Tag: negligent

Oil spillage

Overseas Tankship (U.K.) Ltd v. Morts Dock & Engineering Company Ltd.

(The Wagon Mound, No. 1) [1961] UKPC 1

FACTS: Petitioner’s oil travelled into the ocean. The spillage of oil then travelled to Respondents boat. Although it congealed, the Respondents’ work came into contact with the oil. As consequence, their boat caught on fire.

ISSUE: Whether a reasonable person would find Petitioner negligent and responsible for the damages caused by the spillage to which resulted in a fire.

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. Under the reasonable foreseeability doctrine, a defendant is only liable for injuries which are reasonably foreseeable.

ANALYSIS: The Court analyzed the holding in In re Polemis, which asserts a defendant is responsible for the injury whether reasonably foreseeable or not. In the present case, the Court found that an actor cannot be held liable for negligence for injuries which are not direct. Reasonable foreseeability cannot be rejected because Petitioner is judged by what a reasonable person ought to foresee. Indeed, this corresponds with the direct consequence test.

CONCLUSION: Although the fire was a proximate cause of Petitioner’s oil spillage, the Respondent cannot recover because the accident was not reasonably foreseeable. The Court overturned the holding in Polemis based on this rationale.

barrels

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.