Chapter 11 The Tort of Negligence.docx

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University of Waterloo
Accounting & Financial Management
AFM 231
Darren Charters

Chapter 11 The Tort of Negligence Business Law in Practice - Meat is an Ontario based food processing and distributive company - Several consumers died or sickened from a bacteria that infected the mean processed - CEO instituted recall, closed production and asked for testing The Law of Negligence What is Negligence - Carelessness as a failure to show reasonable care - Plaintiff need not show that the defendant intended to cause the damage - Tort of negligence makes the defendant liable for failing to act reasonably Steps to a Negligence Action - step 1: does the defendant owe the plaintiff a duty of care o liable if it owes a duty of care (responsibility owed to avoid carelessness that causes harm to others) to anyone who might be reasonably affected o neighbor principle: anyone who might reasonably be affected by another’s conduct o Stage 1: Is there a prima facie (at first sight or on first appearances) duty of care?  Is the harm that occurred a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s act?  Is there a relationship of sufficient proximity between the parties such that it would not be unjust or unfair to impose a duty of care? o Stage 2: Are there residual policy considerations outside the relationship of the parties that may negative the imposition of a duty of care?  No longer considers the relationship between the parties but asks question in more general sense - Step 2: did the defendant breach the standard of care? o Judged according to the standards of behavior that would be observed by the reasonable person (standard used to judge whether a person’s conduct in a particular situation is negligent) o In cases involving specialized tasks, courts introduce the standard of the reasonable person with that specialized tasks o Where the activity or product poses a high risk, the law imposes a higher standard of care - Step 3: did the defendant’s careless act (omission) cause the plaintiff’s injury? o causation (relationship that exists between the defendant’s conduct and the plaintiff’s loss or injury, little difficulty reaching decision by asking: would the harm not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions? - Step 4: was the injury suffered by the plaintiff too remote? o Remoteness of damage (the absence of a sufficiently close relationship between the defendant’s action and the plaintiff’s injury o Thin skull rule: principle that a defendant is liable for the full extent of a plaintiff’s injury even where a prior vulnerability makes the harm more serious than it otherwise might be - Tort law is traditionally reluctant to permit recovery for pure economic loss (financial loss that results from a negligent act where there has been no accompanying property or personal inj
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