When ruling on negligence, should courts consider factors unrelated to the potential harm of an activity (such as the activity’s usefulness to society)?
Notes: The defendant railroad company operated a turntable in the plaintiff child’s neighborhood. It was common practice for children of the neighborhood to revolve the turntable and ride on it. Defendant was aware of this practice. While playing on the turntable with his friends, the plaintiff’s foot was caught between the rails and severed at the ankle joint.
Should we attempt to reduce the standard of reasonable care into forms that seem more empirical—like an algebraic formula?
Notes: Defendant’s negligent towing caused all the ships it was towing to break free. A ship carrying the plaintiff’s cargo of flour sank in the aftermath of defendant’s negligence. However, defendant claims that the charterer of plaintiff’s boat was negligent for failing to have an additional bargee on board, as the sole bargee—a person employed on or in charge of a barge—hired was gone ashore at the time of the accident.
Should reasonable care protect against all conceivable harm, no matter how unlikely?
Notes: Defendant operated a trolley line, using an overhead wire system to supply power to the trolleys. Plaintiff—a young boy—ran across a bridge while swinging an eight-foot wire of his own. The defendant’s trolley wire ran beneath the edge of the bridge. In swinging his wire, the plaintiff’s wire made contact with defendant’s trolley wire, shocking and burning the plaintiff.
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