Bernier v. Boston Edison Co Case Brief

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					Bernier v. Boston Edison Co. 380 Mass. 372, 403 N.E.2d 391 (1980)


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Bernier and Kasputys were walking down the street where (after a complicated series of events), a car driven by Ramsdell jumped a curb and knocked down a light pole, which fell and injured the two. Bernier sued the light pole owner, Boston Edison, for negligence. o They argued that Boston Edison had negligently designed, constructed, and maintained the pole. The Trial Court found for Bernier. Boston Edison appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed the decision. o The Appellate Court found that, based on the pole's location next to the street, it was reasonably foreseeable that it might be hit by a car. Therefore, Boston Edison had a duty to insure that the pole could withstand such an accident.  Vehicles are designed with safety features to take into account "foreseeable participation in collisions."  There was nothing in Edison's records to show that they had ever considered vehicular collisions in their choice of poles.  There were other pole designs available that would have survived the impact. Boston Edison unsuccessfully argued that if they made the pole stronger, there was a greater risk of injury to the driver who struck the pole. Therefore, they had to make a decision on who was more likely to be involved in an accident. o Far more drivers hit poles than pedestrians are hit by falling poles. o Boston Edison's argument is known as the polycentric problem.

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