XVI.Supp. Supplemental Cases and Materials | Jonathan Zittrain | December 21, 2012


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XVI.Supp. Supplemental Cases and Materials

by Jonathan Zittrain Show/Hide
  1. 1 Show/Hide More Henry v. Houston Lighting and Power Co.
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain

    Employees of the defendant accidentally severed an underground gas line while drilling a hole for a utility pole. The plaintiff was one of the repairmen called to repair the gas line. While the plaintiff was working, one of his fellow employees shouted “Fire” because the area was engulfed in smoke. The plaintiff looked up, saw smoke, and ran into a utility pole while trying to escape. In actuality, the smoke was caused by a mosquito fogger that was pumping fog into a nearby manhole.

    To what extent should the creators of hazards be liable to responders who are injured while trying to eliminate the hazard? Also, should courts automatically treat intervening causes of the plaintiff’s injury as superseding causes that relieve the defendant of liability?

  2. 2 Show/Hide More Darby v. National Trust -- "The Rat Urine as Proximate Cause Case"
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
    Should defendants be liable for a failure to warn, if the plaintiff's harm was not the type to be warned against? What if the warning would have, nevertheless, diverted the plaintiff away from the harm?
    Defendant owned a pond which was actively used and known as a place of recreation for the local community. Due to the presence of rat urine in the water, swimmers faced a risk of contracting Weils disease. However, the defendant did not post any signs warning the community of this risk. While the plaintiff's husband played “hide-e-boo” with his children, he accidentally slipped underwater due to the depth and drowned. Plaintiff sued the defendant on the theory that the existence of warning signs for Weils disease would have caused the plaintiff's husband to refrain from entering the water; thereby avoiding the fatal accident.

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