Challenges in Conveying the Standard | Samantha Bates | April 25, 2017

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Challenges in Conveying the Standard

Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain Current Version: Samantha Bates Show/Hide
  1. 1 Show/Hide More Vaughan v. Menlove--"The Unreasonable Hay Stacker"
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain Current Version: Samantha Bates
    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.
  2. 2 Show/Hide More Wood v. Groh--"The Gun from the Cabinet"
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain Current Version: Samantha Bates
    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.
  3. 3 Show/Hide More Ellis v. D'Angelo-- "The 4-Year-Old Bone Breaker"
    Original Creator: Jonathan Zittrain Current Version: Samantha Bates
    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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April 25, 2017

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Samantha Bates

Research Associate

Harvard Law School, Berkman Center

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