LEGL 215 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: List Of Domesticated Animals, Res Ipsa Loquitur, Strict Liability
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Key points - Week 6 Chapter 7 Strict Liability and product liability
NEGLIGENCE: BASIC PRINCIPLES
Negligence: Failing to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable person would
exercise in similar circumstances. Negligence requires no intent on the part of the
tortfeasor, nor does it require that the tortfeasor know or believe the consequences that his
act or omission may cause. Negligence merely requires that the tortfeasor’s act or omission
create a risk
of the consequences complained of by the injured party.
Actionable negligence requires that:
1. the tortfeasor owed the plaintiff a duty of care,
2. the tortfeasor breached this duty
3. a legally recognizable injury was actually caused
NEGLIGENCE: DUTY OF CARE
Duty of Care: The duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care in their dealings with
Reasonable Care: The degree of care expected of a “reasonable person”; not necessarily
how a reasonable person would
act, rather how a reasonable person should
Tort law presumes that the reasonable person will be: careful, conscientious, even
tempered, and honest.
No Duty to Rescue: If a person fails to aid a stranger in peril, that person would not be
negligent under tort law, although most people would impose an ethical
duty on the person
to render aid.
NEGLIGENCE: PREMISES & PROFESSIONALS
Duties of Landowners: Landowners are expected to exercise reasonable care to protect
from harm those persons coming onto their property – even trespassers.
Business Invitees: Retailers and other businesses that explicitly or implicitly invite persons
to come onto their premises are expected to exercise reasonable care toward these
Obvious Risks: Some risks are so obvious that the owner need not warn even invitees.
Duties of Professionals: If an individual has knowledge, skill, or expertise superior to that
of the ordinary person, the individual is held to that standard of care expected of a
reasonable person with the same or similar knowledge, skill, or expertise. Failure to perform
up to the standard can result in being subject to liability for professional malpractice
NEGLIGENCE: INJURY AND CAUSATION
The purpose of tort law is to compensate those who suffer legally recognizable injuries. If no
such injury occurs, no tort exists and there is nothing to compensate.
Causation in Fact: An act or omission without which the plaintiff’s injury would not have
Proximate Cause: The connection between an act and an injury is direct enough to impose
A common and critical element of proximate cause is foreseeability – if the consequence of
the act or omission or the victim who is harmed by the act or omission is unforeseeable, no
proximate cause exists.