Foster v. Preston Mill Co. case brief
Facts: Blasting operations scared a mink owned by Foster and caused mink to kill their kittens. Foster wants to recover damages because of the blasting on the theory of absolute liability. Plaintiff told defendant of the effect of the blasting operations on the mink and in a trial they found it was important factor and awarded plaintiff money.
Decision: Judgment reversed, defendant wins.
Reasoning: Limitation on it placed as a matter of public policy; the limitation is that strict liability should be confined to consequences which lie within the extraordinary risk whose existence calls for such responsibility; this is even though the utmost care is exercised to prevent the harm.
It is usually said that defendant’s duty to insure safety extends only to certain consequences. They asked whether the risk that any unusual vibration or noise may cause wild animals to kill their young, one of activities that make the blasting ultra-hazardous? The court decided that it is not the ultra-hazardous activity. Common experience says blasting leads to property damage from falling debris or vibrations of the earth.
The risk of causing harm of the kind experienced, is not the kind of risk which makes blasting ultrahazardous and it should not be protected against and allowing plaintiff to recover.
Holding: Strict liability requires plaintiff to prove that the type of risk that occurs is the type of risk that is generally expected to occur from that activity and if plaintiff proves that, they can maintain their law suit.