ConcurrentCauses_Anderson_v_MinneapolisStP_SStMRRCo by aiowmnyv

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Anderson v. Minneapolis, St. P. & S. St. M. R.R. Co., Supreme Court of MN, 1920 Should D not be found liable because the origin of one of the fires was not known? Issue Reasoning
Relied on Cook: if cook is saying that if 2 fires combine to destroy property and each one on its own could have destroyed the propoert, then there is no liability  not prepared to adopt such law. If cook is saying that if the origin of one fire is not known, then there is no liability  this also cannot be adopted.

Rule
Of a fire set by the ending of a RR company

Facts
A fire from D’s engine caused due to his negligence combined

Unites with a fire of unknown origin

With another fire of unknown origin And burned P’s property.

To cause damage, Then the RR co. is liable.

Held Procedure P argues D argues

Affirmed Verdiect for P. D appeals denial of judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

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PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Defendants appealed a judgment of the District Court of St. Louis County (Minnesota) after a jury found them liable for damages caused by sparks coming from a locomotive engine that set a fire that spread until it reached plaintiff's land, where it destroyed some of his property. OVERVIEW: Plaintiff owned property near defendant railway company's tracks. Plaintiff sued defendant railway company and Director General of Railroads for damages caused by a fire alleged to have been caused by sparks from one of defendant's locomotive engines that spread until it reached plaintiff's land, where it destroyed some of his property. The fire started in a bog near plaintiff's land and smoldered there for several months, when it flared up and burned his property shortly before it was reached by one of the great fires sweeping through the area that day. The jury returned a verdict for plaintiff. The state supreme court affirmed the judgment because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing plaintiff to amend the complaint to conform to proof at trial. Moreover, the trial judge's instructions to the jury in the absence of counsel were correct statements of law, and the trial court was not obliged to notify counsel before responding to the jury's question. OUTCOME: The state supreme court affirmed the judgment because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing plaintiff to amend his complaint to conform to the proof at trial; the judge's instructions to the jury in the absence of counsel were correct statements of law, and the trial court was not obliged to notify counsel before responding to the jury's question.

HN7

One who negligently sets a fire is not liable if another's property is damaged, unless it is made to appear that the fire was a material element in the destruction of the property. If a fire set by the engine of one railroad company unites with a fire set by the engine of another company, there is joint and several liability, even though either fire would have destroyed plaintiff's property. But if one of the fires is of unknown origin, there is no liability. Minn. Gen. Stat. § 4426 (1913) leaves no room for the application of a rule which would relieve a railroad company from liability under such circumstances. More Like This
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