Flashcards in Negligence: Cause-In-Fact Deck (11):
Is there a causal connection between the Δ's unreasonable conduct & the Π 's harm?
"But For" Causation
Consider what did happen versus what would have happened if not for Δ's action.
"But For" Causation Considerations
1. Π can't recover if several possible causes are just as reasonable. NY Central RR v. Grimstad.
2. Π can’t recover if Δ could not, by exercise of due care, prevent accident from occurring. Sowles v. Moore.
3. Π isn’t required to offer evidence excluding every other possible cause of the accident. Ingersoll v. Liberty Bank of Buffalo.
4. Sufficient that Π shows facts/conditions from which negligence of Δ & the causation of the accident from which negligence may be reasonably inferred.
“Substantial Factor” Causation
Δ's negligent conduct is a legal cause of harm to another if
it’s a substantial factor in bringing about the harm
no rule of law relieving the actor from liability
Informed Consent Causation
Subjective (MINORITY): Π has to prove he would not have consented but for the failure to obtain information
Objective (MAJORITY): Jury decides whether reasonably prudent patient advised of material would have consented
Loss of a Chance Causation (HARD)
(Matsuyama v. Birnbaum)
1. Π must produce sufficient evidence that a reasonable jury could find Δ's careless conduct was cause-in-fact of the injuries.
2. Then, Π must persuade the jury to determine that more likely than not cause-in-fact is established.
* The preponderance requirement problematic in situations where equity & policy may call for an exception.
i.e. a physician's malpractice further reduces a patient's already <50% chance. Herskovits v. Group Health Cooperative.
3. Restatement Rule 2d: Once Π introduces evidence that Δ’s negligent act or omission increased the risk of harm to a person in Π’s position & that the harm was in fact sustained, whether or not that increased risk was a substantial factor in producing the harm is a question for the jury. Hamil v. Bashline.
If two or more independently negligent parties cause a single, indivisible harm, courts generally hold each Δ liable for the entire harm; Π only gets one recovery of damages, not double. Fugere v. Pierce.
1. "True" Joint Liability
2. Vicarious Liability
3. Independent Liability
"True" Joint Liability
Parties deliberately engaged in a joint tort, even though the harm was caused by only one party.
Employer-employee & principal-agent liability.
Δs treated as jointly & severally liable when dealing with difficult causation.
A. Divisible: Distinct, multiple injuries by separate Δs (burden of proof on Δs)
B. Sequential: Δ1's negligence caused Δ2's negligence (burden of proof on Π)
C. Joint: No certain way to apportion damages