AS Law Cases - Tort

Duty Of Care

Breach Of Duty

Damage

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Donoghue v Stevenson

Defined The Neighbourhood Principle

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Outcome

In this case Mrs Donoghue went to a cafe with a friend. The friend bought her a bottle of ginger beer and ice cream. The bottle of ginger beer had dark glass so the contents could not be seen. After drinking some of it Mrs Donoghue poured out the rest and saw a dead decomposing snail. Because of this she was taken ill.

She wanted to claim for her illness but has she had not bought the drink she could not use the law of contract. So she sued the manufacturers claiming they owed her a duty of care. In the House of Lords the judges set out a test for when a person would be under a duty.

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Caparo V Dickman

3 Fold Test

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Outcome

In Caparo v Dickman the 'neighbourhood' principle was replaced by a three part test.

  • was damage or harm forseeable
  • is there sufficient proximate relationship between the the claimant and the defendant
  • is it just, fair and reasonable to impose a duty?
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Kent v Griffiths

Forseeability of Harm

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Outcome

In Kent v Griggiths a doctor called for an ambulance to take a patient suffering from a serious asthma attack to hospital immediately. The ambulance control replied ok doctor. The ambulance without a satisfactory response failed to arrive within a reasonable time. The patient suffered a heart attack which could have been avoided if she had been taken to hospital earlier. it was reasonably foreseeable that the claimant would suffer harm from the failure of the ambulance to arrive

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Hill v CC of south Yorkshire

Proximity

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outcome

In Hill v Cheif Constable of South Yorkshire a serial killer had been murdering women in the yorkshire area. The claimants daughter was the killers last victim before he was caught. by the time of her death the police already had enough information to arrest the killer, but failed to do so. The mother claimed the police owed a duty of care to her daughter. It was decided by the House of Lords that the relaitonship between the police and the daughter was not close (proximate) for the police to be under a duty.

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Capital & Counties plc v Hampshire County Council

Just Fair and reasonable

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Outcome

In Capital & Counties, the fire brigade had attended at the scene of a fire. A fire officer ordered the that the sprinkler system in the building be turned off. This caused the fire to spread and led to more serious damage than if the system had been left on. In this situation it was just, fair and reasonable to recognise a duty of care against the fire brigade.

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Roe v Minister of Health

Breach Of duty

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Outcome

In Roe v Minister of Health anaesthetic was kept in glass ampoules. At the time it was not known that invisible cracks could occur in the glass and allow the anaesthetic to become contaminated. So, when the claimant was paralysed by some contaminated anaesthetic. there was no breach and he could not claim compensation.

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Bolton v Stone

Degree of Risk

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Outcome

In Bolton v Stone a cricket ball hit a passer by in the street. The evidence was that there was a 17 foot high fence around the ground and the wicket was a long way from this fence. Balls had only been hit out of the ground six times in the last 30 years. Because of the low risk involved there was no breach of the duty of care.

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Paris v Stepney BC

Ordinary Expert

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Outcome

In the case of Paris v Stepney Borough Council Mr Stone was known to be blind in one eye. He was given work to do by his employers which involved a small risk of injury to the eyes. He was not given any protective goggles. While doing this work his good eye was damaged by a small bit of metal and as a result he was fully blind.

His employers were held to have broken their duty of care.

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Bolan v Friern Hosptial

Expert Standard

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Outcome

In Bolam v Friern Hospital Management the judge said;

"

A Man need not possess the highest expert skill; it is sufficient if

he exercises the ordinary skill of an ordinary competent man exercising that particular art "

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Barnet v Chelsea & Kensington Hospitals

Causation

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Outcome

In Barnett v Chelsea and kensington Hospitals three night watchmen went to a hospital accident and emergency department complaining of a sickness after drinking tea made for them by a fourth man. A nurse telephoned the doctor on duty who suggested they go home and see their own doctors. One of the men, the claimants husband, went home and died a few hours later from poisoning by arsenic. His widow sued the hospital claiming that the doctor was negligent in not examining her husband, and that he had broke his duty of care. However, the evidence showed that by the time the husband called at the hospital it was already to late to save his life.

The meant that the doctors breach was not the cause of death, using the but for test, but for the doctor examining the patient would he have survived the answer is no so there is no breach.

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The Wagon Mound

Remoteness

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Outcome

In the wagon mound fuel oil had been negligently spilled onto water in harbour. Two days later the oil caught on fire because of welding work being done on another ship. The fire spread to the claimants wharf and burnt it down.

It was decided that although the damage done to the wharf was a result of the oil being spilled, it was not reasonably foreseeable. It was too remote from the original negligent act of spilling oil.

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