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Business Law Final

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Ruth carelessly parks her car on a steep hill, leaving the car in neutral and failing to engage the parking brake. The car rolls down the hill, knocking down an electric line. The sparks from the broken line ignite a grass fire. The fire spreads until it reaches a barn one mile away. The barn houses dynamite, and the burning barn explodes, causing part of the roof to fall on and injure a passing motorist, Jim. Can Jim recover in negligence from Ruth? Why or why not?

Negligence occurs when someone suffers injury because another’s failure to live up to a required duty of care. Negligence is an unintentional tort, which the tortfeasor neither wishes to bring the consequences of the act nor believes that they will occur.

In this case, we have one negligences: Ruth left her car in neutral, and one strict liability: the barn’s owner have dynamite.

The first negligence, Ruth fails to comply a duty of care, creating the car to roll down the hill and knocking an electric line, causing a fire that burns the barn. However, Ruth’s negligence is not foreseeable, she could not prevent that it can cause a barn to explode and injure Jim.

To succeed in a negligence action, the plaintiff must prove each of the following: 1.- Duty. The defendant owed a duty of care.
Ruth owed a duty of care to the citizens by leaving her car in parking. 2.- Breach. The defendant breaches that duty.
Ruth breaches the duty of care because she leaves her car in neural, breaking the electrical line. 3.- Causation: The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury. Causation in fact: The injury would not have occurred if Ruth did not leave her car in neutral. Proximate cause: it is foreseeable that if Ruth leaves her car in neutral someone can get injure; however, it is not foreseeable that if Ruth leaves her car in neutral a barn can exploited provoking an injury to Jim. Ruth action is not a proximate cause of Jim’s injury. 4.- Damages: The plaintiff suffered a legally recognizable injury.

Jim is injured; however, it does not exist a proximate cause.

The strict liability: the barn’s owner owed a duty of care to the citizens because he or she kept and stored dynamite in a barn that provoked an explosion and injured Jim. According to the book, strict liability for damages proximately caused by an abnormally dangerous activity is one application of strict liability. Courts apply the doctrine of strict liability in these situations because of the extreme risk of the activity. Abnormally dangerous activities are those that involve a high risk of serious harm to persons or property that cannot be completely guarded against by the exercise of reasonable care. Even if blasting with dynamite is performed with all reasonable care, there is still a risk of injury. Keeping dynamite is a dangerous and negligence act. It is foreseeable that something can go wrong with the dynamite, provoking someone to get hurt, in this case Jim. Under the doctrine of strict liability, a person who engages in certain activities can be held responsible for any harm that results to others even if the person used the utmost care. Liability for injury is imposed for reasons other than fault.

In conclusion, Ruth owed a duty of care to the city and she should recover the damages of the electric line. However, Ruth could not prognosticate that with her negligence, she could cause all this damage and injure Jim. The owner of the barn should be the cause of Jim’s injuries for the proximate cause; although there is no fault, there is still responsibility because nature of the undertaking.

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