Ultrahazardous Activities-- defendants are virtually always held liable for harm. • What is ultrahazardous? Includes using harmful chemicals, explosives and keeping wild animals. • Plaintiff does not have to prove breach of duty or foreseeable harm. • Comparative negligence does not apply -- Defendant engaging in ultrahazardousactivity is wholly liable.

  17. Case AnalysisStrict Liability You Be the Judge - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Alden Leeds, Inc.,Supreme Court of New Jersey, 1998 • Facts • Issue • Decision? • Reasoning? Lower court ruling AFFIRMED

  18. Negligence Did Defendant owe Plaintiff a duty? Yes Did Defendant breach the duty? Yes Plaintiff recovers Was the breach the actual cause of Plaintiff’s injury? Yes Was the breach the proximate cause of Plaintiff’s injury? Yes No No No No Was Plaintiff also at fault? Yes Plaintiff does not recover Plaintiff might recover No Is it a comparative negligence state? Yes No

  19. Breach Strict Liability Compensatory damages Invitee Negligence 1.  Money awarded to an injured plaintiff. 2.  Someone who has a legal right to enter upon land. 3.  A defendant’s failure to perform a legal duty. 4.  A tort caused accidentally. 5.  Legal responsibility that comes from performing ultrahazardous acts. QuizMatching Questions

  20. QuizTrue/False Questions F • There are five elements in a negligence case, and a plaintiff wins who proves at least three of them. • Max, a 19-year-old sophomore, gets drunk at a fraternity party and then causes a serious car accident. Max can be found liable and so can the fraternity. • Some states are comparative negligence states, but the majority are contributory negligence states. T F

  21. QuizTrue/False Questions F • A landowner might be liable if a dinner guest fell on a broken porch step, but not liable if a trespasser fell on the same place. • A defendant can be liable for negligence even if he/she never intended to cause harm. • When Ms. Palsgraf sued the railroad, the court found that the railroad should have foreseen what might go wrong. T F

  22. End ofNegligence and Strict Liability