Archive: 6 November 2022


Byrne v. Boadle, 159 E.R. 299 (1863)

FACTS: Byrne was walking in a public street past Boadle’s shop. A barrel from Defendant’s shop fell onto Byrne. As a result, Byrne was injured and incurred medical expenses.

ISSUE: Whether Byrne (Plaintiff) may rely upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to infer Boadle (Defendant) is negligent and responsible for the barrel of flour dropping onto him.

RULE: Negligence requires a showing that defendant owed a duty of care to Plaintiff, defendant breached duty of care, Plaintiff was injured, and Defendant’s negligence resulted in Plaintiff’s injuries. Res ipsa loquitur applies if a defendant had sole control of the object that caused the injury. Second, the accident would not have occurred but for defendant’s negligence.

ANALYSIS: Defendant had the duty to maintain their barrels and to ensure they did not roll out. The Court reasoned that a barrel could not roll out on its own without Defendant being negligent.

CONCLUSION: Yes. Plaintiff may rely upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to infer Defendant is negligent and responsible for the barrel of flour dropping onto him.

Coca-cola truck

Escola v. Coca Cola Bottling Co., 24 Cal. 2d 453 (1944)

FACTS: A bottle of Coca Cola exploded in CJ Ginson’s hand. The explosion not only inflicted a deep five-inch cut on Ginson’s hand, but it also severed the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels of her palm and thumb.

ISSUE: Whether Ginson (Plaintiff) may rely upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to infer Coca Cola (Defendant) is negligent and responsible for the defective bottle when it delivered it to Plaintiff.

RULERes ipsa loquitur applies if a defendant had sole control of the object that caused the injury. Second, the accident would not have occurred but for defendant’s negligence.

ANALYSIS: Carbonated liquid bottles that are properly prepared do not typically explode when carefully handled. Therefore, it can be inferred that the bottle was defective at the time Defendant relinquished control. Because Defendant failed to discover the flaw, it is liable for negligence.

CONCLUSION: Because Plaintiff showed Defendant had sole control over the delivery and inspection of the bottles, Plaintiff has satisfied the requirements under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.

CONCURRENCE: (Shenk, J., Curtis, J., Carter, J., and Schauer, J., concurred) A manufacturer incurs liability when it knows the object it places on the market will be used without inspection, and the object proves to be defective and causes injury to a human being. While liability should not extend to injuries that cannot be traced to the product when it reaches the market, a manufacturer’s liability should rests on whether a product is safe during normal and proper use.

Say No to War - Guantanamo Bay

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2006)

FACTS: The U.S. Government detained Yaser Esam Hamdi on allegations that he participated in Taliban conflict. Government officials then transferred Hamdi from Guantanamo Bay and held him in a Virginia naval brig.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Hamdi (Petitioner) sued the U.S. Government (Respondent) under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments for violation of due process. The district court agreed with Petitioner, that the Mobbs Declaration did not support his detention. Respondent appealed the decision. The Fourth Circuit reversed. Petitioner then filed a writ of certiorari with SCOTUS.

JUDGMENT: Vacated and remanded.

ISSUE: Whether the President’s detention of citizens who qualify as enemy combatants violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments right to due process.

HOLDING OF THE COURT: Detained citizens who seek to challenge the Government’s enemy combatant classification must receive notice and be given a fair opportunity to rebut the assertion before an impartial decision-maker.

RATIONALE: Independent review of enemy combatant classification are not burdensome as to eclipse a citizen’s right to challenge the Government’s position and to be heard by an impartial decision-maker.

SYNTHESIS: In Fuentes v. Shevinthe Court said individuals are entitled to notice and the opportunity to be heard when their rights are affected. Then in Mathews v. Eldridge, the Court laid out the necessary procedure to ensure that citizens are not deprived of procedural due process (private interest vs. governmental interests vs. functions). Based on these two cases, the Court found the Petitioner’s incommunicado detention violated procedural due process.

DISSENT: (Thomas, J., dissenting) The Judiciary does not have the aptitude to question the validity of an enemy combatant status. Justice Thomas was of the opinion that the majority misapplied the Eldridge framework. If it were applied ‘correctly’ the Court would have reached a different conclusion.

Drug overdose

Bias v. Advantage International, Inc. 905 F.2d 1558 (D.C. Cir. 1990)

FACTS: Leonard K. Bias died from a cocaine overdose. James Bias, Personal Representative of Leonard K. Bias’s Estate, alleged that prior to Bias’s death, the Estate instructed Advantage International, Inc. and A. Lee. Fentress to take a one million dollar insurance policy on Bias’s life. However, Fentress did not take out a life insurance policy on Bias before he died. Fentress further claims his parents did not see to purchase insurance coverage on Bias’s life.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Estate (Plaintiff) sued Advantage International, Inc. (Defendant) for breach of contract (failure to obtain insurance policy). The district court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The Estate appealed the decision.

JUDGMENT: Affirmed.

ISSUE: Whether the Defendant sufficiently demonstrated the Plaintiff lacked evidence to establish elements of their case on summary judgment.

HOLDING OF THE COURT: Plaintiff failed raise substantial doubt as to the material facts, therefore, no genuine issue of material fact exists as to the insurability of the Plaintiff.

RATIONALE: To survive summary judgment, the non-moving party must come forward with precise facts that show there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). In the Court’s view, Plaintiff did not rely on specific facts; only allegations that did not create a genuine issue for trial.

SYNTHESIS: In Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, SCOTUS stated a moving party must inform the district court of the grounds for its motion. It also said a moving party must identify parts of the record that establishes an absence of genuine issue of material fact. The Court also held a party cannot move for summary judgment with conclusory assertions that a party has no evidence to prove their case. However, in the present case, the appeals court was of the view that the Plaintiff could not show a genuine issue for trial.