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Will A Civil Action Proceed? Stage One: Duty of Care.

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Presentation on theme: "Will A Civil Action Proceed? Stage One: Duty of Care."— Presentation transcript:

1 Will A Civil Action Proceed? Stage One: Duty of Care

2 Donoghue v. Stevenson, [1932] A.C. 562 (H.L.) Mrs. Donoghue and a friend stopped at a cafe for a drink. The friend purchased a bottle of ginger beer for Mrs. Donoghue. After drinking some of the ginger beer, Mrs. D found the remains of a decomposed snail in the bottle, and she became physically ill. Mrs. D sued the manufacturer of the ginger beer for negligence. In what way was the manufacturer negligent?

3 She sued the manufacturer for negligence because it had no proper system for inspecting its bottles. The manufacturer agreed that it had a contract with the friend who had purchased the ginger beer, but the friend did not drink the ginger beer herself. Therefore it did not owe Mrs D a duty of care. What is duty of care? In a negligence case, who must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff duty of care? Donoghue v. Stevenson, [1932] A.C. 562 (H.L.)

4 An important legal concept called the “neighbour principle” was formed because of this case. Your neighbour is anyone whom you can reasonably foresee being injured by your actions. You no longer need to have a contract or special relationship with someone to owe them duty of care! Donoghue v. Stevenson, [1932] A.C. 562 (H.L.)

5 Will A Civil Action Proceed? Stage Two: Standard of Care

6 What degree of caution or standard or level of conduct would you expect in the following situations? A person is driving at night in a snow storm. There is a build up of snow on the road. The speed limit is 100 km/hr. At hire-a-grad a student is asked to use a tractor to complete some work. The student has their licence but has never used a tractor before. A structural engineer gives a friend advice about their plans to build a deck off the second floor of their home.

7 Children: special status May not have the experience and wisdom to foresee how something they do could cause injury Does this mean children are not expected to use standard of care?

8 Children: special status Example 14 year old crashes the family powerboat into someone’s dock. When are children expected to have the same standard of care as adults?

9 Parental Liability An unsupervised child plays with matches and sets the neighbour’s garage on fire. The court would likely find the parents liable for damages. WHY? What is expected of parents in order to (possibly) not be liable for damages their children cause?

10 Good Samaritan Do you have a duty of care to help people in distress?

11 Good Samaritan If you do help, can you be sued for any harm you cause?

12 Will A Civil Action Proceed? Stage Three: Causation If Schroeder had not hit his golf ball into the flowers, the vase would not be broken. Cause-In-Fact: Schroeder’s actions caused the vase to be broken

13 Use the “but-for” test to check cause-in-fact Mrs. Noble’s kids left their bicycles on the sidewalk, a runner tripped and broke their arm. A car-owner had failed to get new tires for several years. The tread was worn down and the condition was effecting their use. When the driver in front of the car-owner stopped suddenly, the car- owner was not able to stop so s/he rear- ended the car in front.

14 Thin-Skull Rule What does it mean? You must take your victim as you find them!

15 LIABILITY Product Liability (remember Donoghue v. Stevenson!) Occupier’s Liability – What standard of care do you owe to people who come to your home? What about trespassers? Allurement -

16 Defences to Negligence In most cases, if you are being sued for negligence, the plaintiff must prove that you (defendant) owed a duty, breached the standard of care, and caused the injuries. In your defence, you can provide evidence to show you did not owe a duty, you met the standard of care, or your acts did not cause the damage.

17 What Defence Might Be Used? A person was injured by a foul ball at a baseball game. They sue the baseball organization. Voluntary Assumption of Risk What would you expect the baseball organization to have to prove?

18 What Defence Might Be Used? A person was harmed in an accident. They sue the driver who claims the plaintiff was not wearing their seatbelt. Contributory Negligence How is this different from a counterclaim where the defendant also claims that the plaintiff contributed to the damage?

19 What Defence Might Be Used? A player signs a form before entering a paint ball park. That player is injured during the game and sues the establishment. Waiver Does a waiver automatically release the defendant from liability? Explain!

20 Time Limit on Civil Action? Statute of Limitations – you must take legal action within a certain period of time or your opportunity is lost. WHY?

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