first-year law review

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Nov. 3 Torts: Proximate Cause

I was reading Glannon on Torts (an excellent book and I hear the one on Civil Procedure is also very useful). He acknowledged that in the hard cases, proximate cause can be difficult to work with. He had an idea that I thought was helpful though. He said that you should imagine the defendant about to commit the act that results in the plaintiff’s injury. Next to him is the Reasonable Person who’s saying, “You shouldn’t do x because y.” So in Yun v. Ford Motor Co. where a man was hit by a car when retrieving a spare tire, that was improperly installed by the defendant, from the other side of a highway when it’s dark and raining, the Reasonable Person wouldn’t have told the installer, “Don’t do this wrong because a man may be hit by a car trying to retrieve the spare tire.” The Reasonable Person would probably say, “Don’t do this wrong because the tire may fall off and cause harm in the process.” I think that helps clear things up a bit.


November 5, 2006 - Posted by | Torts

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