1L Question: Tort Law - Strict Liability

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sethc
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1L Question: Tort Law - Strict Liability

Postby sethc » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Hey guys! Been a dedicated lurker of this board for a long time, but now that I have begun law school I guess I should start posting some questions when I need clarification. Thanks to all in advance and I will certainly contribute to everyone else when I can!

Strict Liability
Spano v. Perini Corp.

It is my understanding that what this case decided was that: an activity that is ultra-hazardous by nature is not exempt from negligence (strictly liable) if harm comes about by the lack of exercising a higher degree of care relevant to the risks. But, proof that the damage happened because of the ultra-hazardous risks of said activity is required.

Is this accurate? If not, would you mind stating what is accurate and why? In a nutshell is fine.. not trying to ask for a lengthy explanation of strict liability or anything.

Thanks!

sethc
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Re: 1L Question: Tort Law - Strict Liability

Postby sethc » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:49 pm

am I just way off the mark here? or is it just no one is sure?

sccjnthn
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Re: 1L Question: Tort Law - Strict Liability

Postby sccjnthn » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:02 pm

We've been in class for about a month and are still stuck on negligence. Not sure if this is the normal pace at other schools but it could be an explanation.

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happy187
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Re: 1L Question: Tort Law - Strict Liability

Postby happy187 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:20 pm

here's what i came up with in my case brief

a. What are the important legal issues to the Court?
i. Whether a person, who has sustained property damage, caused by nearby blasting, can maintain an action for damages without a showing that the blasting company was negligent? Engaging in Abnormally dangerous activity.

b. How does the Court resolve the issue?
i. Yes, strict liability applies in this situation. The Court rejects Booth and utilized Hays v Cohoes Co., and Heeg v Licht.  The rule which exonerates a party engaged in a lawful business, when free from negligence, has no application.  The blasting company has the right to blast, and the property owner has the right to undisturbed possession.  When in conflict the former must yield to the latter, as the more important of the two. Trespass has been a cause of action, whether an injury occurred or not, for damages.

Essentially, no need to prove negligence in ultra hazardous activity the act alone will give right to recovery. As long as you can prove the ultra hazardous activity was the cause of the damages.

sethc
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Re: 1L Question: Tort Law - Strict Liability

Postby sethc » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:25 am

sccjnthn wrote:We've been in class for about a month and are still stuck on negligence. Not sure if this is the normal pace at other schools but it could be an explanation.


Possibly. We just started this week, so it was my first Torts class. That, too, could be an explanation but I'm mainly just trying to gauge if a) I'm understanding shit correctly and b) my briefing method isn't whacked all to hell.

happy187 wrote:here's what i came up with in my case brief

a. What are the important legal issues to the Court?
i. Whether a person, who has sustained property damage, caused by nearby blasting, can maintain an action for damages without a showing that the blasting company was negligent? Engaging in Abnormally dangerous activity.

b. How does the Court resolve the issue?
i. Yes, strict liability applies in this situation. The Court rejects Booth and utilized Hays v Cohoes Co., and Heeg v Licht.  The rule which exonerates a party engaged in a lawful business, when free from negligence, has no application.  The blasting company has the right to blast, and the property owner has the right to undisturbed possession.  When in conflict the former must yield to the latter, as the more important of the two. Trespass has been a cause of action, whether an injury occurred or not, for damages.

Essentially, no need to prove negligence in ultra hazardous activity the act alone will give right to recovery. As long as you can prove the ultra hazardous activity was the cause of the damages.


Hmm, that's essentially in agreement with what I have in my brief other than that I expanded on the degree of care. Would it be accurate to say that this case does not speak to the degree of care that one must exercise when involved in ultra-hazardous activity? Thanks for the insight. Are you a 1L, btw?

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happy187
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Re: 1L Question: Tort Law - Strict Liability

Postby happy187 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:23 pm

Hmm, that's essentially in agreement with what I have in my brief other than that I expanded on the degree of care. Would it be accurate to say that this case does not speak to the degree of care that one must exercise when involved in ultra-hazardous activity? Thanks for the insight. Are you a 1L, btw?


I would agree that the court does not speak to the degree of care exhibited. As it is not a factor in determining if the defendant is liable. In this case you can apply the rule of absolute liability, or liability without fault. Absolute liability being strict liability without any showing of intent or negligence.

Additionally, the casebook notes that the drafters of Restatement (Second) of Torts concluded that a better name for "ultra hazardous activity" is "abnormally dangerous activities," since the emphasis is more upon the abnormal character of what the defendant does in relation to the surroundings than upon the high degree of danger.

and yeah 1L here.




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