VII. Negligence: Adjusting the Standard? | Jonathan Zittrain | June 24, 2011

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VII. Negligence: Adjusting the Standard?

by Jonathan Zittrain Show/Hide

Although “reasonable care” may sound like a simple, straightforward standard, its simplicity is also its problem: there may be situations in which we wish there were more guidance to settle upon a judgment of negligence, even with the facts clearly presented. Suppose a six-year-old playing a game of tag in the local park knocks over a responsibly-behaving passerby. Does reasonable care naturally scale to meet a six-year-old's capacities? Should it?

How to judge a six-year-old opens the door to a broader question that as the ring of applied philosophy to it: to what extent should society forgive, and reflect in its standards, the infirmities and limitations of a defendant? How much should expectations be raised for those with extra abilities?

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    1. 1.1 Show/Hide More Vaughan v. Menlove--"The Unreasonable Hay Stacker"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      How does the reasonable person standard account for variations in human intelligence?
    2. 1.2 Show/Hide More Wood v. Groh--"The Gun from the Cabinet"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      Does the reasonable person standard require increased care for dangerous instrumentalties?
    3. 1.3 Show/Hide More Goss v. Allen--"The Nearly-Adult Skier"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      What activities inherently require an adult standard of care?
    4. 1.4 Show/Hide More VII. Ellis v. D'Angelo -- "The 4-Year-Old Bone Breaker"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      Does a defendant's age alone justify adjusting his or her standard of care?
    1. 2.1 Show/Hide More McCarty v. Pheasant Run--"The Chained, But Unlocked, Sliding Door"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      Does a plaintiff's lack of care elevate the care expected of the defendant?
    2. 2.2 Show/Hide More Roberts v. Ramsbottom--"The Driver Who Had a Stroke"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      Should a medical episode absolve actors of their duty of care?
    3. 2.3 Show/Hide More Bashi v. Wodarz--"The Driver Who Wigged Out"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      Does mental illness count as a “sudden affliction” as defined in Roberts?
    4. 2.4 Show/Hide More Miller v. Reilly--"The Defective Brakes Case"
      Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
      Should an actor's standard of care be relaxed by exigent circumstances—such as her car's brakes failing while the actor is driving downhill?
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October 17, 2013

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