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Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co - Essay Example

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Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co Date: Introduction Tort law exists to ensure that businesses and entrepreneurial undertakings are exacted within the provisions of the law and that fraud, debauchery and breach of contract are kept under, in the business world…
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Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co
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Download file to see previous pages This is because; there are laws that explicitly spell out the obligation of corporate entities in ensuring public safety and the responsibility these entities are to be charged with, when these standards are not met. One of the most significant law of tort cases in the US is the Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co., 248 N.Y. 339, 162 N.E. 99 (N.Y. 1928). The case can aptly be described as significant since its effects shaped and established the concepts of the scope of business liability, the relevance of proximate cause and the limits of negligence. A Brief Summary on the Case At the heart of the case is Mrs. Helen Palsgraf who was waiting on a Long Island Railway train platform, until two men approached running after a train. As a security officer helped one of the men get on board, the man dropped his package. Since this luggage contained explosives, an explosion of a very powerful scale resulted there-from. This resulted in Palsgraf’s injury. Mrs. Palsgraf entered a personal injury lawsuit against the company, Long Island Railroad. The two main issues that emerged from the case are: the manner of determination of the duty of care; and the person to whom the party owes its duty of due care. In this case, the Court of Appeals ruled against the favor of Mrs. Palsgraf. The court maintained that there was no direct relationship between the guard’s action (of pulling the second passenger on board) and Palsgraf’s injury. The crux of the matter is that there has to be a direct nexus between the guard’s action and Mrs. Palsgraf’s injury, in order for liability to be cited. The Senior Judge Benjamin Cardozo, while writing for the three-judge bench, maintained that the guard in no way was aware of the presence of the explosion in the package. Therefore, by shoving the passenger inside, he was not aware that an explosion would ensue. Cardozo continued that even the most cautious mind could not guess the presence of danger in the package. Moreover, there was no way the soldier’s action of pushing the passenger into the train directly affected Mrs. Palsgraf. Cardozo affirmed that not only was the harm emanating from the guard not willful, but his act was also not in itself dangerous. This is to the effect that the act of pushing the passenger into the train was not in violation to Palsgraf’s rights (Cross, 2011). Personal Opinion about the Case and How It Relates To What Is Being Learnt On personal grounds, the case was justly ruled by Senior Judge Cardozo and the three-judge bench. Palsgraf’s claims in her personal injury legal suit against Long Island Railroad are not sustainable, on several grounds. Lessons that have been drawn from classroom context underscore this standpoint. One of the lessons gleaned from the classroom lectures is that of the limitations of negligence. Generally, to find negligence, there must be a total finding of an instance where a particular duty owed was breached. In respect to the foregoing, to find negligence with Long Island Railroad, evidence must be produced on the side of the company’s personnel. There is no clear relationship between the guard’s action and Mrs. Palsgraf’s injury so that he can be accused of negligence. In a closely related wavelength, the limitations of liability require that the injury or liability sustained must have been avoidable, should the defendant have acted responsibly. This aspect of making harm avoidable is only applicable in light of knowledge. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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