Southern Bell Telephone Co. v. Norwood

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					Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. Norwood, 207 S.W.2d 733, 1948 126 Is the phone co. liable for special damages for failure to provide prompt service when it has no notice of circs out of which the damage might arise? Issue Reasoning
 Rule first announced in Hadley. Even if the co. was negligent, he still shouldn’t recover. Norwood never notified the phone co. that if it did not answer his calls to the FD promptly, he would hold it liable for the resultant loss o it is not reasonable to presume that appellant would have contracted to furnish him service at the small rate charged, if it should assume liability for damages caused by a fire for which it was in not responsible in its inception.

Rule
A telephone company is not liable for special damages for failure to furnish connection to a patron if it had no notice of the circumstances out of which the damages might arise. Where the damages arise from special circumstances, and are so large as to be out of proportion to the consideration agreed to be paid for the services to be rendered under the contract, o it raises a doubt at once as to whether the party would have assented to such a liability, if it been called to his attention at the making of the K, o unless the consideration to be paid was also raised so as to correspond in some respect to the liability assumed. The facts and circumstances in proof must be such as to make it reasonable for the judge or jury trying the case to believe that the party at the time of the K tacitly consented to be bound to more than ordinary damages in case of default on his part.

Facts
A fire in Norwood’s bathroom spread to the rest of the house and he sued the phone company to recover damages. His monthly subscription was $1.75. He claimed that the o Phone operator was negligent in not answering 2 calls to promptly to the FD causing a delay of of 4-5 minutes in reaching the FD. o And that the phone company was negligent in permitting its telephone system to become so obsolete, crowded, and inadequate that it did not render prompt and efficient service

Dissent Concur

This is not a breach b/w parties with equal Kual positions: the phone co. has a virtual monopoly. o The co. has a duty to exercise at least reasonable care and diligence in furnishing proper service. Can’t say co. had no notice: the availability of phone in any sudden emergency is a great inducement for subscribing to the phone service. Hadley is not applicable here: Hadley was a breach of K; this case is a Tort case. o In tort actions, the negligent person is liable for all damages that flow as the direct and proximate result of the negligence, but is not liable for remote or speculative damages. o Damages here are too remote and speculative. o <gives a chain of 5 required ifs (pg 128) that must be true in order to hold the co. liable> Reversed and dismissed. Jury awarded him $1,500.

Held Proc П argues Δ argues

Bigelow v. RKO Radio Pictures, 327 U.S. 251, 1946 Issue Reasoning
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129

Rule
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Facts

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