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Common-Law Strict Liability

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Common-Law Strict Liability Torts II Dr. Steiner Restatement Torts 2d 506. Wild Animal And Domestic Animal Defined (1) A wild animal as that term is used in this ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Common-Law Strict Liability


1
Common-Law Strict Liability
  • Torts II
  • Dr. Steiner

2
Restatement Torts 2d 506. Wild Animal And
Domestic Animal Defined
  • (1) A wild animal as that term is used in this
    Restatement is an animal that is not by custom
    devoted to the service of mankind at the time and
    in the place in which it is kept.(2) A domestic
    animal as that term is used in this Restatement
    is an animal that is by custom devoted to the
    service of mankind at the time and in the place
    in which it is kept.

3
Restatement Torts 2d 506, cmt a
  • The word animal is used in this topic in a
    broad sense to include not only animals strictly
    so-called but also birds, fish, reptiles and
    insects. Thus rattlesnakes, alligators, ostriches
    or tsetse flies are wild animals in the sense in
    which that word is here used. . . . The fact
    that a particular animal is kept for a socially
    valuable purpose does not prevent it from being a
    wild animal the test is whether the animals are
    as a class recognized by custom as devoted to the
    service of mankind.

4
Restatement Torts 2d 507. Liability Of
Possessor Of Wild Animal
  • (1) A possessor of a wild animal is subject to
    liability to another for harm done by the animal
    to the other, his person, land or chattels,
    although the possessor has exercised the utmost
    care to confine the animal, or otherwise prevent
    it from doing harm.

5
Restatement Torts 2d 507. Liability Of
Possessor Of Wild Animal
  • (2) This liability is limited to harm that
    results from a dangerous propensity that is
    characteristic of wild animals of the particular
    class, or of which the possessor knows or has
    reason to know.

6
Restatement Torts 2d 509. Harm Done By
Abnormally Dangerous Domestic Animals
  • (1) A possessor of a domestic animal that he
    knows or has reason to know has dangerous
    propensities abnormal to its class, is subject to
    liability for harm done by the animal to another,
    although he has exercised the utmost care to
    prevent it from doing the harm.

7
Restatement Torts 2d 509. Harm Done By
Abnormally Dangerous Domestic Animals
  • (2) This liability is limited to harm that
    results from the abnormally dangerous propensity
    of which the possessor knows or has reason to
    know.

8
Restatement Torts 2d 516. Watchdogs
  • A possessor of land or chattels is privileged to
    employ a dog or other animal, for the purpose of
    protecting his possession of land or chattels
    from intrusion, to the same extent that he is
    privileged to use a mechanical protective device
    for those purposes.

9
Wild or Domestic?
10
Wild or Domestic?
Is this an animal that is by custom devoted to
the service of mankind?
11
Wild or Domestic?
12
Wild or Domestic?
13
Wild or Domestic?
14
Pate v. Yeager, 552 S.W.2d 513(Tex. Civ.
App.San Antonio 1977)
  • We hold that monkeys of the type here involved
    are properly classified as wild animals which are
    capable of being domesticated or tamed. The
    evidence shows conclusively that Mr. Jim was
    domesticated. Therefore, in order to hold the
    defendants liable for injuries caused by Mr. Jim,
    there must be proof that defendants knew that the
    animal was accustomed to do mischief, or that the
    defendants committed acts of negligence which
    proximately caused the injury. The question here
    presented is one of fact.

15
Sinclair v. Okata
  • Type of dog
  • Procedural context
  • Plaintiffs theory
  • Defendants responses
  • Holding

16
Cal. Civ. Code 3342 (a)
  • The owner of any dog is liable for the damages
    suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog
    while in a public place or lawfully in a private
    place, including the property of the owner of the
    dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the
    dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.

17
Cal. Civ. Code 3342
  • A person is lawfully upon the private property
    of such owner within the meaning of this section
    when he is on such property in the performance of
    any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this
    state or by the laws or postal regulations of the
    United States, or when he is on such property
    upon the invitation, express or implied, of the
    owner.

18
Fencing in and Fencing out
  • Fencing in
  • English Common-law rule livestock owner must
    fence in livestock to avoid liability for
    damage to crops
  • Fencing out
  • Western rule farmers can recover only if land
    was protected by sufficient fence

19
Seeley v. Peters, 10 Ill. 130 (1848)
  • However well adapted the rule of the common law
    may be to a densely populated country like
    England, it is surely but ill adapted to a new
    country like ours. If this common law rule
    prevails now, it must have prevailed from the
    time of the earliest settlements in the State,
    and can it be supposed that when the early
    settlers of this country located upon the borders
    of our extensive prairies, that they brought with
    them and adopted as applicable to their condition
    a rule of law, requiring each one to fence up his
    cattle that they designed the millions of
    fertile acres stretched out before them to go
    ungrazed, except as each purchaser from
    government was able to inclose his part with a
    fence?

20
Seeley v. Peters, 10 Ill. 130 (1848)
  • This State is unlike any of the eastern States
    in their early settlement, because, from the
    scarcity of timber, it must be many years yet
    before our extensive prairies can be fenced, and
    their luxuriant growth sufficient for thousands
    of cattle must be suffered to rot and decay where
    it grows, unless the settlers upon their borders
    are permitted to turn their cattle upon them. . .
    Perhaps there is no principle of the common law
    so inapplicable to the condition of our country
    and people as the one which is sought to be
    enforced now for the first time since the
    settlement of the State. It has been the custom
    in Illinois so long, that the memory of man
    runneth not to the contrary, for the owners of
    stock to suffer them to run at large.

21
Texas Agriculture Code 143.001Sufficient Fence
Required
  • Except as provided by this chapter for an area
    in which a local option stock law has been
    adopted, each gardener or farmer shall make a
    sufficient fence around cleared land in
    cultivation that is at least five feet high and
    will prevent hogs from passing through.

22
Are Bees Wild or Domestic Animals?
23
Wild Animals Defined
  • Restatement 2d 507
  • A wild animal as that term is used in this
    Restatement is an animal that is not by custom
    devoted to the service of mankind at the time and
    in the place in which it is kept.
  • Restatement 3d 22 (T.D.)
  • A wild animal is an animal that belongs to a
    category which has not been generally
    domesticated and which is likely, unless
    restrained, to cause personal injury.

24
Restatement 2d Torts 506, cmt b
  • As a rule wild animals are dangerous unless
    effectively controlled and whatever value they
    have is not affected by their being kept under
    close and effective control. However, if a
    particular class of animal, bird or insect has
    been customarily recognized as devoted to the
    service of mankind, the fact that it is incapable
    of effective control does not affect its
    classification as a domestic animal.
  • Thus, bees are not wild animals although it is
    impossible to confine them to the land on which
    their hives are situated.

25
Restatement 3d 22, Reporters Note (T.D. no. 1)
  • Moreover, the traditional position that bees are
    domesticated is questionable, since huge numbers
    of bees live and breed on their own, and since
    bees are easily capable of inflicting personal
    injuries, which can indeed on occasion prove
    fatal. In light of the absence of modern cases
    considering the traditional view that bees are
    not wild animals, and in light of the substantial
    arguments that favor classifying bees as wild,
    the status of bees is left open in this
    Restatement.

26
Collies and Pit Bulls
27
Fletcher v. Rylands (1866)
  • Facts
  • Why not negligence?
  • Why not trespass?
  • The true rule of law
  • Analogous cases

28
Fletcher v. Rylands (1868)
  • Did the House of Lords affirm the Exchequer
    Chamber?
  • Whats the difference between the two opinions?

29
Turner v. Big Lake Oil Co., 96 S.W.2d 221 (Tex.
1936)
  • We decline to follow and apply in this case the
    rule of absolute liability laid down in Rylands
    v. Fletcher, because
  • (a) The rule has been generally repudiated by
    this court
  • (b) the basis of the rule drawn from its
    application in England in cases of fire, damage
    by livestock, and injuries to an innocent
    bystander have been repudiated by us

30
Turner v. Big Lake Oil Co., 96 S.W.2d 221 (Tex.
1936)
  • (c) the conditions which obtain here are so
    different from those of England that the rule
    should not be applied here
  • (d) and because the rule of negligence, instead
    of absolute liability, while not obtaining
    universally in the United States, is of such
    general application as to constitute . . . the
    American Rule, in effect the common-law rule as
    applied in America, which is the common law which
    we follow rather than that declared by the
    English courts.

31
Restatement 2d Torts 519.General Principle
  • (1) One who carries on an abnormally dangerous
    activity is subject to liability for harm to the
    person, land or chattels of another resulting
    from the activity, although he has exercised the
    utmost care to prevent the harm.(2) This strict
    liability is limited to the kind of harm, the
    possibility of which makes the activity
    abnormally dangerous.

32
Restatement 2d Torts 520. Abnormally Dangerous
Activities
  • In determining whether an activity is abnormally
    dangerous, the following factors are to be
    considered(a) existence of a high degree of
    risk of some harm to the person, land or chattels
    of others(b) likelihood that the harm that
    results from it will be great(c) inability to
    eliminate the risk by the exercise of reasonable
    care

33
Restatement 2d Torts 520. Abnormally Dangerous
Activities
  • (d) extent to which the activity is not a matter
    of common usage(e) inappropriateness of the
    activity to the place where it is carried on
    and(f) extent to which its value to the
    community is outweighed by its dangerous
    attributes.

34
Siegler v. Kuhlman
  • Facts
  • Trial court error
  • Strict liability analogizing from Rylands
  • Restatement factors

35
Ultrahazardous/Abnormally Dangerous Blasting?
36
Ultrahazardous/Abnormally DangerousFireworks?
37
Ultrahazardous/Abnormally DangerousHazardous
Waste Sites?
38
Ultrahazardous/Abnormally Dangerous Power Lines?
39
Ultrahazardous/Abnormally Dangerous Propane?
40
Ultrahazardous/Abnormally Dangerous Handguns?
41
Indiana Harbor Belt RR v.American Cyanamid
  • What are the respective roles of American
    Cyanamid, Missouri Pacific, and Indiana Harbor
    Belt?
  • Trial court result
  • How does an 1822 case illustrate a 1977
    Restatement provision?
  • Does strict liability apply to these facts?
  • What was the cause of the accident?

42
Restatement 2d Torts 524A.Plaintiff's
Abnormally Sensitive Activity
  • There is no strict liability for harm caused by
    an abnormally dangerous activity if the harm
    would not have resulted but for the abnormally
    sensitive character of the plaintiff's activity.

43
Restatement 2d Torts 524A, illus. 2.
  • A, constructing a building, operates pile-driving
    machinery that causes excessive vibration,
    abnormally dangerous to buildings in the
    vicinity. B, in an adjoining building, is
    conducting scientific experiments with extremely
    delicate instruments. Although the vibration
    causes no other harm to B or to the building, it
    ruins the instruments and prevents the
    experiments. A is not liable to B unless he is
    found to be negligent in his operation.

44
Exner v. Sherman Power Const. Co., 54 F.2d 510
(2d Cir. 1931)
  • Dynamite is of the class of elements which one
    who stores or uses in such a locality, or under
    such circumstances as to cause likelihood of risk
    to others, stores or uses at his peril. He is an
    insurer, and is absolutely liable if damage
    results to third persons . . . . We can see no
    reason for imposing a different liability for the
    results of an explosion, whether the dynamite
    explodes when stored or when employed in
    blasting. To be sure there is a greater
    likelihood of damage from blasting than from
    storage, but in each case the explosion arises
    from an act connected with a business conducted
    for profit and fraught with substantial risk and
    possibility of the gravest consequences.

45
Restatement 2d Torts 519.General Principle
  • (1) One who carries on an abnormally dangerous
    activity is subject to liability for harm to the
    person, land or chattels of another resulting
    from the activity, although he has exercised the
    utmost care to prevent the harm.
  • (2) This strict liability is limited to the kind
    of harm, the possibility of which makes the
    activity abnormally dangerous.

46
Restatement 2d Torts 519, cmt e.
  • The rule of strict liability stated in Subsection
    (1) applies only to harm that is within the scope
    of the abnormal risk that is the basis of the
    liability. One who carries on an abnormally
    dangerous activity is not under strict liability
    for every possible harm that may result from
    carrying it on.

47
Restatement 2d Torts 519, cmt e.
  • For example, the thing that makes the storage of
    dynamite in a city abnormally dangerous is the
    risk of harm to those in the vicinity if it
    should explode. If an explosion occurs and does
    harm to persons, land or chattels in the
    vicinity, the rule stated in Subsection (1)
    applies. If, however, there is no explosion and
    for some unexpected reason a part of the wall of
    the magazine in which the dynamite is stored
    falls upon a pedestrian on the highway upon which
    the magazine abuts, the rule stated in Subsection
    (1) has no application. In this case the
    liability, if any, will be dependent upon proof
    of negligence in the construction or maintenance
    of the wall.

48
Restatement 2d Torts 519, cmt e.
  • So also, the transportation of dynamite or other
    high explosives by truck through the streets of a
    city is abnormally dangerous for the same reason
    as that which makes the storage of the explosives
    abnormally dangerous. If the dynamite explodes in
    the course of the transportation, a private
    person transporting it is subject to liability
    under the rule stated in Subsection (1), although
    he has exercised the utmost care. On the other
    hand, if the vehicle containing the explosives
    runs over a pedestrian, he cannot recover unless
    the vehicle was driven negligently.

49
Cambridge Water Co. v. Eastern Counties Leather
PLC
  • ECL PCE CWC
  • Issue presented
  • Foreseeability and Rylands
  • Has the rule in Rylands been abolished?

50
Reviewing Strict Liability
  • The significance of strict liability
  • Animals and strict liability
  • Abnormally dangerous activities

51
Animals Strict Liability or Negligence?
  • Four different rules
  • Wild animals
  • Domestic animals without a known dangerous
    propensity
  • Domestic animals with known abnormally dangerous
    propensity
  • Domestic animals with normal dangerous propensity

52
Defining Animals as Wild or Domestic
  • Defining animals
  • Defining wild animals
  • Restatement 2d (not by custom in service to
    mankind)
  • Restatement 3d (not generally domesticated and
    likely to cause personal injury unless
    restrained)
  • Harm must be from dangerous propensity
  • Defining domestic animals
  • By custom in service to mankind
  • If abnormally dangerous, then harm must be from
    the abnormally dangerous propensity

53
Types of animals
  • Domestic Cats and dogs
  • Wild Lions, tigers, bears
  • Bees
  • Monkeys

54
Animals and Statutes
  • Dog bite statutes may be different from
    common-law rules and may impose strict liability
    regardless of the circumstances
  • Fencing laws and trespassing animals
  • Development of fencing law
  • Fencing in and fencing out
  • Common-law adaptation
  • Formal law and informal norms

55
Strict Liability and Rylands v. Fletcher
  • Non-natural uses, confinement, and escape
  • Defenses
  • Reception of doctrine in United States
  • Cambridge Water Works and foreseeability

56
Abnormally Dangerous Activitiesand the
Restatement
  • Strict liability for abnormally dangerous
    activities even though defendant exercises
    utmost care
  • Restatement factors
  • High degree of risk of harm
  • Likelihood that harm will be great
  • Risk cant be eliminated by exercise of
    reasonable care
  • Whether activity is one of common usage
  • Locational appropriateness
  • Weighing social utility v. dangerous attributes

57
Abnormally Dangerous Activitiesand the
Restatement
  • Analyzing different activities
  • Blasting, fireworks, hazardous waste sites
  • Power lines, propane, handguns
  • Underground storage tanks
  • Importance of the eliminating risk factor
  • Harm that results must be from what made activity
    abnormally dangerous
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