Bài giảng Business Law - Chapter 7: Negligence and Strict Liability

Learning Objectives Identify the elements of negligence Define the reasonable care standard and the role of for eseeability Explain whether a defendant has breached a duty of reasonable care and applicable defenses Understand special doctrines and injuries in the law of negligence

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Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.McGraw-Hill/Irwin2CrimesIntentional TortsNegligence and Strict LiabilityIntellectual Property and Unfair CompetitionCrimes and TortsPARTNegligence and Strict LiabilityPAETRHC7Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts. Nikki GiovanniLearning ObjectivesIdentify the elements of negligenceDefine the reasonable care standard and the role of for eseeabilityExplain whether a defendant has breached a duty of reasonable care and applicable defensesUnderstand special doctrines and injuries in the law of negligence Elements of a negligence claim are:Defendant owed a duty of care to plaintiff,Defendant committed a breach of duty,Breach was actual and proximate cause of the injury experienced by plaintiffNegligence In general, a defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of reasonable care if the plaintiff would foreseeably be at risk of harm from the defendant’s conductA duty may arise if a special relationship existed between the partiesExamples of a special relationship: doctor-patient, lawyer-client, accountant-clientDuty of Due CareIf a duty exists, then the question is whether the defendant acted as a reasonable person of ordinary prudence would have acted under the same or similar circumstancesReasonable person standardThe test focuses on defendant’s behavior, not defendant’s intentReckless behavior may be unreasonableBreach of Duty of Due CareBased on the duty a property owner or tenant has to those on the propertyDuty varies with type of person on propertyInvitee (business visitor or member of the public)Owner or tenant must exercise reasonable care for safety of his/her inviteesPremises Liability CasesLicensee (those on property for his/her own purpose)Owner or tenant obligated only to warn licensee of hidden, dangerous conditionsTrespasser (those on property illegally)Owner or tenant owes no duty, but may not willfully injure trespassersPremises Liability CasesThe defendant’s violation of such laws may create a breach of duty and may allow the plaintiff to win the case if the plaintiff (1) was within the class of persons intended to be protected by the statute or other law, and(2) suffered harm of a sort that the statute or other law was intended to protect againstNegligence Per SeInjuries may include bodily or emotional injury, and property or economic damageCausal link between the alleged misconduct and the injury requires:Actual cause: plaintiff would not have been hurt “but for” defendant’s breach of duty (act or omission)Proximate cause: plaintiff’s injury was foreseeable consequence of defendant’s act or omissionCausation and InjuryAn event that occurs after initial breach of duty may worsen a plaintiff’s injuryExample: plaintiff injured in accident and while unconscious, a thief steals the plaintiff’s walletIf latter event is foreseeable, defendant will be deemed liableIf latter event not foreseeable, defendant will be absolved from liabilityExample: Stahlecker v. Ford Motor Co.Causation and InjuryAn important doctrine concerning causation is res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself)Res ipsa applies when: (1) defendant has total control of the instrument of harm, (2) harm would not occur in absence of negligence, and (3) plaintiff not responsible for his own injuryExample: after abdominal surgery, patient complains of pain in abdomen and X-ray shows surgical clamp left in abdomenCausation and InjuryContributory negligence is the plaintiff ’s failure to exercise reasonable care for his/her own safetyExample: auto accident in which defendant rear-ended plaintiff but alleges that plaintiff was talking on a cell phone and not driving carefullyDefenses: Contributory NegligenceContributory negligence used to be a complete defense, but most states enacted comparative negligence systems in which a court or jury determines relative negligence of parties and awards damages in proportion to each party’s degree of negligenceSee Berberich v. JackComparative NegligenceAssumption of risk is plaintiff’s voluntary consent to known dangerExample: plaintiff snowboards and breaks leg during a fallExculpatory clause: plaintiff expressly assumes risk of injury by a contract term that attempts to relieve defendant of a duty of care otherwise owed to plaintiff Defenses: Assumption of RiskLiability without – or irrespective – of faultThus, a defendant is liable even though s/he did not intend to cause harm and did not act recklessly or negligently Basic for product liability casesStrict LiabilityImposing strict liability is a social policy decision that risk associated with an activity, especially abnormally dangerous activities, should be borne by those who pursue it, rather than by innocent persons who are exposed to that riskStrict LiabilityThought QuestionDoes tort law have a useful purpose in society? Do the remedies make sense?