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ProximateOrLegalCause_InterveningCauses_Watson_v_KentuckyIndianaBridgeRRCo

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Watson v. Kentucky & Indiana Bridge & RR Co., Court of Appeals of KY, 1910 Was Duerr’s act a contributing cause or a proximate cause? Issue
If proximate cause, it should’ve been left to jury to decide.

Reasoning
It is most probable that someone might be lighting a cigarette without knowing of the existence of the gasoline, in such case, ∆ is liable.

Rule
The mere fact that concurrent cause or intervening act was unforeseen will not relieve the ∆ guilty of the primary negligence from liability

Facts
∆ negligently caused the spill of gasoline on a street. Duerr lit a match which burned the gas causing an explosion and injuring ∏. 2 conflicting testimonies as to why be let the match: 1) to light a cigar 2) to set the “damn thing on fire”.

If Duerr’s act was malicious, and intended to cause the explosion, then ∆ is not responsible – not expected to foresee malicious act because ∆ is not expected to anticipate criminal acts. It should be a jury question.

But if the intervening agency is something so unexpected or extraordinary as that he could not or ought now have anticipated, then he is not liable. Proximate cause is difficult to determine.

Held Procedure P argues D argues

Reversed and remanded for new trial… Jury should decide on proximate cause. Trial court directed verdict for ∆. ∏ appeals

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PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Appellant victim sought review of a judgment of the Jefferson Circuit Court, Common Pleas Branch, First Division (Kentucky), which held for appellees railroads and tank car company in a negligence suit brought by the victim to recover damages for personal injuries he sustained in a gas explosion. OVERVIEW: The victim brought a negligence action against the railroads and a tank car company to recover damages for the personal injuries he sustained from a gas explosion that occurred after a train derailment. It was undisputed that the explosion was caused by a lighted match thrown onto the street by an individual, who claimed to have used it to ignite a cigar. A jury returned a verdict in favor of the railroads and tank car company. The court reversed and remanded the judgment in part because in holding that the individual in lighting or throwing the match acted maliciously or with the intent to cause the explosion, the trial court invaded the province of the jury. It was for the jury and not the trial court to determine from all the evidence whether the lighting of the match was done by the individual inadvertently or negligently, or whether it was a wanton and malicious act. OUTCOME: The court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the judgment of the trial court in favor of the railroads and tank car company in a negligence action that was brought by the victim for personal injuries that he sustained in a gas explosion that occurred after a train derailment.
HN1

The true rule is that what is the proximate cause of the injury is ordinarily a question for the jury. It is not a question of science or legal knowledge. It is to be determined as a fact in view of the circumstances of fact attending it. More Like This Headnote The mere fact that there have been intervening causes between the defendant's negligence and the plaintiff's injuries is not sufficient in law to relieve the former from liability; that is to say, the plaintiff's injuries may yet be natural and proximate in law, although between the defendant's negligence and the injuries other causes or conditions, or agencies, may have operated, and, when this is the case, the defendant is liable. More Like This Headnote A proximate cause is that cause which naturally led to and which might have been expected to produce the result. The connection of cause and effect must be established. More Like This Headnote The mere fact that the concurrent cause or intervening act was unforeseen will not relieve the defendant guilty of the primary negligence from liability, but if the intervening agency is something so unexpected or extraordinary as that he could not or ought not to have anticipated it, he will not be liable and certainly he is not bound to anticipate the criminal acts of others by which damage is inflicted, and hence is not liable therefor. More Like This Headnote

HN3

HN5

HN7


				
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