Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co.
Thu, 2017-Aug-24 00:23 UTC
Length - 3:16
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The featured article for Thursday, 24 August 2017 is Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co..
Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co., 248 N.Y. 339, 162 N.E. 99 (1928), is a leading case in American tort law on the question of liability to an unforeseeable plaintiff. The case was heard by the New York Court of Appeals, the highest state court in New York; its opinion was written by Chief Judge Benjamin Cardozo, a leading figure in the development of American common law and later a Supreme Court justice.
The plaintiff, Helen Palsgraf, was taking her daughters to the beach in August 1924. As two men attempted to board a train before hers, one (aided by railroad employees) dropped a package that exploded, causing a large coin-operated scale on the platform to hit her. After the incident, she began to stammer, and subsequently sued the railroad, arguing that its employees had been negligent while assisting the man, and that she had been harmed by the neglect. She obtained a jury verdict of $6,000, which the railroad appealed. Palsgraf gained a 3–2 decision in the Appellate Division, and the railroad appealed again. Cardozo wrote for a 4–3 majority of the Court of Appeals, ruling that there was no negligence because the employees, in helping the man board, did not have a duty of care to Palsgraf as injury to her was not a foreseeable harm from aiding a man with a package. The jury verdict was overturned, and the railroad won the case.
A number of factors, including the bizarre facts and Cardozo's outstanding reputation, made the case prominent in the legal profession, and it remains so, taught to most if not all American law students in torts class. Cardozo's conception, that tort liability only occurs when a defendant breaches a duty of care that they owe to a plaintiff, causing the injury sued for, has been widely accepted in American law. In dealing with proximate cause, many states have taken the approach championed by the Court of Appeals' dissenter in Palsgraf, Judge William S. Andrews. Some legal scholars in recent years have criticized Cardozo for not taking into account Palsgraf's impoverished circumstances.
This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:23 UTC on Thursday, 24 August 2017.
For the full current version of the article, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palsgraf_v._Long_Island_Railroad_Co..
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