How does the reasonable person standard account for variations in human intelligence?
Notes: Plaintiff’s property caught on fire due to the spontaneous combustion of hay stacked by the defendant nearby. The facts showed that plaintiff had explicitly warned defendant of the risk of fire; defendant responded by saying that “he would chance it.” Defendant insisted, throughout trial, that his stack did not carry a risk of igniting. However, the potential for hay stacks to spontaneously combust may have been common knowledge at the time.
Does the reasonable person standard require increased care for dangerous instrumentalties?
Notes: Defendant, age fifteen, obtained his father’s gun and accidentally shot the plaintiff while intoxicated. He had retrieved the gun from his father’s locked gun cabinet after using a screwdriver to force it open.
What activities inherently require an adult standard of care?
Notes: Plaintiff and her friend were standing 60 feet beyond the end of a ski slope. They were in the middle of taking pictures. Without any warning, the defendant suddenly skied into and knocked down the plaintiff. The defendant was a seventeen-year-old novice skier who had lost control of his motion.
Does a defendant's age alone justify adjusting his or her standard of care?
Notes: Plaintiff was hired as a babysitter for the 4-year old defendant. On the plaintiff’s first day of work, the defendant pushed the plaintiff violently to the ground, fracturing her arms and wrists. The defendant child was sued for both battery and negligence in harming the plaintiff.
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