Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dobson v. Louisiana Power and Light Company case brief

Dobson v. Louisiana Power and Light Company
550 So.2d 1334 (La.App. 1st Cir.1989)

FACTS

P, a tree trimmer, electrocuted when his metallic reinforced safety rope contacted with an uninsulated 8,000 volt electric power line.

ISSUE

Should the company, LP&L, be charged with negligence that caused the P's death, or should LP&L otherwise be held partially responsible for the damages that occurred.

HOLDING
-Here the court wants to further elaborate a method for determining the degree or percentage of negligence attributable to a person for the purpose of reducing recovery due to comparative fault.


RULES

-Learned Hand Test The court looks at the Cost or burden of eliminating the danger and whether that cost would have been greater for the P or the D.
P = ignorant of the characteristics of the uninsulated lines, unaware of their special danger.
D = superior capacity and knowledge.

“An actor with ‘inferior’ capacity to avoid harm must expend more effort to avoid a danger than need a person with ‘superior’ ability.”


Awareness of Danger: A factor distinguishing mere negligence from the higher state of culpability (recklessness) or (willful/wanton conduct).


CONCLUSION

-The court decides that, because cost of taking precautions was significantly less for D and more for P, the fault for D is the greater of the two.
-60% Neg to Defendant 40% to Plaintiff.

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