XIV.B. Economic Harm | Jonathan Zittrain | June 24, 2011


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XIV.B. Economic Harm

by Jonathan Zittrain Show/Hide

Purely economic harm has faced barriers similar to purely emotional harm: without a physical hook, such cases fail at the outset. Here the policy reasons behind the barrier may emphasize the unbounded nature of liability – too many negligent acts implicate the affairs of too many people, in ways that other elements of negligence (such as the proximate cause limitations we will learn about) might not be able to well contain.

In this refreshingly brief section, we look to see how some courts have handled pleas for exceptions to a bar on purely economic harm.


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  1. 1 Show/Hide More People Express Airlines, Inc. v. Consolidated Rail Corp.--"The Evacuated Airport"
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
    Should courts support a negligence cause of action where the injury is purely economic? If so, how far should courts extend the boundaries of the negligent actor's liability?
  2. 2 Show/Hide More Koch v. Consolidated Edison Co. -- "The New York Blackout Case"
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
    When a public utility fails to provide its services, should it be liable for possible economic harm flowing from the disruption in service?
  3. 3 Show/Hide More Strauss v. Belle Realty Co. -- "The Man who Tripped Down the Stairs"
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain
    If a plaintiff is harmed by a public utility's breach of contract to a third-party, should the public utility be liable?

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