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Author Topic: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause  (Read 24201 times)

djdvine

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2007, 04:59:23 AM »
You were also looking for an example.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

I stab you in the leg.  You go to the hospital for treatment, where you slip on a puddle, hit your head on the floor, and die due to brain damage caused in the fall.  Though this passes the "cause in fact" but-for test, but for my stabbing you never would have slipped in the hospital, it doesn't pass the proximate cause test.  You slipping and falling in the hospital wasn't at all forseeable and I can't be held responsible for it.

Stabbing someone in the leg isn't negligence though....it's an intentional tort, like Battery.  It's also a criminal act.

Hal

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2007, 08:28:30 PM »
for Jhuen and vap from the bottom of last page:

y'all are discussing two different concepts.

Polemis is concerned with unforeseeable extent of harm.('thin skull' rule. The D caused the damage -- even if the extent of the damage wasn't foreseeable, D is liable for the full extent)

Derdierian is concerned with an unforeseeable event that causes the damage. The argument the Defense was trying to make is that the driver's seizure was a superseding cause. That didn't stick with the court because barriers should have been constructed to prevent a stray car from entering the construction area and injuring employees or the driver of the car. Even though the driver had a seizure, the harm that happened was the harm that the barriers were supposed to prevent.

conrad42

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2007, 10:58:18 PM »
Quote
Stabbing someone in the leg isn't negligence though....it's an intentional tort, like Battery.  It's also a criminal act.

It is negligence too isn't it?

Duty - You have a duty to act as a reasonable person, and stabbing is an affirmative act so you can't claim nonfeasance.
Breach - A reasonable person doesn't stab someone in the leg absent some mitigating circumstance that would make it reasonable.
Cause in Fact - But for the stabbing, the leg would not be injured.
Proximate Cause (3 tests) - The stabbing is the direct cause of the leg injury (nothing breaks the chain of causation). The leg injury is a foreseeable result of the stabbing. The stabbing is a substantial factor in causing the leg injury.
Harm - the leg was injured by the stabbing.

While this may also be a battery, this meets all of the elements of negligence.

Hal

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2007, 11:17:51 PM »
I don't think it's both, although I'm sure you could sue under both -- you have to look at intent.

See Spivey v. Battaglia for a case where a man put a woman playfully in a headlock and was sued for both battery and negligence. The court said his playful headlock, which caused the victim's face to become partially paralyzed for a period of time, was negligence because the danger of hurting the victim badly is a foreseeable risk which a man would avoid, but it was not his intention to hurt her.

"the line has been drawn by the courts at the point where the known danger ceases to be only a foreseeable risk (negligence) and becomes a substantial certainty"

It's negligence if the defendant is flailing his arm around with a knife and he ends up stabbing the victim in the leg.
But if he intentionally stabs him in the leg, it's a battery.

djdvine

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2007, 12:37:40 PM »
Quote
Stabbing someone in the leg isn't negligence though....it's an intentional tort, like Battery.  It's also a criminal act.

It is negligence too isn't it?

Duty - You have a duty to act as a reasonable person, and stabbing is an affirmative act so you can't claim nonfeasance.
Breach - A reasonable person doesn't stab someone in the leg absent some mitigating circumstance that would make it reasonable.
Cause in Fact - But for the stabbing, the leg would not be injured.
Proximate Cause (3 tests) - The stabbing is the direct cause of the leg injury (nothing breaks the chain of causation). The leg injury is a foreseeable result of the stabbing. The stabbing is a substantial factor in causing the leg injury.
Harm - the leg was injured by the stabbing.

While this may also be a battery, this meets all of the elements of negligence.

I don't think you can intentionally be negligent

Jhuen_the_bird

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2007, 04:23:28 PM »
Absolutely not.  There is no such thing as a "negligent battery"

An act is EITHER negligent OR intentional.  Never both.

^ According to my torts prof :)

Skallagrim

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2007, 04:50:03 PM »
There can't be negligent battery because battery is by definition an intentional tort.

You certainly could, however, in the same complaint, argue that

1) B is liable to A for battery, or, in the alternative,
2) B caused a harmful contact against A due to B's negligence or recklessness

Jhuen_the_bird

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2007, 04:55:43 PM »
There can't be negligent battery because battery is by definition an intentional tort.

You certainly could, however, in the same complaint, argue that

1) B is liable to A for battery, or, in the alternative,
2) B caused a harmful contact against A due to B's negligence or recklessness

Well, yes, but that's just making two "cover your ass so you can recover SOMETHING" claims.  You aren't saying that the act was BOTH negligent AND intentional ... just that it was one or the other.

USC313

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2007, 01:36:57 AM »
Just wanted to clarify some of what was said above.

First, at its core Palsgraff is a DUTY case. Yes Andrews dissent discusses proximate cause, but primarily as a mechanism to limit duty, which he believes everyone owes to "all the world" (his words) and not simply to "foreseeable plaintiffs". It should be clear that in the negligence analysis, "foreseeability" is used to establish both whether or not a duty existed and, if so, whether or not it was foreseeable per proximate cause.

Second, someone above said that "Polemis is concerned with unforeseeable extent of harm" and made a reference to the "eggshell plaintiff" rule. This is dead wrong. Polemis stands for the now generally defunct "Direct Cause" test in determining proximate cause. (Anyone read the Wagonmound cases?)The direct test establishes proximate case as long as there is NO intervening cause at all between the alleged negligence and resulting injury. That is why the plaintiff's in Polemis "defined the negligence" as a falling plank of wood rather than the fact that the charters of the boat allowed its chambers to fill with benzine gas. Consider, had the alleged negligence been "boat filled with gas", then the falling plank of wood that caused the spark with resulting explosion would have been an intervening cause and proximate cause would not be established.

A simpler example:

1.) Blasting company leaves a canister of nitroglycerin in a deserted rock area. Kids approach and the heat of the sun causes the canister to explodes, causing injury. No intervening cause = proximate cause under the Direct Test.

2.) Same facts as above, except a child kicks the canister, causing it to explode with resulting injury. Under the direct test, the child's kick is an intervening cause that cuts off liability. Proximate cause is not established. Under the foreseeability test, the risk of a child kicking the canister, especially a young child, is foreseeable. It would be an intervening, but not superseding cause and proximate cause would be established.

Holla


Pdukes

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Re: Cause in fact vs. Proximate Cause
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2011, 04:59:10 PM »
Lets say Driver A who has been drinking runs a red light and crashes into Driver B  who was going through the intersection on a green light. Driver B suffers a broken leg.

Is the cause in fact that A went through a red light?

What would be the proximate cause???