R: The court should attempt to deal with cause and effect in such a limited way as is practical and as is within the scope of ordinary human understanding
1. Unforeseeable Consequences
FORESEEABILITY: most courts hold that the defendant is liable only for consequences of his negligence which were reasonably foreseeable at the time she acted.
[Ryan – Defendant’s railroad set fire to a woodshed. P’s house, 130 ft away caught fire and a number of other houses burn down.
Only liable for first house. Others are not proximate.]
RULE 1: Foreseeable type + unforeseeable manner/extent = PC. [Bartolone – P suffers injury from negligent driving.
P says it aggravated a pre-existing paranoid schizophrenic condition permanently disabling him. Extent of the injury is
RULE 2: Unforeseeable type of harm = NO PC: [Wagon Mound No. 1 – D negligently discharged fuel into the ocean and
it ignited seriously damaging the wharf. At trial, P’s win under “direct traceability standard”. Highest court overrules
Polemis’ “direct traceability” rule stating that there is no proximate cause if the type of harm was unforeseeable.]
RULE 3: Unforeseeable P = NO PC. If the plaintiff is unforeseeable (outside a foreseeable zone), there is no proximate
cause and no liability. [Palsgraf – P standing on platform of train. Two men run to catch it. A package containing fireworks
falls onto the rails, explode, and throw scales to the other end of the platform many feet away injuring P. Cardoza says P
must be within “the range of reasonably foreseeable danger.”]